Toonesia

By Jacob Weinstein, August 1995 (TADS).
Review: Gareth Rees.

I enjoyed playing Toonesia. It captures a good deal of the flavour of the cartoons it pastiches, and makes excellent use of the logic of the cartoon world it takes place in: I found all of the puzzles were solvable on the first attempt, and the majority were very good.

There were problems with the descriptions (the directions on the mesa were reversed), and a few minor bugs (e.g., you could type 'enter hole' from the mesa and get there directly, rather than messing about with the blindfold), but the main reason why I ranked The One that Got Away higher was because Toonesia seemed to lack energy.

Palmer Davis (<palmer@ansoft.com>) wrote the following in the newsgroup rec.arts.int-fiction:

The writing could use a bit more polish, but still manages to capture the spirit of Saturday morning. The NPCs don't, however - if you encounter Daffy Duck or the Tasmanian Devil in a 'real' cartoon, he'll be in your face until Porky Pig shows up for the fadeout, rather than just standing around like they do here.

I agree entirely; the characters in Toonesia are too static, and the game is directed too much by the player's own wanderings to be a completely successful pastiche. In a typical cartoon, Bugs would appear right at the start and his running battle with Fudd would continue to the end, with Fudd setting traps for Bugs and Bugs always escaping and turning the tables.

You can make an NPC more interesting by giving him or her a strong motivation and an ability to do things on his or her own initiative, not just in response to the player's actions. They are more interesting if they react to each other's actions as well as to the player's. And it helps a lot just to give them many different things that they can do. So in Toonesia, the player should have had to make several attempts to deal with Bud, with interaction at each stage. The other characters should have had their own motivations and schemes which would either provide additional hindrances, or present opportunities for subversion by the player, or be just there for background.

 
 
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Andrew Clover