Kaylah Facey (2018)

Blurb: Potions shattered on the floor, pages torn out of books, a demolished statue... These are a few of the magical messes you will have to clean up before Enchantress Igmenta arrives for your coming-of-age test tonight. Unfortunately, you've never been much good at magic, and it will take all of your determination to learn enough of it to set the Pentacle Chamber to rights--and pass that test!

Charming is a short, light, puzzly game. Writing it began around September of 2015; two programming language switches, many hiatuses, a college graduation, and two missed IFComp deadlines later, Kaylah Facey is thrilled to finally release it to the public. She very much hopes you enjoy her debut interactive fiction game.

Charming is nearly a one room game where you find yourself in a bit of a dilemma. You play as a young witch about to begin your coming of age test, but due to your incompetence you've already destroyed the practice room. You need to set things right before the head Enchantress returns.

The game is set up well and has strong writing. As a failed witch you have to put the room back together, something that starts off with putting pages back into magic books. I had a few objects collide against each other, but the worst was when I tried to pick up the potions page and the game thought I was picking up the potions. This ended the game.

With a little help from Arthur I was able to put the books back together. By reading through one of them it will unlock a lot of spells. You only start off with one. The problem I had was with how many spells you get at once. You don't get them individually, piecemealed out one at a time, so you don't see how they work or how they could be used in other ways. The spells were a nice addition, I just didn't know which one to focus on, causing me to use the walkthrough a bit more.

I didn't make it all the way through the game, but one puzzle I did run across was putting the potions back in the bottles. I wasn't sure how to figure this one out on my own without using the walkthrough. Then I got it, but the answer felt wrong. Needing prior knowledge of a puzzle and then undoing it to get the right solution is something that should be avoided.

There was also the clock puzzle. Setting the hands to a Moon Phase and Zodiac Phase. When you do the combinations of this puzzle, it would take 96 attempts to go through all of them. So it's a little crazy trying to brute force it. But I couldn't LOOK THROUGH THE CLOCK like the walkthrough said. So I couldn't set the hands to the proper place, and this puzzle became broken. I couldn't advance past this one.

I liked this game. I like the writing, the small setting, and the cute familiar. It felt flushed out, all the objects were there and the game could really be poked at. The only real problem I had was with the clock puzzle, and if any puzzle stops gameplay it will hurt the score. Still one of the better games, though I only saw half of it.

Score: 8