Game Review: Tavern Crawler (2020, Josh LaBelle)

Tavern Crawler is an entrant in the 2020 Interactive Fiction Competition.  All of the entries can be played here.

Tavern Crawler is an incredibly addictive Twine Game.  It starts out with a typical Dungeons and Dragons style set-up.  You and your two companions meet a wealthy man in a tavern.  The wealthy man is named Walter Barnes (not much of a fantasy name but that’s the point) and he offers you a fortune in gold.  All you have to do is find a dragon’s lair, kill the dragon, and then return with its head.

Sounds simple right?  The problem is that you were quite drunk when Walter approached you so, even though you heard about the dragon, you didn’t really hear the name of the tavern where you were supposed to meet him afterwards.  Though finding and dealing with the dragon is a part of the game, Tavern Crawler is more concerned with what happens after the quest.  Will you be able to find Walter or will just get spend all of your time wandering from tavern to tavern, getting progressively more sloshed as you search?

Tavern Crawler is unique just for the amount of options that you’re given.  Every decision you make has a consequence and effects how the game will end.  There’s not single throw away decision to be found and, as a result, you can play Tavern Crawler over and over again without once playing the same game twice.  Will you remain relatively sober and not only find Walter but also discover the secret of the dragon?  Or will you get so drunk and obnoxious that you’ll end up penniless, bloody, and abandoned by your companions?  The choice is yours!

I liked everything about Tavern Crawler.  There’s several side quests that you can chose to get involved with and the town, its residents, and its taverns are all described so precisely that you feel like you’re right there, drinking ale and wondering whether or not to get involved in the knife game that’s taking place in the back of bar.  Tavern Crawler creates a world that you’ll want to explore and the game rewards experimentation.  As soon as I finish writing this, I’m going to replay it just to see how many bad decisions I can make before dying.

Tavern Crawler can be played here.


One response to “Game Review: Tavern Crawler (2020, Josh LaBelle)

  1. Pingback: Lisa Marie’s Week In Review: 10/12/20 — 10/18/20 | Through the Shattered Lens

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