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House Husband Reviews

Author: C Henshaw
Date: 2003
ADRIFT 4.0


Reviewed by David Whyld

There were a number of problems with House Husband, the main one being that nowhere in the game does it actually state what you're supposed to be doing. Fortunately, the author had posted a message about the game on the ADRIFT forum a while back about the game so I'm aware that the general idea is to pick up items and drop them in the bin in the kitchen then drop that bin in a wheelie bin outside. Unfortunately anyone who didn't read that thread is most likely not going to have a clue what the game is about or how to make any progress. 

Another problem, although not really a problem in the usual sense of the word, is that at heart this isn't a very interesting idea for a game. You wander around your house and tidy it up. Hmmm… I hate housework in real life and don't have any more enthusiasm for it in a game. Quite why this would be considered a good subject for a text adventure I'm not sure. 

There are a few peculiarities with the way the game handles certain things, which I'm guessing is down more to the fact that this is the author's first game and she's probably missing quite a few things that people with a couple more games under their belt would spot. In the first location are several bottles but none of them can be referred to as "bottle". In fact, the bottle of tiger beer has to be referred to as "tiger beer" as neither "tiger" or "beer" on their own work. In the same room is a television that can't be watched or turned on. There are also some curtains which can't be opened because the player, apparently, isn't in the mood! The same applies to the window. While that's certainly a better default response than "you can't do that", it still leaves a lot to be desired. 

Wandering around the house and tidying things up seems to be just about all this game has going for it and it wasn't long before my patience was beginning to wear thin. It isn't helped much by the fact that most of the items you need to find are concealed either under or behind other items, meaning a good part of the time spent playing House Husband was spent typing "look behind [item]" or "look under [item]" which isn't a thrilling experience by any means. 

The score is displayed on the status bar at the bottom of the screen but, irrespective of what it currently is, typing "score" displays a message saying that your score is "[number] out of a maximum of 0". Even when I'd remembered enough about the game from forum posts to realise what I needed to do and managed to boost my score above 10, I still kept getting this message. 

For a game, House Husband has too many flaws for me to recommend. It looks to have gone through nothing more than minimal testing and the basic idea, tidying up your house, just isn't interesting enough to make forgive want to play it. 

3 out of 10 


Reviewed by DIY Games (April 2005)


You wake up with a hangover, realizing that your wife is due home at any minute, and the house is a mess. You are afraid that she’ll yell at you, so you scramble to clean up the place. This premise makes the game feel like a sick and twisted dream of a dominating housewife, and the game doesn’t get any less mundane after that. In a quite original twist, you’ll be collecting empty bottles of beer and booze, and throw them away, then clean up the kitchen and make the bed, and other things you may be sick and tired of doing in the real life. If you want a bit of realism, you may want to try this adventure.


Reviewed by Robert Rafgon

This game is mainly about a husband who has to clean up the house before his wife returns home. A fact, which is probably unsurprising, is that I find doing lots of household work boring, both in real life and on the computer. Unfortunately a lot of this game is just repetitive tasks, where you know what you have to do, and it just takes a lot of turns and effort to achieve it. 

I hope I do not put off too many people with these comments, as this is a well written game, which does make the mundane more fun. There is also an interesting plot that you gradually discover and I do not want to spoil here. This review is far more negative than the game deserves, but at times as you play through, you just find yourself wanting to get on with the story, rather than repetitive tasks 

The biggest problem with this game is the fact that you have to clean up absolutely everything before reaching the game's successful end. I solved about 90% of the tasks, before giving up and going to the walkthrough, as I was completely stuck. I gradually checked off and completed the tasks that I hadn't done, but it took me a long while to figure out the last missing task was where I had forgotten to look at an object in the first room. I think it would be very difficult to figure out everything without the walkthrough. This made the game very frustrating, especially as I had already figured out the plot from unsuccessful endings. It would possibly have been better to only need to complete most of the tasks rather than all of them, or allow a shortcut to the finish. 

One error I noticed was that looking in the shed interior gives the same message as when you enter the shed, which is no longer appropriate. 

Overall I did enjoy this game, but I think it could have been improved by not being quite so fastidious. That is how I like my housework. 

