The second game I played for Spring Thing 2022 was The Legend of Horse Girl by Bitter Karella. I like the artwork, and I thought the setting was neat, but I didn’t know there was no walkthrough when I started.
The game starts off in the plaza of Santa Diablo, Texas. A small western town controlled by a land baron, Judge Lazarus Dives. This first room is loaded with eight exits, and it’s the hub for the game. But with so many exits, I think the town could’ve been spread out a little, with a long road and connecting rooms. One room with a ton of text to parse can be hard.
I liked that I felt I could still complete the puzzles when I was stuck. I played for a while because I felt I knew what to do. I just need to find the right item. But I never did find the correct item and got stuck after exploring the entire game.
And I hate to say. The game is flawed with bugs. The most glaring one is when you try taking things. If the player takes an item already held, the game doesn’t say, “You already have that.” It retriggers the event that took the item. So, if there’s a conversation attached to taking the item, you get that conversation anywhere in-game when you retake it. This is an odd bug. The game could also use a lot more synonyms like bartender for La Muerte, shoe for the horseshoe, or sheet for the broadsheet. Smell and listen are missing default responses and return a blank line if the environment isn’t echoing out something.
I played the game for a while but didn’t get that far. I explored all there was and picked everything up. I tried to give that stuff away, but this provoked no reaction. I could talk to people. This was good. They all had opinions about the Judge but couldn’t help me with much more. I made it into the church but couldn’t ring the bell. I looked for rope, or sheets, or something, but in the end, I gave up. There were no hints to point me in the right direction or a walkthrough I could have skimmed.
It’s hard to know how to score this game without completing it. There’s the set-up that I played for over two hours, but I can’t get to the payoff. I want to see the Judge get his, get up to his Villa and take him out. But I’m dead in the water with the second game I’ve tried so far durning this competition.
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