Before you read ahead, be warned of SPOILERS! My summary is that I really like the game, but I don't recommend it YET because of critical bugs that ruin the experience. But I also recommend to players to just wait and check this game out later, when the bugs have been fixed. That way, you will have a more pleasant experience. Keep this game on your watchlist, folks! The game is also not accessible to colorblind people (yet).
If you want to read my REAL review (with MEGA spoilers), go in the comments.
The idea of a "cursed house" isn't new. "The Shining" written by Stephen King is a famous example. But that's not a bad thing at all! I like when something like that is turned into a game, and yes, I WAS surprised when I first entered the house. I like the game just throws you into this cursed house and you must figure things out. The gameplay is simple, yet hard: You run around from room to room, try to figure out what is happening and slowly piece things together. The puzzles are not easy, but I made some progress. I found different special rooms, and 2/3 crowns. I also managed to get the axe and get access to the ice in the smelter room, then failed to move on.
From that point on, I had to cheat my way through the rest by looking at the code (sorry ...) and I was BAFFLED by the solution (and found more crash bugs, lol), something I would not have found out in AGES. What tripped me over are the furnaces. I tried to smelt the crown, and not all the other metal things, lol. Also, putting the colored liquids in the cauldrons in a certain order???? At least I now know where the color combination comes from, but still! I think a few puzzles would be fairer if the game gave you more feedback. I thought the cauldrons are useless since nothing happens if you put a bottle in it. Yes, there are star particles but I thought it was a bug, I still had the liquid, there was no splash sound, etc. With more feedback, the player would know that you can ACTUALLY interact with the cauldrons (even if they don't know what use they have yet).
I have NO idea how on earth I should have known that I must put the purple/fake purple liquid in those "bowl" nodes. Is this part of the game still incomplete, maybe? Probably I hacked myself through too much. :D
The gear mold is also a bit nasty. You can cool down the gear at ice, but not at water???? Pfff ...
A big general downside of the gameplay right now is that is seems there is a LOT of ways to leave you in an unwinnable state (like when you toss away an important item), this needs to be addressed in future versions. I think the game should always guarantee you're never in an unwinnable state and can always continue, this is just fair given that some puzzles are really tricky.
Enough complaints! I LOVE that there is healthy amount of rooms to explore, and the room designs are really cool. A lot of effort was put into this, and I appreciate it a lot, this is what carries the game, this is where the game shines the most. The nodes still need polishing tho, as some nodes do unexpected/annoying things or have annoying collision boxes (like the candle), but overall, it's OK. Even if I didn't solve most puzzles, I did made progress and had a lot of fun doing so.
The story is apparently kept quite vague. You aren't told much, just little pieces of information. Which isn't bad actually. The pieces you get do form a story eventually, and I actually liked that one. There is an explanation about what happened in the past. I think this submission has the best story of all game jam submissions. Good job!
It re-uses a lot of graphics from Minetest Game and other mods. :( The textures aren't bad, but I've seen them soooo often, it doesn't give a special feel anymore. But I'm obviously very biased as a Minetest old-timer. :D But that doesn't mean the room design is bad, quite the opposite.
Sounds / Music
The sounds are the standard Minetest Game node sounds. The MTG sounds are OK, and I can live with them, but a lot of actions are without sounds: Using a key, reading a book, etc. There are no music nor are there ambience sounds as well, which is disappointing, this game could have really benefit from an ambience, even a simple one. Many other Game Jam entries had an ambience and/or music. But this wasn't really an issue for me, I still had fun.
This is where the game sadly falls flat in my opinion. This game is seriously broken. First, there is a LOT of console warnings. On the first start, I spawned in mid air and fell into the infinite void of despair. I deleted the world and tried again, then it worked. The worst part is that the game crashes frequently when I move from room to room.
Also, there are numerous other bugs. In the graveyard, when I dig up some of the graves, there is just endless air! Also, when I fall out the world, the game does not react in any way. I have to cheat and fly back to where I came from. :(
In the forest with the "gearbox", I can use items on these nodes, but they get destroyed.
Fire can destroy the floor of rooms, another way to fall out of the world.
If I leave an item in a room, it's gone forever (even for key items).
And the list goes on and on and on ... (Don't worry, I will post it all on the bugtracker).
A few small bugs are fine, but in this case, it's just too many, and game-breakers. This is too much even for the Game Jam. Please fix your game. :P
No issues. 60 FPS constantly on a >10y old computer.
Very simple. It's the standard Minetest controls. You have an inventory, but this time, you have a HUGE hotbar so you never have to open the inventory menu. I like this, makes gameplay much more convenient. But there is a downside: The inventory menu is empty, so I could not sort my inventory like in many other games for Minetest (except for dropping my stuff on the ground and picking them up by hand). Also, the game doesn't display the names of any item anywhere.
There is a catch: If you're colorblind, you're screwed because the game heavily relies on color. :-(
It PAINS me to say this, but no recommendation from me. The reason is the high number of crashes, game-breaking bugs and numerous ways to reach an unwinnable state. The game would be pretty good if it were more stable, and this is the reason for my "no recommendation". PLEASE fix the bugs post-jam, I want to see a shiny polished version of this; it would make a GREAT addition to the collection of Minetest games, this game, it's something very special. Oh, and please make the game colorblind-accessible.
Wow! Thank you for your through review and extensive documentation of bugs! I'm super glad you potiential in the game!
As I already wrote about in a different thread, I'm not going to be able to work on this project for a while and @Warr1024 's version should be considered its future.
Your github issues and this review make a great roadmap for fixing the game up. Colorblind-accessiblity is huge problem that I would have never though of.