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Mushroom Hunt

by Polyducks

2019

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Number of Ratings: 11
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful:
Excellent graphics, decent game, September 19, 2020
by Denk
Related reviews: Adventuron
Recently I have experienced the great graphical skills which are present in the Adventuron community, after playing the games in "The Next Adventure Jam", a competition held in summer 2020. Thus I got curious when I heard that this game is a XYZZY awards nominee in the category "Best Use of Multimedia".

The location graphics are really great adding to the atmosphere. The writing and descriptions are also very good. The gameplay is a bit limited though.

There are a few real puzzles, but most of the puzzles are about examining things, and then examining things mentioned in the descriptions etc. There is nothing wrong with this since it can be fun for a while, but once I had found three non-toxic mushrooms, which was the minimum requirement to finish the game, I decided to quit, even though there is a sort of point system counting how many mushrooms you found. I just wasn't motivated enough to continue playing. Perhaps if there had been a little more story, it could have kept my interest. Still, I enjoyed the game until I reached an ending and decided to quit.

Technically, the game is very fine. It tells you upfront that it uses only two words (some Adventuron games allows for more than two words, e.g. "Charlie the Chimp") so that isn't a problem when you know it. It didn't have much of a story, which some Adventuron games have like "Dawn of The Soviet Ladybirds". Still, the game was okay.

I do recommend that you try it, since you can always decide to quit without reaching the maximum of points (i.e. the number of mushrooms you found).

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful:
Gorgeous graphics in an examine-centered game, September 18, 2020
by MathBrush
Related reviews: about 1 hour
Text-based games are so interesting because they get reinvented and renewed and spring up in different communities over time. Some groups have been making Inform-like games ever since Inform went out of business, while some have recently reconstructed and reimagined Magnetic Scrolls and Level 9 style games for nostalgia's sakes, and others still have made text adventures based off of popular culture's depiction of text adventures in TV, webcomics and film.

So this Adventuron game seems firmly in the retro/nostalgia camp, with chunk text and old-style cursor together with beautiful pixel art. Unlike the Inform 5/6/7 stream of games, the emphasis here is less on exhaustive smoothness or synonyms and more on having a small set of commands to work with.

In particular, the main commands you use are LOOK and GET. While there aren't traditional puzzles, there are puzzles similar to those in Lime Ergot and other games where you have to examine something then a detail of something. It also tracks state from room to room, so LOOKing in one room can affect a LOOK in another room.

The story is about gathering mushrooms for a stew of differing amounts of lethality. There are 10 mushrooms to find. Before getting hints, I had only found 4 mushrooms and had no clue how to get more.

Here's my rating:

+Polish: For what it's trying to be (a speed-jam retro adventure) it is very well polished, with perfectly-fitting graphics and a lot of hidden nuggets.
+Descriptiveness: The mental images the game gives are very vivid, especially of the mushrooms, which aren't pictured in the art. The smells were described very well, too.
-Interactivity. The play style didn't gel well with me. Most of my experience involved error messages, and the central puzzle for unlocking more content (finding (Spoiler - click to show)the shears) was a puzzle where I definitely knew what I had to do but didn't know how to type it/bring it about.
+Would I play it again? I've already played it several times.
+Emotional impact: I've gone back and forth on this. I can confidently say, though, that it is charming, and that's a good emotion.

This game has been nominated in the XYZZY awards for Best Use of Multimedia.

- Sobol (Russia), September 16, 2020

- Edo, September 16, 2020

- Xavid, September 7, 2020

- Mr. Patient (Saint Paul, Minn.), August 5, 2020

- tobiasvl (Norway), February 3, 2020

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful:
Gorgeous Retro-Romp, January 29, 2020
by Lance Campbell (United States)
Adventuron is a relatively new online IF authoring tool, created by Chris Ainsley, designed to develop old-school 8-bit parser games.

Ben Jones (aka Polyducks) is a talented programmer, writer, and digital artist who works primarily in the restricted mediums of textmode and pixelart.

Put them together and you get Mushroom Hunt, a gorgeous retro-romp that was cranked out in less than a month for the 2019 Adventuron CaveJam.

This game clearly demonstrates that constraints on an artform cultivate creativity. Although the scope of the game is limited, all of the elements are well-crafted, and provide a sense of warmth and childlike wonder. The story is simple, yet has a satisfying emotional depth that is gradually revealed as the player explores the world. The graphics, which are all textmode -- making this game, technically, a pure text-based work -- look like they were digitized from a Victorian Fairy Tale. Even in the face of failure, the hint system at the end of the playthrough provides gentle parental nudges in the right direction. I haven't experienced a narrative this nurturing since I played my last Ryan Veeder game.

My only regret is, being a jam game, Mushroom Hunt ended much too quickly for me. Specifically, (Spoiler - click to show)the inability to explore the village beyond the metal gate was a disappointment. Regardless, I imagine we will be seeing more great work from this author and artist soon enough, and I look forward to whatever comes next.

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful:
Treasure hunt with a vaguely sinister/fairy tale feel, January 5, 2020
Disclaimer: I haven't finished this game yet, I've only gotten 3 endings.

The basic premise is that you're walking through the forest trying to find mushrooms for soup. Commands are fairly limited. The more you look around, the more the story develops. The way the game reveals information feels organic.

The art is SO lovely and really helps build the atmosphere of the game.

Some endings contain hints, so it's helpful to play through multiple times.

It would be nice if commands that don't work had more custom responses. For instance, the commands "smell" and "listen" only work in certain places. Everywhere else I've tried them so far, the game says "You can't do that." If I try to pick up certain items in the room description (eg, flowers), I get "You can't find it." Not everything has to have its own response, but it would be good to assign commands a default response that fit the situation better ("you don't smell anything interesting" instead of "you can't do that").

It would also be good if the game recognized things like vine/vines as the same, or if it understood things like "pile" to mean "pile of rusty junk."

(Edit: I missed the first time that this was made in a short period! All of these little things are really understandable in that case, and major props to the author for making such a fleshed out game in a short amount of time)

Overall, this is a really fun game, and I'm interested to try to unlock more endings. Hope we see more out of this author!

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful:
A wonderfully charming illustrated adventure, January 5, 2020
Written in a surprisingly short amount of time as an entry for a game jam, this charming text adventure impresses for several reasons, not least in the visual department. Almost chiselled like a woodcut, out of digital blocks, these illustrations are the first thing that wow you upon loading the game.

But the beauty of the adventure is more than skin deep. The mundane-sounding collection task unearths not just mushrooms, but also details of the main character's life and her relationship with her family. Each playthrough ends with some hints of what secrets you may have missed. There are many mysteries to discover, and a lovely little Easter egg that's hidden well away (one that will delight fans of old school games and calls back to another, very different sort of hunt).

There are a few niggles and issues with the game. The order in which you examine and complete tasks is very important and, if you're not careful, can lead you to missing triggers that allow you to discover further secrets. Some of the final mushrooms are particularly difficult to spot.

Any shortcomings in the parser department can be chalked up to the fact that this was the author's first experience with the Adventuron system. The fact that they produced such a polished, impressive game, of such high standard in a few weeks speaks not only to the ease of use of the game creation tool but also to the skill and talent of the author.

I look forward to seeing what they produce next.

- Gareth Pitchford, January 4, 2020


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