This is not the kind of thing that holds a lot of inherent interest for me. Wicked old witch aside, it’s got a sort of inoffensively naive air about it, but it really seems to be relying on the assumption that just being able to walk around in a game world and do stuff is really exciting, which has not been true for… a while.
For a homebrew parser, it seems fairly robust, although I don’t really see any advantages to it. Still, I went to the walkthrough pretty rapidly, and once there I felt pretty justified in doing so: its puzzles are often rather unmotivated, and are sometimes outright deceptive. The first puzzle involves repeating an action three times, with the first two commands suggesting that success is unlikely. That’s… not very fair design. And in general, its puzzles seem to rely on the assumption that the player is going to be happy to walk aimlessly all over the map, searching for stuff for no very clear reason. That’s a difficult thing to ask in a comp setting.
I didn’t finish; this may be my own fault (possibly I missed a command in the walkthrough at some point) but I wasn’t engaged enough to start over. At least there were no zombies yet? Nor, on the other hand, had I come across anything vaguely resembling the promised new ideas or challenges to genre conventions.
So this seems to be about whether it’s a 3 or a 4 (see my score system). It’s a pretty faithful rendition of a certain era of IF, which is what it set out to be; it’s just that in that era games really weren’t very good. So: we’ll see how the rest of the field does.