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The Makeshift Magician Reviews
Author: C Henshaw
Reviewed by David Whyld (Reviews Exchange 8)
Another one room game and quite a bit better than the previous one I played by the same author (Lab Rats) but still with more than a few rough edges.
You're a magician, as the title might imply, and you're entertaining kids at a party. Nice idea, and some interesting tricks you can perform (albeit none of them really qualify as 'magic', they're more the sort of things TV magicians tend to perform instead of genuine magic), but in the confines of a single room there's only so much that can be done. It might be worth fleshing this idea out a bit, including a few genuine magic tricks with spell components and the like, but then as the same idea has been used before in an ADRIFT game (The Magic Show), maybe it's best left as a single room game after all to avoid further comparisons.
Quite a few of the magic tricks involve nothing more complicated than simply picking up an item. You don't even have to figure out how to use it, as once the item is in your possession the game will take over and perform the trick for you. Like… magic! Unfortunately, it's not all this straightforward as several of the tricks require some serious thought to figure out what needs to be done, and a few others, alas, are hit pretty bad by guess the verb. Lab Rats had guess the verb problems that had me climbing the walls in frustration at one point. There's nothing as heinous as that here thankfully, although several minutes spent trying to figure out the correct thing to type in relation to the balloons (and wrestling with more ambiguity errors than you can shake a stick at) was almost as bad. Surely the author must have been aware of such problems?
A few obvious responses - like bursting the balloons or waving the wand - didn't seem to be covered, and sometimes produced rather strange error messages along the lines of I HAVEN'T LEARNED HOW TO DO THAT. Not the best error message in the world when faced with something simple like bursting a balloon or waving a wand.
Of the nine separate magic tricks that need to be completed in order to finish the game, I got all but two on my own (both relating to the balloons) so overall this was a fairly easy game. Amusing as well for as long as it lasted - probably ten or fifteen minutes - although there were more than a few typos in the text that really should have been caught by a careful proofread.
5 out of 10
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