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Selma's Will Reviews
Author: Mystery
Date: 2001

Reviewed by David Whyld

Selma's Will opens with you arriving at the house of your aunt, the late Selma, in an attempt to find her will before her house is sold off by auction. There's an amusing introduction involving Selma's other relatives as a group of money-grabbers intent only on their own personal gain and then the game is fully in swing.

The first thing that struck me about the game was its logical nature. Items are very easy to come across and merely by speaking to the large number of characters in the game it quickly becomes obvious just what it is they want. Not everything is this straightforward, there are a few items that had me baffled for a while and a few that seemed like the logical choice for the occasion but turned out not to be. I found this both interesting and annoying at one and the same time; interesting because you would sometimes speak to a character, find out what they wanted and then search in a few logical places and find that item, and annoying because this seemed to comprise the majority of the puzzles in the game. As such, Selma's Will isn't a difficult game by any means and as it's very hard to actually get yourself killed it doesn't take a lot to finish it. Even if you are having problems, there's a nice hints system to help you out.

But it does have more going for it than a simple "find the item, give it to a character, find another item…" set of tasks. As mentioned above, there are quite a number of characters in the game to interact with and while most of them seem to be of the money-grabbing variety they are nicely thought out all the same. They can all be interacted with and have their own little story to tell. However, one thing I would have liked was for the characters to move around the house a little. After all, they're searching for the will of the game's title yet seem to spend the entire time searching in just one location. Allowing them to move around would have made the puzzles involving finding the item and then finding the correct person to give the items to a bit more of a challenge as well as adding a nice realistic edge.

Locations in Selma's Will are quite lengthy and detailed, and I guess it's a credit to Mystery's writing skills that a game set 99% in a house doesn't suffer from uninspired descriptions. Quite clearly effort has been made to avoid the use of tired old descriptions along the lines of "you're in a room… yep another one". I always found it paid to read the location descriptions carefully as [spoiler alert] quite a number of the items you need to finish the game are found lying around on tables, chairs and the like.

There are several different endings in Selma's Will depending on whether you happen to find the will or not. Needless to say, the best ending is when you do find the will but the others are equally interesting as they go into amusing detail about what happens to the other characters in the game.

This isn't a game that will occupy your attention for months on end (it's too easy for that) but it's nicely written, has some interesting puzzles and is original enough to keep you playing right through to the end. 

Logic: 9 out of 10
A nicely logical game. Everything seems to be easy (perhaps too easy) and straightforward. 

Problems: 9 out of 10 (10 = no problems)
I was warned about a potential hazard on the stairs before the potential hazard was there but other than that there were no problems.

Story: 7 out of 10
A fairly original idea.

Characters: 7 out of 10
A fair number, all of whom were well written.

Writing: 7 out of 10
Definitely above average and aside from a few typos hard to find fault with. 

Game: 7 out of 10
An interesting idea for a game and nicely thought out puzzles made this well 
worth playing.

Overall: 46 out of 60

Reviewed by Eric Mayer

Selma's Will, one of a series of games by Mystery, posted to the ADRIFT downloads page, is an example of how solid an ADRIFT game can be. Selma's Will is short, easy and traditional, which is to say that it is exactly the sort of game a lot of us feel like playing from time to time. Your Aunt Selma has died and, unless the will she concealed somewhere in her house is found before sundown, her estate will fall into the wrong hands. You and an assortment of relatives are set loose to find the will. Gameplay consists mostly of finding objects the relatives want in exchange for other objects helpful to your quest. These various aunts and cousins are implemented in simple, cartoonish style, but they're amusing. And although the game is lighthearted, the map is also enlivened by the varied memories of childhood visits the rooms trigger. 

I found the parser remarkably responsive for an ADRIFT game. Although the system may not be as strong as others in the way it handles default responses, or have as many universally-applicable verbs, it should make it easy for authors to insure that players will be easily understood when they try to enter those commands absolutely needed to advance game play. Yet few ADRIFT authors seem to use this capability and instead allow players to slog along, hip deep in a game of guess-the-verb. That isn't the case here. As long as you have the items required for a task and some idea of what to do, the game will understand -- or, at least, that was my experience. 

