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Elements

by John Evans

Cave crawl
2001

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A complex, underclued game about shuffling crystals and elements around, April 23, 2016
John Evans is know for large, complex games that are often unfinished or broken. This game is the most polished of his that I have played. It is complete, and free of typos.

However, the plot and puzzles are confusing. You are wandering around a cave with colored crystals and rooms corresponding to elements. There are tons of interactions that just make no sense, and some guess the verb

Recommended, with hints, only for fans of big puzzles games.

>VERBOSE -- Paul O'Brian's Interactive Fiction Page

So good implementation is a must, but a pure puzzle game could probably get by with a few minor bugs, so long as they don't ruin the puzzles the way the bugs in Elements do. I would argue that the most important piece, the one overriding quality that a pure puzzle game must have in order to succeed, is good puzzle design. Sadly, Elements lacks this crucial factor as well. I suppose it's just barely possible that someone might struggle through this game without recourse to hints, but I doubt such a person exists.

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