“StupidRPG” is a light parody of role-playing games, set in a Zork-like environment with a bit of exploration and puzzle-solving. Its central conceit is that the player is in an RPG run by the narrator, with commands considered as instructions to the GM.

Gameplay: More than anything else, the game reminded me of the earliest Zork games with more role-playing and fewer puzzle elements. Its custom parser is mostly solid but lacks a few useful features, such as pronouns. It also repeatedly froze up for a few seconds when interacting with the pool (specifically, PUT ICE CUBE IN POOL, following the walkthrough); that was the only such problem I encountered, though. 6/10.

Mechanics: The game keeps a bit of state, such as the rusty helmet in the head-butting battle and a puzzle involving cask numbers. There are some easy puzzles, but the focus of the game is more on exploration than puzzle-solving. 6/10.

Presentation: The game features text on long delays, ostensibly corresponding to intervals where the GM is typing or plotting. It does nothing for the game beyond annoying me. I’m a fast reader and have 77 of these games to play and review; staring at the screen waiting for the next block of text to appear doesn’t add anything to the game. It also throws off the pacing: There’s a comedic scene involving a liar- and truth-teller-style puzzle, but the awkward delays in revealing the text throw off the timing and ruin the joke.

The text itself consistently stays in a Zork-like tone of mild humor: pleasant but not really inducing laughter at any point, and neither taking itself seriously nor devolving into goofiness. The game features music, but the captions that appear in place of it when it’s turned off are genuinely funny. 6/10.

You might be interested in this game if: You like tabletop RPGs.

Score: 6

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