Saturday, May 28, 2016

Pepper's Adventures in Time

I just finished playing Pepper's Adventures in Time. It's an education game, about Benjamin Franklin. The story is that a girl has to go back to colonial times, to prevent Benjamin Franklin from becoming a hippie.

It's a nice enough game, and the walkthrough will be uploaded to my YouTube channel eventually. This is an early 1990's adventure game, and for the most part, I liked the old adventure game style of throwing puzzles at you, with little direction as to what you have to do. It makes you feel extra-smart, if you can solve one of those puzzles on your own. Fortunately, the game doesn't throw you to the wolves; it does a good job of giving you hints, if you're stuck, and it helps that a fair amount of puzzles have multiple solutions. Pretty much what I want/like from an adventure game.

The main problem with the game is that it's slow. The game pauses before and after every piece of dialogue, as well as pausing before and after every animation. At most, the pause is two seconds long, so it's not game-breaking levels of awful, but it's still very noticeable when the game pauses to switch screens, pauses to have your character walk onscreen, and pauses after your character walks onscreen, every single time. I'll give the game the benefit of the doubt and say the pauses are there, due to hardware limitations at the time of the game's release.

There were two puzzles I didn't like so much. First, the "wait for a minute, until a character enters the room" puzzle. I thought I had screwed up, because I kept clicking on everything, and nothing was happening! Second, the "go back through every screen of the game and talk to everyone" puzzle, which was tedious. Both of those puzzles happened twice. They weren't that bad, but those would be the only puzzles which I disliked.

The game has two puzzles, where the solution is written in the manual. The first one is a quiz about Benjamin Franklin's life. If you don't have the manual, it's pretty easy to look up this information online. The second puzzle is assembling a Leyden jar. You need to get all six parts assembled in a particular order. The tricky part is Step 4, where you fill the jar with water. It's tricky, because the area you have to click on is very tiny. As in, "you can only click on the left third of the top of the tub". I had to watch someone else's video walkthrough for that, because I couldn't figure out which part of the tub to click on. That's probably on purpose, to prevent someone from accidentally figuring out the solution on their own.

The final puzzle of the game was nice, and I thought up a variation on the puzzle, to make it more difficult. (The variation: figure out where the character should stand, as opposed to automatically having the character walk to the correct spot.) That's when I realized, "Uh oh, I'm writing adventure game puzzles! I should make an adventure game next, instead of a visual novel!" I wonder if the pizza delivery game would work as an adventure game...

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