Eunice is a shortish puzzly parser game. I completed it in about 45 minutes. I very nearly gave up on it due to some very spotty implementation and frustrating action guessing, but I persevered, and, ultimately, I can say that I quite enjoyed my time with it.
The core premise of the game is that the land of Eunice has lost Hope. You need to bring it back. To do this, we are presented with a relatively open world to explore and are given the task to collect a number of items, each of which represents an aspect of how you interact emotionally and psychologically with the world and others. Things like : gratitude, connection, mindfulness and flexibility.
In addition to this, there are a number of things scattered around the world to pick up – each of which is released, for some reason, when you complete an action. Their relevance is unexplained until the end game.
It’s a curious mashup, this. The game is reaching for something beyond what it delivers. It tries to shoehorn this philosophical framework of self into a puzzle game into a quest, into a fantasy world. We are given tasks like writing down things we are thankful for, after which I can pick up a tin. Why? Who knows. It doesn’t come together to make a consistent framework to hang a game from.
On the implementation – there are numerous issues here. Synonyms missing. Nouns not recognized. Guess the verb. Underclued puzzles. Scenes repeating. The troll and the elf, in particular, seems to exist in the state both after and before you do the thing you’re supposed to do. One of the scenery objects you can take, and carrying it seems to mess up the game’s internal logic. Objects are missing from descriptions.
Final point. One of my least favorite things in parser IF is a lack of available exits in room descriptions. I get why an author would do this. It’s a clunky thing – putting north, south, etc.. in a room description. But it’s super frustrating for the player who then has to type in the 8 cardinal directions in every room just to make sure they’ve been everywhere.
And yet…..and yet. I did quite enjoy playing Eunice. There’s something sweet and innocent about it. Despite the myriad of problems, I found myself wanting to keep playing and see how it all turned out. And I did.
Had the implementation been stronger, and the World more fully realized – had we been given a bit more narrative, and the core mechanism been more closely integrated and the disparate parts melded together into a whole, then this might be something quite nice.
The feels like someone’s first game – I hope the author builds on this. 4/10