“Eunice” presents itself as a game about “positive psychology”: expressing gratitude, feeling connections to nature, etc. It uses a parser and is puzzle-based, but its real emphasis is on its theme.

Gameplay: The game stresses its topic of “positive psychology” throughout. Problems are solved by dancing, appreciating nature, writing down things you’re grateful for, and so on. It’s less a game than a vehicle for its ideas about psychology, which is not going to be appealing if you’re not interesed in them. The puzzles and setting are generic, though it’s a bit difficult to wander around the fairly small world because locations often lack a description of their exits. The descriptions given, particularly those of the western plain area of the game, are vague and uninspired. One location even says that it’s a “broad field or plain” (well, which is it?) that has “nothing particularly distinguishing about it.” 2/10.

Mechanics: Their solutions are strongly tied into the ideas of psychology clues, but the puzzles themselves are heavily contrived. They’re not particularly difficult, since the game continually points the player toward the positive psychology concepts (and even the syntax) necessary to solve them, but they’re ultimately unsatisfying. While wandering around the western map, for example, the player runs across various obviously useful items lying around that can’t be taken. They can’t be picked up until the player solves a couple of small puzzles about gratitude and mindful eating, but there’s no explanation given at the time or afterward about why they’re unavailable or what changes to make them available. 3/10.

Presentation: The setting is too vague and generic to be interesting. The few characters present in the game (including the protagonist) are only there as part of puzzles, and they have little personality. The game has errors in punctuation and spacing throughout, as well as occasional odd phrases (“focus on your hopeful imagine” and APPRECIATE ME -> “You look closely and seek to recognize the full worth of the yourself.”). There are also a few errors in the world model, such as a well that probably shouldn’t be portable and seeds that are not marked as edible but are eaten if examined. 3/10

You might be interested in this game if: You subscribe to the ideas of positive psychology as described by the author.

Score: 3

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