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The Mysterious Case of the Acrobat and His Peers

by Amanda Tien

Mystery
2009

(based on 1 rating)
2 member reviews

About the Story

In this interactive adventure, a greenhorn detective must find a missing acrobat and solve the mystery by exploring the circus and questioning everything from tiger trainers to monotone ringmasters to sad clowns.

Game Details

Language: English (en)
First Publication Date: January 11, 2009
Current Version: 2
License: Freeware
Development System: Inform 7
IFID: F606CC16-E6C9-4E04-86AC-845ADEECF8C6
TUID: baiavb4rhwdz7s0

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Member Reviews

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Number of Reviews: 2
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful:
Sadly not yet ready for public release, February 2, 2009
by Molly (USA)
I was a little reluctant to give this game a shot, especially since I'd heard nothing about before it showed up on the IFDB pages. But then my desire to give this a review got the better of me, so I took the plunge and downloaded it.

You play as some sort of investigator that's looking into the disappearance of an acrobat from the circus. And here is when we run into problems. The game suggests that you should show your badge and say hello to anyone you meet, but you aren't carrying anything at the start of the game. So how do you accomplish this feat?

Simple! You just ask (or tell, I presume as well) anybody in the game about anything at all, and not only will you show the person your unimplemented badge, but you'll meet-&-greet everybody in the room your badge, even animals. This tends to break the mimesis of the game, especially when the person does not give a reply.

More mimesis-breaking events can very easily be found throughout the game: people and objects often (or always?) can only be referred to by one name, which would be trouble enough, if it weren't for the fact that sometimes the proper name for an object or person isn't even given in their description; mislabeled room exits; characters that are described to be carrying things that turn out not to exist if you try to interact with them; objects that are listed twice, first in the general room description, then in their own seperate paragraph; etc.

I declined to give this game a starred review, mostly becase I played so little of it, but also because the game is simply not ready for any wide release in the state it's currently in. My advice to the author is to test the game again thoroughly, this time with a few friends on hand to assist with looking for bugs and things that would take a player out of the game, then squash the bugs found and redo anything the testers felt took them out of the game (get some help from r.a.i.f. if you need it), and then re-release the polished game. It's a great deal of trouble, but it's worth it to create a good game that works.

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful:
Mysterious In Unintended Ways, February 2, 2009
by Rose (New Zealand)
The real mystery of The Mysterious Case of the Acrobat and His Peers (TMCOFAAHP from now on) is how a closing carnival, which presumably would have loads of people about packing up, manages to feel so deserted.

It isn't the lack of NPCs. There are certainly plenty of those. These NPCs, however, utterly refuse to respond to any input. Any attempt to ask them about relevant topics resulted in a stunning lack of communication. Which is a real pity, since the descriptions (what descriptions there were) exuded personality and gave me the impression that the characters, including the PC, might actually be interesting and well-rounded characters.

Which brings me to my next point. The writing, though it contained plenty of technical errors, was enthusiastic and full of subtle and not-so-subtle details about the PC. I really enjoyed the opening text, and felt quite ready to forgive technical errors. Until I hit this.

(from the opening text)
All you have with you is your police badge in your front pocket.

(a little later)
>INV
You are carrying nothing.

>X BADGE
You can't see any such thing.

>LOOK IN POCKET
You can't see any such thing.

>X POLICE BADGE
You can't see any such thing.

(later still)
>SHOW BADGE TO RINGMASTER
You can't see any such thing.

>ASK RINGMASTER ABOUT ACROBAT
You nod hello and show your police badge to the Ringmaster.

This was, obviously, totally mimesis-breaking. And this wasn't the last time either. Loads of items clearly mentioned in room descriptions aren't implemented. I quit shortly after I discovered that I could ride a bicycle into a tiny office.

I wanted to like TMCOFAAHP. But the mysteries of unresponsive NPCs and unimplemented scenery were not ones I was willing to explore, no matter how much I liked the descriptions that actually displayed. I would recommend to the author to proofread the writing, add meta-commands such as ABOUT (yup, it's missing), fill in all the unimplemented scenery, and make the NPCs respond to conversational commands. I would definitely be willing to revise my review in the event of a re-release.

To the author: Keep at it, and keep trying! I think your work shows potential. To everyone else: I would recommended holding off on this one until/if there is a re-release. One star.

Oh, and I love the cover art.

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This is version 1 of this page, edited by David Welbourn on 1 February 2009 at 10:13pm. - View Update History - Edit This Page - Add a News Item