J. Michael (2018)

Blurb: Who's the best and brightest Gamer of 'em all? Find out by joining the 27th Annual All-Night Diddlebucker Run! You'll compete against hundreds of other teams in the world's most popular scavenger hunt! Find the treasures, find the clues, beat your competitors to the finish line and your team will win one million dollars and a lifetime supply of Diddlebucker popcorn! Even more, you will prove that you and your teammates are the true champions of Diddlebucker '87!

This game is a scavenger hunt that takes place in a small city. It's broken up into 4 sections by the looks of it, along with a short intro. Each section is a sort of mini game that unlocks a business card with a poem on it. From the poem you're suppose to figure out the next location in the scavenger hunt.

I have enough problems with in-game puzzles, let alone riddles. And each of these cards is a riddle you have to figure out. But the game does come with hints and a walkthrough, without it I don't know how someone could figure it out. The puzzles in the game seem under clued. How am I suppose to know that bum has a lighter. I didn't see him pull it out and use it, maybe he does.

I had a problem with the NPCs. You could ask them things or show them, but you couldn't give them anything even though showing turned into giving in the text. And conversation were barely implemented. The bare minimum was there, topics that would advance the puzzle. That's it. I didn't see people even talking about Diddlebucker to any great length, only a word or two.

Also, some of the puzzles seemed strange to me or worked in unusual ways. Like getting the glow stick, that didn't seem normal. And objects in the world could have their use worked into them, like the checkbook. Somewhere in the description it should say that you can BUY X WITH CHECKBOOK, instead of: It's full of checks from your bank. I didn't think that the checkbook worked like that at all. Seeing it now, it makes sense, but if you have an object that's used in a unique way, just put it in the object description.

A few other things bothered me too, like when I tried to show the gift certificate to Cindy. This prompts almost no reaction, and nothing that would help me with using it. Once again, it would've helped to have the object's function in the description. Something like, you can BUY X WITH CERTIFICATE somewhere. But I thought showing it to Cindy should've triggered something too.

And then there's lighting the fireworks, LIGHT FIREWORKS WITH LIGHTER doesn't work. You have to get the lighter going first, but PUSHing it or TURNing it does nothing. And I think forcing the player to get the lighter going is wrong. LIGHT FIREWORKS should just work once you have the lighter. Basically with a bit of hardcoded automation. The lighter was already puzzle, lighting the fireworks doesn't need to be any harder.

One last thing of note, the TRAVEL command seemed a little broken. It doesn't work as a verb but as a special command. So you can't TRAVEL TO X, you have to TRAVEL, wait for the cab driver to ask you where to go and then tell him. This felt wrong, once given the command I'd like to be able to use it as a verb.

In the end Diddlebucker felt a bit strange, with some puzzles that aren't intuitive, having to figure out riddles, and NPCs that aren't flushed out. It felt lightly implemented. But the game does hold up a bit, and has plenty to do, just too much of it was under clued for me.

Score: 6