Reiko's Ramblings and Writings

What I'm reading and writing about lately.

IFComp Review: Paper Bag Princess

Posted by Reiko on November 1, 2013

This is a review of one of the games from the 2013 Interactive Fiction Competition. (Posted in 2014 and backdated.) Scoring criteria can be found here.

Author: Adri

Format: ZCode

This is a rather short piece, but polished well enough. The intro sequence is well-done, with a royal wedding interrupted at the last second by a dragon. The poor princess has to find clothing, a light source, and a means of distracting the dragon while she rescues her prince, in an amusing inversion of the usual helpless princess scenario. Those three things are really the only puzzles, even though at one point it looks like there might be a maze (there isn’t). There’s also a very explicit reference to the classic Adventure game.

It helps that this is a very light fairy tale so the dragon eats everyone else in the castle except for the two main characters and isn’t disposed to inflicting any sort of violence on either of them directly. Not very realistic, but it makes the story possible. It’s also not realistic to expect the dragon to expend all of his remaining energy showing off for the princess, so it’s not exactly obvious what to ask him at the end. Of course, if a bloodthirsty dragon was parked that close to the castle (that the princess could just walk there in a few hours at most), someone should have been dispatched long ago to do something about it. Obviously I’m overthinking a silly little fairy tale, but it shows that the story isn’t very deep.

Score: 5
Scoring: base 7, -1 for shortness, -1 for thin subject matter


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