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A jam submission

GruesomeView game page

Classic-style text adventure from a new perspective
Submitted by Robin Johnson (@rdouglasjohnson) — 10 days, 32 minutes before the deadline
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Gruesome's page


CriteriaRankScore*Raw Score
Overall Rating#24.3084.308
Story (Plot, Setting & Objective)#24.1924.192
Writing (General Quality)#24.1154.115
Help, Hints and/or Instructions#24.1154.115
Presentation (Text, Graphics & Sound)#33.8083.808

Ranked from 26 ratings. Score is adjusted from raw score by the median number of ratings per game in the jam.

Overview of Game
As a grue, it's your job to keep the dungeon safe from vandalism by humans, elves, and other monsters who keep trespassing down here in hopes of stealing your friends' favourite possessions. You'll have to find them and guide them safely back to the surface. (What else would you do, *eat* them?)

Requirements to Play
Play online in browser, or download for offline play.

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Hot diggity, I know a great hook when I see one!

The premise: You are a grue. Darkness, dungeons, and monsters are home; adventurers are blundering yet dangerous intruders from an alien world. This colours the whole game, mostly for comedy, but sometimes as genuine characterisation.

The writing is amazingly funny. I laughed and clapped at the response to examining myself, to eating an adventurer, at Jones’s Law, at the dragon cave.

It’s also crammed full of nostalgic references; I probably missed half of them. The puns are true painful groaners, especially the one I didn’t get until I read the hints.

The characters are all admirably portrayed, both the dungeon’s occupants and the adventurers. Jessica in particular has excellent taste, and I got distracted from the game to chat with her.

The game is Tough on the zarfian scale, and the puzzles are presented all at once in a sprawling dungeon with little initial guidance. This makes the game quite difficult, even though the puzzles are easy in isolation. It reminded me of mechanical puzzle boxes, and I very much enjoyed figuring it out.

However, I was disappointed by the ending: after a hard-won victory, I would expect a fleshed-out end scene, and a list of AMUSING things to try.

Gruesome uses the author’s own engine. I found the interface pleasant to use and quite snappy. The undo stack is deep enough that I never needed a save. I appreciated the high tolerance for typos, and the accessibility features like font choice.

Bug reports / feature requests

Saving is broken for me (Firefox on OSX): saving reports success, but no restorable games are ever found. A quick look at the various browser storages didn’t turn up anything that looked like a save. Save+restore works correctly on Safari.

Inconsistent door implementation:

> x door
Just an ordinary door.

> open door
Just give me a compass direction.

> open east
I don’t know what you want to open.

Either typos, or jokes I don’t get: “ballpoint ben”, “shutting off its lits”.

A couple UX quibbles:

When pressing up to repeat a command, I expect the cursor to be placed at the end, not at the beginning. Can’t think of any other interface that does it that way.

Constantly moving focus back to the input means I can’t select text (to copy it, look up a word, etc.), which was annoying.

(2 edits) (+1)

The puzzles were easy, so we liked it for a beginner game. Some of the jokes were a bit "in" of course, but there were plenty that many people will appreciate ("B&B" in particular). It could use a little implementation polishing. In particular, text entry failed in Firefox [correction: it was because I disable 3rd-party cookies [which turns out to be a problem for all in-browser entries in this comp]] and it could be better at disambiguating some nouns (such as "beams of light").

Developer (1 edit)

Huh, it's working in Firefox for me and none of the testers hit that problem. Is there any chance you could email me with details? robindouglasjohnson at gmail dot com