There is no harder task for a reviewer like myself than to comment on a work of interactive fiction. When I was assigned the task of assessing Infocom's new fantasy game, Wishbringer, I accepted only because it was touted as an introductory level game. I have had terrible experiences with higher level adventure-type games in the past.
Much to my dismay, Wishbringer started in normal fashion for me--I was stuck for about an hour in the first sequency of the game. If I went east, I couldn't get past a ferocious poodle; if I went west, I was eventually frustrated by a locked cemetery gate. But persistence, a small hint, and good documentation finally got me over the first hurdle, and I was on my way.
Now I have another problem. I can't get the game off my mind. I'm sure veteran players know what I mean, but it is a new sensation for me. It is very similar to solving a complex mathematical problem; if you get stuck, you leave it for a while and let your subconscious work on it.
So I found myself testing solutions that popped into my mind at odd hours of the day and night. Sometimes a solution worked, and it was very gratifying; other times, the frustration continued.
Infocom adds to the pleasure of the game by supplying real life props. In this case, the package contains a map of Festeron (later to be called Witchville), a special delivery letter to the proprietor of Ye Olde Magick Shoppe, and a glow-in-the-dark Wishbringer stone.
Wishbringer is no ordinary stone; it is a powerful, magical stone. When you hold Wishbringer, seven special wishes can be granted to help you overcome troublesome problems.
Though the game is a text-only fantasy, it does not suffer. The visual images conjured up in my mind have completely sufficed.
I recommend Wishbringer highly to the novice player, and I have a good idea that experienced players will find it engrossing, too. To make the game more challenging, advanced players may refrain from using the wishes, since "every problem ye encounter in thy travels may also be bested by the spell of Logick." But I have to go now, I just had an idea about how to spring the platypus from a pit too narrow for me to jump in.
Products: Wishbringer (computer program)