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Cave of Wonders Reviews
Author: Campbell Wild
Reviewed by Denk
This game is an old school treasure hunt written by Campbell Wild. If you
expect a lot of verbose, beautiful prose you will be disappointed, as this is
primarily a game, not a story. But it is a game with a lot of good puzzles which
are (usually) well implemented. I think the main problem of this game is, that
it is extremely easy to put the game in an "unwinnable" state and you won't know
it until much later. I started over and over again, because I just wanted to
beat it, but in the end I had enough restarting when I reached 620 points out of
1000. Even for 1999 (the publication year), this game is more cruel than most
games (for comparison Winter Wonderland (IFComp 1999 winner) could not be put in
an "unwinnable" state). With a bit more thought this could have been a really
good game. No testers are mentioned, which kind of explains it. Even the best
authors need testers to find the bugs and design flaws in their games.
ADRIFT 3.8 parser is nothing special but in most cases it wasn't a problem. A few times, I thought I was encountering a guess-the-verb situation but I simply tried an alternative solution which was not accounted for. So this isn't really a parser issue but a design issue.
The descriptions are sufficiently detailed for a puzzler like this, but could be improved.
As mentioned above, it is far too easy to end up in an "unwinnable" situation without knowing it.
The puzzles are pretty good, with a bit of humour thrown in.
I enjoyed it quite a lot for a while, but in the end the constant need to restart or load a very old save became too frustrating. But it could be fun, if this game was beta-tested by a few people and then rewritten in ADRIFT 5. This reminds me that it could be fun with an "IF Conversion Comp"...
Reviewed by Richard Otter
This is the second of Campbell Wild's games I've played, the first being The Haunted House.
My general impression is that Cave of Wonders is an improvement and a much better game. Once again it is still in the classic style of briefer location descriptions and simpler game play. But, unlike Haunted House more of the scenery items can be examined. It is basically a treasure hunt with most of the objects that are needed scattered around or fairly easy to find.
The characters you come across during the game are little more than scenery with limited conversation and only one purpose.
I didn't run into any real GTV during play. The only real problem I have is with the plot and some of the solutions to the puzzles. For example, to get into the graveyard you need to be wearing a flower. Why is never explained, or at least not to me. On the other hand to get into a garden you have to crash through the wall with a vehicle. Now that puzzle I liked. So, a bit hit and miss with many of the puzzles poorly clued or not clued at all.
If you like the more traditional adventure game then Cave of Wonders is worth playing. It entertained me for a couple of plays.
Reviewed by T. Mulkerrins
This game is of a very good quality, not only in writing but in design. Although I haven't got very far into it, and haven't solved many puzzles, I still think I've played enough to give an honest review. The descriptions are nice, simple and clear. The puzzles appear to be littered all over the place and range from obvious (the ones I've got so far) to out right 'I haven't got a clue!' (the ones I'm stuck on). But I'm never left frustrated as almost anything I try returns with some kind of response, showing me I'm on the right track, just not quite there yet. This makes for a challenging game that won't drive me up the wall with frustration.
One of the best.
Reviewed by Xiao
The game's very well rounded
There is hardly any guess-the-verb needed, and all possibilities of input are considered. For example, to get certain flower in the game, there are nine different ways you can type the command and you can even refer to it using the plural. However, there is one thing that I'd like to know - why on earth is it called Cave of Wonders?
Reviews should be considered copyrighted by their respective authors.
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