“Zozzled” is an entertaining parser-based puzzle game set in the Prohibition era.

Gameplay: The premise of the game is that the protagonist has the ability to see the ghosts haunting a hotel, and her goal is to exorcise them by drinking them like the other kind of spirits. It’s a light game, and the puzzles never become too difficult or obtuse to get in the way of the story and humor. The setting is compact; the characters are distinct and entertaining; and the puzzles are reasonable. 9/10.

Mechanics: Despite the supernatural premise of the game, the puzzles are fairly straightforward and motivated throughout, and they’re more clever than just routine inventory and set-piece puzzles. (The one exception to their straightforwardness might be the artist puzzle, but I think its solution is clever enough to justify its complexity relative to the other puzzles.) The game switches to a choice-based system in certain sections, though it’s usually to set up particular jokes (most notably, the routine when entering the elevator for the first time) rather than a real change in format. 8/10.

Presentation: The game has a strong voice throughout. The 1920s slang it uses is overdone, but the game doesn’t take itself seriously, and the effect is more charming than annoying. The protagonist has a clearly defined personality that comes through when talking with other characters (most notably the artist, the elevator attendant, and the moll). There are a few minor typos (e.g., a missing quotation mark in the medium scene and a missing line break when leaving the pool), but they don’t detract from the enjoyment of the game. 9/10.

You might be interested in this game if: You like the 1920s setting.

Score: 9

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