This is a review of “Earl Grey” by Rob Dubbin and Adam Parish, a glulx game entered in the 2009 Interactive Fiction Competition.

When I was a kid I was convinced I wouldn’t like Nord & Bert Couldn’t Make Head Or Tails, but it was actually kind of neat, it made me think of what I was reading in a new way.  Earl Grey was shooting for the same thing, I think, but as the game progressed I started to get frustrated simply because I thought something ought to work but wasn’t allowed by the game.  This bugged me and got me to look at the walkthrough, which, in this type of game, was more of a fact look-up than a moment of realization.  There wasn’t really a puzzle to figure out, there was a word I hadn’t thought about.  Though, actually, Nord & Bert had the same problem.

The beginning was good, though I don’t see what the tea party or the lengthy description of what you had to do in town had to do with the game at all, and ‘sea ions’ seems like something of a stretch.

Overall, it was a neat idea sometimes implemented well.  Not sure if there’s some systematic way to improve the mechanic (a thesaurus checker?), but there were enough good ideas and cute bits to be worth a good score.