An adorable and highly educational text adventure, with interesting characters and a fascinating landscape of Australian plants! The puzzles are unique and fun to solve. I'd say their difficulty ranges from very easy to easy.
Kenny Koala's Bushfire Survival Plan (TALP)
The weather is getting hotter and bushfire season is approaching. The animals have to stock up on food and prepare their bushfire survival plans.
Every year, the animals appoint a bushfire warden. The bushfire warden has an important job to do, for he or she has to check on all the other animals and make sure that they have their bushfire survival plans in place.
This year, it's Kenny Koala's turn to be the bushfire warden. He has a checklist of things to do. Can you help Kenny to complete all the things on his checklist?
This is a fun little adventure set in the Australian bush in the south-eastern part of Australia. It should appeal to both children and adults, and will also teach you about some of Australia's unique flora and fauna. It has an optional tutorial mode and an extensive in-built hint system, so it is an ideal game for beginners to text adventures.
This is a traditional text adventure that was written for Text Adventure Literacy Jam 2022, 21 March to 2 May 2022. See the jam page for the jam rules.
A text adventure is a form of computer game that presents you with a story. You take on the role of the main character in the story and control that character's actions. The story has a goal and you will need to solve puzzles in order to achieve that goal. The computer tells you where you are, what you can see and what's happening around you. You can then move around, examine the things you find and manipulate those things by telling the computer what to do using simple English commands.
Commands consist of a verb phrase, optionally followed by a noun phrase. Most commands can be abbreviated to a verb followed by a noun. For example, OPEN THE FRONT DOOR can be abbreviated to OPEN DOOR.
If the verb is followed by a preposition, this may alter its meaning. For example, GET ROCK will attempt to pick up the rock, but GET ON ROCK will attempt to climb onto it.
In some cases, the verb phrase and the first noun phrase may be followed by a second noun phrase. The two noun phrases are usually separated by a preposition. For example, DIG HOLE will attempt to dig a hole with your paws (as you didn't specify a second noun phrase), but DIG HOLE WITH STICK will attempt to dig a hole with the stick. If you only use a verb and a noun, the game will generally tell you if it needs an extra phrase or implicitly try to deduce what is needed for the second phrase.
Don't panic! It's not as complicated as it sounds. Just use simple English sentences starting with a verb and it will all feel quite natural.
To move around, use commands like GO NORTH or NORTH. You can move in any of the four cardinal compass directions, as well as UP and DOWN. To save typing, movement commands can be abbreviated to N, S, E, W, U and D. You can sometimes use other movement commands such as CLIMB, ENTER, EXIT, IN or OUT. These will be reasonably obvious when the time comes.
Make sure you EXAMINE everything you come across, even insignificant things like scenery and objects mentioned in room descriptions, as subtle hints and clues are scattered everywhere. To save typing, EXAMINE can be abbreviated to X. For example, EXAMINE LEAVES can be abbreviated to X LEAVES.
You can also try your other senses when it seems appropriate, e.g. SMELL, TOUCH or LISTEN. Unlike EXAMINE, these actions aren't necessary to solve any puzzles, so don't feel obligated to use them.
Apart from examining things, most of your time will be spent manipulating objects. Use commands like GET or TAKE to pick up an object, e.g. GET ROCK. Use commands like DROP or DISCARD to drop an object, e.g. DROP ROCK. Use WEAR to wear something, e.g. WEAR GLASSES. Use REMOVE to remove something that is already worn, e.g. REMOVE GLASSES.
To see what you're currently carrying and wearing, use INVENTORY (or I). As you are a koala, not a pack horse, you can only carry five items and wear two items at a time, but you may be able to put things in containers if you need to increase your load. If your inventory is full, just drop something that you no longer need. Inventory management is part of the game.
There are many other verbs that can be used to manipulate objects. These will be fairly obvious when the time comes. Common verbs include READ, OPEN, CLOSE, LOCK, UNLOCK, TURN ON, TURN OFF and so on. Use PUT, PLACE or INSERT to put objects into containers or on supporters, e.g. PUT LEAVES IN CUPBOARD or PLACE JAR ON SHELVES. Hints to which verb to use are quite often included in the responses to other commands, so read responses carefully.
