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Ba'Roo!  Reviews
Author: Eric Anderson (Hensman Int'l)
Date: 2010

Reviewed by TDS

This game suffers from serious guess-the-verb. The game mechanics are also a bit problematic. In some games, you can easily get locked out of a good ending. This is the case in this game. The problem, however, is that sometimes you are locked out and the game immediately ends, while other times you are left thinking that you could succeed…only to realize that you cannot. If you are going to allow the possibility of a player getting locked out of the game, at least be consistent (either end the game there or not, please). 

The puzzles, though very interesting, are poorly implemented. This is mostly due to the overwhelming presence of guess-the-verb. For example, you might have to type, say, ‘kill john with knife’ instead of ‘kill john’ or ‘stab john’ even if a knife is your only weapon. In other parts, you get to play guess-the-noun. There are clear cases of a room description telling me ‘X is here,’ but when I examine X, I get the response ‘You see no such thing.’ That is maddening. In addition, disambiguation problems increase one’s frustration. 

Like the puzzles, the storyline is also interesting but ill-implemented. The problem is pacing; the author must ensure that the player doesn’t receive information at the wrong time. I stumbled upon a text dump which was probably intended to be seen after some preliminary dumps. I could not understand what was going on because it was like I had walked in during the second half of a movie. In text adventures, the author has to make sure the player doesn’t get to the second half before trudging through the first (unless unconventional temporal order is intended). 

I couldn’t finish this game. The difficulty did not bother me. The story was not unbearable. I’m afraid it was poor game mechanics that did me in. One puzzle requires the use of an item that is never mentioned, alluded to, or examined. I’m sorry, but this just will not do.


Reviewed by Lumin

I'm not sure if Ba'Roo! is Hensman's first game, or first full length game, or what, but either way it's a lot of fun, and doubly impressive if the above is true. There is a very old school vibe about it right from the start, and over the course of the adventure you will get to explore an expansive cave system, assemble a macguffin, say WTF at the plot a few times if you think about it too hard, and shoot an anachronism in the face. (...to be honest I'm not sure if that last one's necessarily an integral part of the whole 80's thing but it was still a defining moment for me.) 

Not to say that there weren't a few issues though, even if I did enjoy the game as a whole. I encountered a fairly major bug and an annoying decision by the author in the first room (being a jerk to the player may be a staple of retro IF but my love for that particular aspect of the genre only goes so far), and later had some GTV problems, as well as a poorly-clued puzzle that completely derailed me for awhile. (At one point you're told to find a suit, but not given any information whatsoever about where or how, and the otherwise fairly talkative NPC has nothing to say on the matter. After a fruitless search I finally became convinced I needed a key to access a certain area first, but that turned out to be misleading as well...) 

I wouldn't consider any of those complaints to be actually game-breaking however, because in the end I still enjoyed the experience and was able to play through without assistance (though apparently I missed a few things, for instance the meaning of the title..), though after talking to a couple of other players it may be that I lucked out and had a smoother ride through than average. It turns out Ba'Roo! actually contains multiple paths (REAL multiple paths, not just multiple endings where you type undo a couple of times to see them all), which I thought was pretty ambitious. Whether the author got TOO ambitious at the expense of solid gameplay I can't say until I get a chance to personally check out the other paths, I think it's impressive in its own right that he made the attempt, and hopefully any bugs can be cleaned up in a post-comp release. 


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