dancing

I’m a rather picky fan of text adventure games. I really love parsers as a way of immersing oneself in an adventure, yet some of the supposed IF classics just seem plain boring and lacking detail. And while contemporary popular IFs are generally much better realized in the aspect of giving a large amount of descriptions and interactivity, many of those I had tried (including award-winners) are not as engaging as I’d expect from a game format called “Interactive Fiction”. Still, I did have unforgettably great experiences with several different titles (both well and lesser known, both modern and classic) like the classic Zork, Lost in New York and Frederick Pohl’s Gateway (OK, that last one has some graphics, but it plays like an IF none the less). And now Lost Pig joins that short list.

The storyline starts something like this…

Pig lost! Boss say that it Grunk fault. Say Grunk forget about closing gate. Maybe boss right. Grunk not remember forgetting, but maybe Grunk just forget. Boss say Grunk go find pig, bring it back. Him say, if Grunk not bring back pig, not bring back Grunk either. Grunk like working at pig farm, so now Grunk need find pig.

Lost Pig
And Place Under Ground
Release 2 / Serial number 080406 / Inform v6.30 6/11 / ZCODE-1-070917-994E

Outside
Grunk think that pig probably go this way. It hard to tell at night time, because moon not bright as sun. There forest to east and north. It even darker there, and Grunk hear lots of strange animal. West of Grunk, there big field with little stone wall. Farm back to south.

>LOOK AT GRUNK
Grunk orc. Big and green and wearing pants.

>

As such Lost Pig (And Place Under Ground) is a short, freeware fantasy adventure written in Inform. The game itself is just one click away from this review as it is embedded into its official website. And it’s a really charming experience – entering the mind of a naive orc who expresses his thoughts in simple sentences similar to the commands you’ll type in through the IF parser. The quest for the lost pig leads the orc into and underground complex (relax, it’s not one of the type in which you get lost) where he will have some close encounters with ancient alchemy. It’s a story filled with humor as well as emotions, believable characters and strong setting that should appeal to most gamers.

Overall, LP is a very player-friendly adventure game avoiding obscure puzzles and offering plenty of hints. What’s more, I found the amount of details and the level of interactivity in the game truly amazing and it’s done in a way that adds to the gameplay instead of confusing the player about what to do next. While you can’t really get stuck in the game, you can make things a bit more complicated for yourself, for example by eating various inventory items in your possession. Actually, you have the choice to really mess around with your environment (dozens upon dozens of, usually only theoretically possible, actions have been covered in brilliant ways by the game’s creator). The icing on the cake though are definitely the NPC interactions. There are not many of them in the game, but they are truly alive thanks to the seemingly inexhaustible number of special behaviors. The pig’s reactions to what you do are already a masterpiece. And then there’s the character that you can truly build a relationship with based on the way you behave…

Overall, Lost Pig is a slick little beast with a personality that can make your day easily brighter. It goes highly recommended.

Igor’s Score: 5 of 5 starks