Saturday, October 05, 2013

[IF Comp 2013] "The Paper Bag Princess" by Adri

The Interactive Fiction Competition is back! Spoilers behind the break.

The Paper Bag Princess is a short adventure based on this children's book. We get to play a princess who sets out to rescue her beloved prince Roland after their wedding has been interrupted by a fire breathing dragon.

It is easy to like a game written in this tone and style:
The minister smiles at you and turns to Roland. “And, Roland, do you take Elizabeth to be your wife?”

Roland grins at you and exclaims, “I do!”

“I now pronounce you man and... dragon?!?” The minister’s eyes go wide, seconds before he is incinerated by a burst of flame.

A large dragon flies overhead. The wedding guests scatter in every direction. You cower against Roland, but he pushes you towards the dragon and runs towards the road.
The game that follows is a very short puzzle romp that is not exactly old-school, but is based on old-school tropes. We find the magic word "plugh," but it functions as an item; we get lost in a maze, but it is a maze we do not have to solve. In the end, we meet the dragon and to defeat it we have to fight ... not the dragon, but an ask/tell interface. You need to talk about two topics, and I had to consult the walkthrough twice. Some help with conversation topics would have been appreciated, especially when we think about the game's target audience, children between 4 and 7.

The ending is satisfying, if somewhat predictable.

Overall, this is a competently designed game which catches exactly the right tone for its purpose. It is also very short; and the final puzzle breaks the flow in a rather jarring way. Easy to like. Not very memorable.

Temporary score: 6 out of 10.

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