Guttersnipe: St. Hesper's Asylum for the Criminally Mischievous

The personality and voice on this one just leaps out from the first sentence in and smacks you right in the face. It's 1929, we're a street urchin, and we've been nabbed and sent off to a reformatory to have the naughtiness ... removed from our system. Somehow. There's a surgery table and a drill somewhere about here, so make of it what you will. Fortunately, we also have the freedom to explore, because the doctor in charge of this place has full confidence in her ability to monitor our every move. And so begins our quest to escape and to become the nation's number one most wanted urchin.

From here, it's a series of fairly straightforward puzzles through to the end. I don't know that there was ever any "aha!" moment here: the puzzles are sensible and workmanlike, competently put together but I wouldn't say brilliant. The nature of the Quest engine is that there's generally not a lot room to go wrong, but not a lot of stuff you could knock over either. I mean, pretty much everything you could interact with is highlighted in the game interface, and you generally don't expect objects one description level below to be recognised; it's not like your standard parser IF where you sometimes have nouns within nouns within nouns, or nouns hidden in the room descriptions.

There were a couple of places where a custom failure response might have been appreciated, though: I spent a bit of time wondering if I were using the wrong verb, trying to apply a solution to one thing, not realising I should have been applying it to something else. Also, more synonyms for the puzzle with the fingerprint-o-matic would have been nice.

But where the game shines, as I said, is in the voice: the personality and attitude of our main character. We also have some interesting characterisations as well: not one of them is a bland, faceless automaton, and each of them has their amusing quirkiness. One of these NPCs is our sewer rat sidekick, who talks and is literate, and more highly educated than we are thanks to having spent time at Oxford. Dealing with him was quite enjoyable.

So I had fun working my way through the game. If this were breakfast, I imagine it would be something with chipolata sausages (a bit high on the pimento content) and hard-boiled eggs. Maybe a small bowl of oatmeal on the side. And strong, sweet coffee.