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Nominee, Best Puzzles - 1999 XYZZY Awards
While most of the dozens of puzzles are fair, there are a couple of mathematical riddles and visualization puzzles that had me tearing my hair out. It also contains some cultural references that may make it difficult for nonnative English speakers. Nevertheless, the game's sheer density (and the strength of its adaptive hints system) make this the best puzzle game I've seen since Curses.
-- R. Serena Wakefield
On the whole, then, Ballerina fits its genre admirably, and the player who doesn't ask it to be more than a puzzle-fest will not be disappointed. The puzzles are difficult, but largely fair, and they boast a wealth of originality. It has some minor flaws, but it's worth checking out.
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The writing is excellent, with very little in the way of errors. Of course, you have to allow for the difference in spelling (eg tire instead of tyre), but I have no quibble about that. The game runs smoothly, and solving one puzzle seems to lead right into another without any let up. I lost count of the number of objects to be found - 63 at the last count, and every one has at least one use. This will give you some idea of the size and complexity of the game.
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Number of Reviews: 4
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Most Helpful Member Reviews
Not Just An Ordinary Ballerina has a lot of the elements I enjoy in an IF game. It is well-written and atmospheric, and I found myself still thinking about it when I was done playing. The comprehensive hint system and walkthrough built into the game were extremely useful and, for my part, needed.
The puzzles in the game range from fairly simple logic and common-sense - finding and applying appropriate objects to one another, for example - to very challenging. More than once I needed to tap the depths of the hint feature to get through a tight spot, and there was one particular puzzle that I would never have solved without help. Still, gameplay is easy, the descriptions are well done and there is a lot to explore and discover.
There was only one real downside to an otherwise great game. When I finally did resort to the full walkthrough (due to a computer error that kept me from restoring saved games, I had to restart after any mistake that couldn't be fixed by typing UNDO. I gave up after a couple of hours) I discovered that I had already messed up in three different ways over the course of the game. I had been wandering around in ignorant bliss, solving other puzzles, and having no idea that I had already lost. That was probably the most frustrating moment.Over all, I do recommend the game to anyone who likes a compelling atmosphere, tricky puzzles, and a fair amount of freedom to do as you please. But I would also recommend saving frequently, because you never know when you'll find yourself suddenly stuck because of a common action without any warning.
The puzzles range in difficulty from very easy to very hard. You should assume you will use the hint system, which is wonderful. Puzzles include mindbenders, find-object-use-object, and some big mazes.
I enjoy games that are too difficult to completely beat on your own, but are large enough and non-linear enough to give even casual players hours of entertainment before turning to hints. This is such a game.
The endgame puzzles are frankly too difficult with too little reward. The game was very fun right up to the time you get (Spoiler - click to show)a ball from Santa. Everything after that felt like work. It may be because I relied so heavily on the walkthrough at this point.
Great game for someone who like Curses and wants a similar experience.
(Spoiler - click to show)if you walk into a room and you realize you've broken a crystal ball, click undo. AND (Spoiler - click to show) don't use up your matches all at once, you will need them later . AND (Spoiler - click to show) make sure you find a way to stop the guard from seeing your activity on the security screens AND (Spoiler - click to show) don't shred the book in the book printing machine . I can promise you that you will need hints and at one point, I caved and peeked at the walk through. I did get stuck and realized that I had to go back to the VERY start of the game, despite my numerous attempts at saving thanks to (Spoiler - click to show) the fact that I used up all my matches and didn't realize I need them for a specific room /SPOILER>.
Fun game, and VERY addictive. But almost too difficult for me, to the point where it wasn't very fun, because I kept needing hints to get through different tasks. But if you are up for a challenge, I'd say take this one on. Good atmospheric game though, and I loved the idea of being ina mall after hours.
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