I hope I won't be giving too much away if I mention that, as it turns out, there's a bit more to the game than meets the eye. For example, there are multiple endings, each of which reveal the future courses of the relatives' lives and which make a lot of sense when you recall the objects they wanted. There is also what I thought was a spectacular, hit-myself-over-the-head-for-not-thinking-of-that twist near the end. 

Reviewed by Mike0101

Instead of choosing a newer game to review for the first edition of the Adrift Newsletter, I' ve decided to give some recognition to one of the best games (and one of my favorites) made with Adrift. Where other games fall short in either the story, description, or puzzle department, Selma' s Will delivers.. .

Story: 7/10 
For those of you that played the first two Monster in the Mirror games, you are in for a surprise. The storyline has been drastically altered. No longer will you be trying to get home by solving puzzles in a fantasy world (or your dreams), but instead searching for the will of your deceased aunt in her cluttered country home. In hopes of claming the will and the entire estate, your entire abnormal family has turned out to find the will, and drive you nuts. I hope that the family in this game wasn' t based upon the author' s, but hey, at least you can choose your friends... 

Writing (descriptions, style, etc.): 9/10 
This game has the best description of any game on Adrift so far, and most of it is important. You have be shrewd to complete this game, especially because every object you pick up has a use. The game also flows very nicely. With the amount of detail, you really do feel like you are in an old house. What really sets this game apart from most other Adrift games is that you will be reading room and object descriptions more than once. The only problem is, with all the details you gather about the house, the family, and your deceased aunt, the more you want to know, and the characters only respond to a few questions each. 

Puzzles: 7/10 
The average difficulty of the puzzles is medium- easy, depending on how observant you are. Most of them are simply getting the right object and giving to the right family member for something in return. There are a few tough ones which stumped me for a while, but all in all, there' s enough puzzles to keep you playing for a while, but nothing to make you really frustrated. 

Annoyances (bugs, guess-the-verb, etc.): 9/10 
There was hardly any guess-the-verb to speak of, and the only bug that really annoyed me had to do with the door in Selma' s bedroom *SPOILER* (it was only in the description before you gave Zeke the candy). Not much to speak of here. 

OVERALL*: 8/10 
Before you do, check out the first two Monster in the Mirrors. *The overall score isn' t an average because I weigh some things more heavily than others.

Reviewed by Robert Rafgon

The Monster in the Mirror trilogy's concluding game Selma's Will also works well as a stand-alone game. When I first played this game I was not aware of the first two games. From this I can say that it is not necessary to know anything about these games to gain a rewarding playing experience. Selma's Will is different in style, as it takes place completely in the real world, unlike the dream environments of the first two games. 

Once again there is only a short background story, which was mainly revealed in the ending of the Monster in the Mirror 2. This story sets the scene for the exploration of the house and basically just provides a reason for the treasure hunt to find the will in the game's title. None of the games in the series have much story, instead relying on the player's curiosity for looking around strange places. As a curious person myself, I enjoyed searching around the environment. 

Selma's Will is well written, with much longer and better descriptions that add greater depth to the environment. The comparison of the PC's memories with the current state of the house is an interesting contrast. The game is also larger in size and better constructed than the first two games, which had linear designs. Selma's Will allows far more deviation in the order that puzzles are solved. Although the game is larger, it is still not too long or difficult. In fact I would recommend Selma's Will as a good game for beginning players to try. 

This game includes a lot more NPCs than the first two games. They are not hugely conversational, although this does fit their characters to be rude to the PC. There are also a lot more objects to figure out uses for. In this game everything and everyone has one use, and you just have to find it. The lack of red herrings makes the game easier to solve, but unfortunately the game's simple design means that sometimes there is too much just find object/give object to person, or find key/unlock door type puzzles. A bit more complexity or variation in the puzzles I feel could have improved the game. 

Selma's Will is easily the best game of the series and a good game overall. The writing and design were better for each subsequent game in this series, showing the author's improvement over the period. Selma's Will is an enjoyable fun game, which I would recommend. 

Score - 7/10 

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