SCORE - 6/10


Reviewed by Lumin

At the time of its release, Chenshaw's "The House Husband" was the recipient of a few less-than-complimentary reviews. As my own experience with the game was somewhat more favourable, I figured I should go ahead and weigh in a well. Then, I...got busy with other stuff. But I'm writing the review now. Finally. 
Not to say the game is a shining example of perfection or anything, because it's not. There are parts I think could have been handled better, and at least one significant bug, but on the whole I enjoyed the game and disagree with the assessment in other reviews that it was 'boring' or lacking in plot. 

When I loaded 'Husband' up, the first thing I noticed was that it was in first person, an approach which sometimes works for me and sometimes doesn't. In most cases I prefer the classic second person approach, but this time around, at least, Chenshaw did a good enough job pulling off the unusual POV that it was never an annoyance. 

The second thing I noticed was that the writing was excellent. Clear, cleanly written descriptions abounded, from the intro on. In the entire game, there were only a couple of passages that I felt were weak in comparison to the rest, but I'll get to that later in the review. 

From the beginning the plot is very simple and straightforward -- you wake up to a filthy house after a bout of drinking, and have to get things in order before your wife comes home from a business trip -- though later it's revealed that there's more going on than first meets the eye. Some of the criticisms of the game have been that it doesn't give players enough direction on what to do, so it may be worth mentioning that I didn't have any problems with that. The intro doesn't exactly spell everything out for you, but the last line of it prompted me to examine my watch, the description of which made my goal obvious. (Though in any case, items in my inventory are usually among the first objects to be examined.) 

The puzzles also fall under the 'simple and straightforward' category, but that's not necessarily a bad thing, and as I'm typically pathetic at solving them it was nice not having to resort to hints or a walkthrough for once. The majority of the puzzles involved cleaning up around the house, which may not be the most exciting thing in the world, but they were made reasonably challenging by the fact that they made you pay close attention to details and examine EVERYTHING, including things even a seasoned adventurer might miss on the first pass through a room. 

However, there were two problems I ran into, both which could have been avoided by a little more testing. The first is simply that the door to the dining room is never mentioned in the kitchen's description, which left me unable to make any progress past a certain point until I literally stumbled on the exit by accident. The second is a great deal more serious, an apparent bug that kept me from completing the game. I found all the items I needed to find (looking in the generator confirmed this) and threw them away, but either I did things in the wrong order or the game didn't like the fact that I carried some items out to the shed by hand instead of putting them in the waste bin first, and I was never able to trigger the ending. This was made doubly frustrating by the fact that I'd figured out what the twist was a long time ago, but had no way to do anything about it other than the completely unrelated action of taking out the trash. Finally I just gave up and read the ending in the generator. 

Actually, the ending, in fact all the endings, were probably the weakest part of the game for me. Besides the bug I ran into, during the 'cutscenes' the writing itself was a bit of a let down. Not to say that it was bad, but it came across as a little over the top and didn't seem to fit very well with the style of the rest of the game. This is especially true of the ending involving the TV, which took the game into cheesy horror territory. 

In contrast, the most genuinely chilling moment in the game involves nothing more complex than finding a certain item in the dining room and realizing its significance. In this case, less is more. 

All in all, despite needing a bug fix and a couple of other tweaks, 'The House Husband' is a solid, well-written work of IF that kept me interested enough to play it through, which is really all I ask of any game. 


Reviewed by Hordriss

The idea behind this is your character, Jared, wakes up on the morning that his wife, Marta, is due to return from a business trip. The problem is, the house is in a terrible mess and Jared has no recollection of the last few days.

So, it's your job to tidy up the house so Marta won't throw you out on your ear when she returns.

Truthfully, the game isn't a whole lot of fun. There is some frustrating guess the verb and at times it's difficult to find the correct command for the required tasks, and some of the required actions to complete the game are a little obscure. This led to plenty of frustration.

On the plus side, the writing itself is well done, with a subtle humourous overtone. The descriptions are given a nice amount of detail to the point I could actually picture the house in my mind as I was playing. And so you don't get completely stuck, there is a walkthrough built in to the game. I did notice a couple of typos, but nothing major.

2/5 - Whilst I can't recommend it as a gaming experience, the writing is nicely done and this does make it worth a download. Just don't expect a fun game.
 


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