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Hard Puzzle 4: The Ballad of Bob and Cheryl

by Ade McT profile

Episode 4 of Hard Puzzle Trilogy
Science Fiction

(based on 6 ratings)
2 member reviews

About the Story

In the BioDome after the Event, it's all getting a little bit desperate. And Bob isn't much help. He won't even let you use his stool. You know. For milking.

A silly little IF puzzler. But can you solve it?

Game Details

Language: English (en)
First Publication Date: October 1, 2019
Current Version: 1.00
License: Freeware
Development System: Inform 7
Forgiveness Rating: Nasty
IFID: A9E58978-42A8-4594-BE16-EDA0CA7EFBD3
TUID: k8dkltoa6lpctn2u


31st Place - 25th Annual Interactive Fiction Competition (2019)


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Number of Reviews: 2
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
A polished puzzler where everything including the fourth wall is broken, December 3, 2019
by Linus Ňkesson (Lund, Sweden)
Hard Puzzle 4 is a highly enjoyable text game, if approached with the right mindset. On the surface it may look like a buggy, half-implemented shambles, but donít let that fool you: It really is a buggy, half-implemented shambles.

Itís also a masterfully crafted puzzlebox that keeps opening up in fresh and surprising ways, and requires you to step out of the box on more than one occasion. Donít expect a great story, but prepare for lateral thinking exercises, shocking discoveries, and intricate exploitable flaws.

The game encourages you to cheat. Be sure to check out the so called walkthrough, and follow the instructions in the help command. There are similarities with Serhii Mozhaiskyiís I. A. G. Alpha, but this game takes it up a notch. There came a time when I felt that it was probably expected of me to harvest the Glulx strings for clues. I did so, and found encrypted data and a message from the author, berating me for peeking.

Going for a deliberately crappy aesthetic is obviously a risky move, but for me personally, defeating this puzzlebox was one of the highlights of IFComp 2019.

The "Hard Puzzle" anti-game aesthetic adapted to IFComp, October 19, 2019
by MathBrush
Related reviews: 2-10 hours
The Hard Puzzle games have always been odd-balls. They tend to be extremely fussy sandboxes with mechanics you can use over and over and whose solutions require enormous leaps of intuition, endless experimentation with absolutely everything, or just dumb luck.

This game honors that legacy by having many, many sandbox commands and requiring some outrageous leaps of intuition. I had solved some of the previous Hard Puzzles by decompiling them, and this game has some good-natured nods to people who 'cheat' at games like that.

This differs from the other Hard Puzzles, though, in that it can be solved piece by piece, instead of an all-at-once lightning bolt thought like the former ones.

I won by cheating in three different ways (including (Spoiler - click to show)'decompiling', the intfiction forums, and decompiling).

If you enjoyed Hard Puzzle 4: The Ballad of Bob and Cheryl...

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This is version 2 of this page, edited by cas on 25 November 2019 at 8:58pm. - View Update History - Edit This Page - Add a News Item