“Flowers of Mysteria” is a game in the style of the earliest pre-Infocom text-adventures, with sparse descriptions, a focus on inventory puzzles, and a limited parser.

Gameplay: Gameplay is also in the style of those old games: the player wanders through the map collecting items, uses them to solve a few straightforward puzzles, and eventually collects all the objects necessary to make the potion that will win the game. “Flowers of Mystery” is not very original within that genre; what makes it interesting is that very few modern games are written in that style at all. 3/10.

Mechanics: The puzzles are also in the style of the earliest Infocom, or even Scott Adams, games, and involve finding objects to use on other objects. They’re similar to the most straightforward puzzles in Zork I: ones about using inventory items in realistic ways to explore a new environment (e.g., exploring the white house), rather than ones involving complicated set piece (e.g., the mine segment in Zork I or the mirror box in Zork III) or exotic or magical mechanics (e.g., the baseball puzzle in Zork II, or the time travel puzzle in Sorcerer). 3/10.

Presentation: Befitting the style, the room descriptions through the game are extremely terse. The opening room, for example, is described simply as “You are outside your cottage. Exits: north, south, east.” The NPCs that exist are there to be used in puzzles, and they have little interactivity beyond that. The parser appears to be a custom system that also recreates the style of pre-Infocom parsers. It’s effective as far it goes, but it’s frustrating to have few synonyms for verbs (e.g., WEAR COAT is understood, but PUT ON COAT and DON COAT are not) and pronouns unavailable. The author provides a walkthrough, but it’s a transcript that contains a few missteps. 3/10.

You might be interested in this game if: You have nostalgia for the oldest generation of text-adventures, and you want a new game in that style.

Score: 3

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