IFReviewed by Andrew Plotkin on 2006-06-25 09:08
Bonus points for being the first Unicode-using Inform game I've played. Also, bonus points to Zoom for handling it. Also, best feelie map in the Competition.
The game isn't perfect, but it doesn't need much improvement. Descriptions and atmosphere are great. I don't know anything about Chinese philosophy besides what I read in Hughart, but this game got the tone just right.
I only got hung up trying to get through the (first) archway. Not enough description of the statues, or else not enough emphasis on the important parts of them. Everything else in the game flowed pretty smoothly. Much of it was easy (in the puzzle-difficulty sense), but that's not a complaint.
Other improvements: "put ... in water" should be a synonym for "put ... in teapot". Opening the box needs a lot of synonyms too -- I had to look at the walkthrough for that. And if you want to restart the training combat, the man should give you some help -- perhaps say something to imply the appropriate command when you re-enter the pagoda.