Home | Profile - Edit | Your Page | Your Inbox Browse | Search Games   |   Log In


Story file
For all systems. To play, you'll need a glulx interpreter - visit Brass Lantern for download links.
Not, actually, a walkthru.
To view this file, you need an Acrobat Reader for your system.

Have you played this game?

You can rate this game, record that you've played it, or put it on your wish list after you log in.

Playlists and Wishlists

RSS Feeds

New member reviews
Updates to downloadable files
All updates to this page

Hard Puzzle 4: The Ballad of Bob and Cheryl

by Ade McT profile

Episode 4 of Hard Puzzle Trilogy
Science Fiction

(based on 8 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


Nominee, Best Puzzles - 2019 XYZZY Awards

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


- View the most common tags (What's a tag?)
(Log in to add your own tags)

Member Reviews

5 star:
4 star:
3 star:
2 star:
1 star:
Average Rating:
Number of Reviews: 2
Write a review

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...

Related Games

People who like Hard Puzzle 4: The Ballad of Bob and Cheryl also gave high ratings to these games:

The Legendary Hero Has Failed, by Tom Martin
Average member rating: (8 ratings)
The Legendary Hero of Time has failed. The dancing Imp has won. The Moon will finish its descent from the sky and crash into the earth. When it reaches the ground there will be nothing left. You sit by a roaring firepit on a grassy...

All Roads, by Jon Ingold
Average member rating: (140 ratings)
"Wave a circle round him thrice, And close your eyes with holy dread For he on honey-dew hath fed And drunk the milk of paradise." [--blurb from Competition Aught-One]

Zork III, by Dave Lebling, Marc Blank
Average member rating: (64 ratings)
An old, oddly youthful man turns toward you slowly. His long, silver hair dances about him as a fresh breeze blows. "You have reached the final test, my friend! You are proved clever and powerful, but this is not yet enough! Seek me when...

Suggest a game


The following polls include votes for Hard Puzzle 4: The Ballad of Bob and Cheryl:

For your consideration: XYZZY-eligible Best Overall NPCs of 2019 by MathBrush
This is for suggesting games released in 2019 which you think might be worth considering for Best NPCs in the XYZZY awards. This is not a zeroth-round nomination.This is not an official list. The point of poll is partly to suggest games...

For your consideration: XYZZY-eligible Best Overall Puzzles of 2019 by MathBrush
This is for suggesting games released in 2019 which you think might be worth considering for Best Puzzles in the XYZZY awards. This is not a zeroth-round nomination.This is not an official list. The point of poll is partly to suggest...


This is version 5 of this page, edited by Ade Mct on 23 September 2020 at 5:43am. - View Update History - Edit This Page - Add a News Item