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The Mysterious Case of the Acrobat and His Peers

by Amanda Tien

Mystery
2009

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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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