Communicating with animals
You will encounter quite a few animals in the game. When you first meet new animals, in addition to examining them, you should try talking to them, e.g. TALK TO KELLY. The response will change as the game progresses, so try talking to them again after things have changed.
To get further information from an animal, try asking them about something relevant, e.g. ASK OLLIE ABOUT BUNYIP or just ASK ABOUT BUNYIP. You can also try showing them something or giving them something, e.g. GIVE JAR TO EDDIE.
Make sure you read the note that you're carrying at the start of the game. This lists the tasks you need to complete. You are awarded 20 points for completing each task. The maximum score is 100.
The score and the number of moves is shown in the status bar at the top of the screen. You can also use SCORE to see how you're going and READ NOTE to see which tasks you've completed.
This game features a tutorial mode. When you start a new game, the tutorial is on by default. If you are new to text adventures, it is recommended that you leave the tutorial on and follow all the suggestions. If you are an experienced text adventure player, use TUTORIAL OFF to turn the tutorial off.
Once the tutorial is turned off, it is recommended that you leave it off. You can use TUTORIAL ON to turn it back on again, but if you turn it back on later in the game, some of the tutorial responses may seem out of context.
You can use IT or THEM to refer to the noun used in the previous command, e.g. EXAMINE NOTE, READ IT, EXAMINE LEAVES, PUT THEM IN CUPBOARD.
You can refer to multiple objects by separating the objects with AND, e.g. GET ROCK AND NOTE. Using IT and THEM in the next command will only refer to the last of those objects, e.g. EXAMINE IT will refer to the note.
You can use ALL to refer to all the appropriate objects with GET and DROP, e.g. GET ALL to get everything in the current location, GET ALL FROM CUPBOARD to get everything from the cupboard, DROP ALL to drop everything you're holding.
When using ALL, you can use EXCEPT or BUT to exclude some objects, e.g. DROP ALL EXCEPT ROCK.
Finally, you can enter multiple commands on the same line by separating them with a period, e.g. OPEN DOOR. ENTER IT.
Use LOOK (or L) to refresh the display.
Use VERSION to get the game version. Use ABOUT or INFO to get background information and credits for the game. Use CREDITS to get the credits only.
Use SAVE to save your progress. Use RESTORE to restore a saved game.
Use UNDO to undo the last move. This is handy if you change your mind, make a mistake or just want to experiment with something.
Use AGAIN (or G) to repeat the last command.
Use WAIT (or Z) to do nothing apart from pass the time.
Use HELP to get a brief reminder of how to play the game or HINT to get a context-sensitive hint related to the current location.
Use RESTART to restart the game from the beginning. Use QUIT (or Q) to quit without restarting.
Most importantly, have fun, enjoy the game and help Kenny and his friends to prepare for the bushfire season.
Some interpreters have keyboard shortcuts. If you are using an interpreter on a computer with a conventional keyboard, most will allow you to press the up and down arrow keys to cycle through your past commands. This is handy if you want to repeat the previous command or correct a typo.
Playing the game
There are two ways to play the game.
- Click the 'Run game' button (above) to play the game in your browser.
- Download the z5 file and play the game using a z-code interpreter (see below).
Finding a z-code interpreter
There are a variety of z-code interpreters for all the major platforms, as well as many minor and retro platforms. There are far too many to list here. The best source of downloads is probably the Interactive Fiction Archive. Navigate to infocom/interpreters for z-code interpreters and interpreters-multi for interpreters that interpret both z-code games and other formats.
Common z-code interpreters
Android: I recommend Hunky Punk or Fabularium from Google Play. (There are others, as well.)
iOS: I recommend Frotz from the Apple App Store. (There are others, as well.)
Linux: See the links above.
Mac: See the links above.
Windows: I recommend Windows Frotz from the infocom/interpreters link above. (There are others, as well.)
Inform 6 compiler, language and library originally written by Graham Nelson and now maintained by David Griffith, David Kinder, Andrew Plotkin et al.
PunyInform library written by Johan Berntsson, Fredrik Ramsberg, Pablo Martinez, Tomas Öberg et al.
Original concept by Brandon Hansen.
Game design and coding by Garry Francis.
Cover background image by Susan Stewart, koala image by Tigatelu.