Betsy Sykes Mysteries Volume 1

Hello fellow text-adventure enthusiasts!

Apologies for my first post on the forums being a plug but I recently released an Android based text adventure app on the Play store. It's a 1950's noir thriller set in New York. The interface is an old-school 'type what you want to do' affair rather than a 'pick a path' adventure.

I used to love text-based adventure games growing up and half the fun for me was discovering how to do what you want to do rather than the current gaming trend of hand-holding a player through the game. As a consequence, the feedback I've received so far is that it's too difficult.

I admit, it is challenging but every puzzle is logical and has clues . You just need to find them.

BTW, although it's set in New York, I'm English, so it understands the way words are really spelt as well as the American equivalents ;o)

So, if you're looking for a game that you have to think about and can't solve in 20 minutes, I think you might enjoy it.

link: Betsy Sykes Mysteries

I'd love to hear how people get on and, if possible, get the odd review on the play store. At the moment, I don't have enough reviews for it to be seen by anyone that doesn't know the exact name of the game!

Many thanks & happy adventuring,
Mark Rigby

Downloaded to my smartphone and have played a bit, so this is based on my journey so far.

Likes -
The screen layout is good and the text is crisp & clear to read.
If I leave it and return later even after turning the phone off and back on, it remembers where I was to allow me to continue.
The story (so far) is flowing along without any disjointedness.

Dislikes -
While having pictures for each location is good, I miss not seeing the location name in the text output window.
There are items either mentioned in the location description or visible in the picture that cannot be examined or looked at as expected. (eg. the desk with drawers couldn't be interacted with as separate units.)
Some of the expected synonyms for commands have not been implemented (l for look, i for inventory, x for examine, etc) as having to type 'search' instead of 'x' on a small keyboard quickly becomes painful.

I haven't read the 2 reviews on Google Play to see what their experience has been. Hopefully you can take whatever you get and make some changes to improve the user experience further.


Many thanks, R2T1. Sometimes you can be too close to a project to notice things like that.

A new update has been rolled out a few minutes ago..

Included - Location name in the description box, shortcuts x,l,i added as well as g(et) and r(ead). I wanted to add 'u' for use but it's already being used for 'up'. I can get round that but it's a little more time consuming so it'll be coming soon. Oh, also you can now use 'g a' as a shortcut for 'get all', which will pick up all objects in a location. Saves having to type in the names of the objects and suffering more spelling woes.

Totally take your point about the pictures. To be honest, they were added firstly for a bit of atmosphere and secondly as a cosmetic device to fill the space when the keyboard isn't on screen. Frankly, I made a rod for my own back setting it in the 1950's - as this is my first release, I used only free-to-use stock photos. That greatly reduces your options normally, but set the game that far back and, boy, do you have to dig around to find anything useful!

Also get your point about items mentioned that you can't interact with. I've updated for the desk and filing cabinet in the office and will be rolling out more items in time. Again, this is quite time consuming.

Thank you for noticing the automatic 'save' system - That took quite some time to work out so I appreciate you noticing it!

oh, and the 2 reviews on Play were from my sister and nephew - they were just being encouraging. Frankly, I don't think they've even played the game.

Many thanks, and I hope the updates will encourage you to keep playing.


Thanks for the quick response and update. I've updated the app and am giving it another go. Will report back when I have any further info.
I did find one location was missing a final 'e'. - I'm at the base of the cran.

Is there any way to scroll back in the output section to be able to reread text that has moved off?

You might also want to expose the game over at INTFICTION


Ah, good spot, thanks. the cran is now a crane.

There isn't a way to scroll back in the output section at present. I thought about it but I couldn't see it being that useful a feature (for the time it would take to code) as anything in a location that's affected by an action will be reflected by a change to the description of the item or location in the description box.

Thanks for the heads-up about intfiction - I hadn't heard of it before.


Been a while due to a holiday and no WiFi. Some more questions

  • Is there any way to restart the game? The standard 'RESTART' command has no effect. Nor does 'EXIT', 'STOP' or 'QUIT'.
  • Is there some way to create a transcript of the game. This would be handy to send to you so you can see how I play. commands tried, etc.
    So far I'm enjoying it but I think I really prefer to play on my desktop PC as my eyes aren't so good with the small text on a phone.
    I'll persist though to see it to the end.

It's nice to hear you're still playing! I didn't include a 'restart', no. The only way to achieve that at present is to uninstall and reinstall.
I know what you mean about the size of a phone screen. I tried to hit a sweet-spot between font and picture size so it wasn't too small. I may be able to up the size a little, though I'd have to look into that. Maybe toggling the text from normal to bold might help?
I also may make a PC version at some point, thanks for the suggestion!

There's no logging of commands, BTW, but I'd be interested to know where you're up to (what's in your inventory will give me a fair idea how far in you are),

Thanks Mark,
I have made some further progress but have hit a few snags...

Current inventory - a dirty fork, a crowbar, a penknife, a key with a star tied to it, a watering can (containing petrol), a hammer, a small silver key. I'm currently back at the base of the crane where every time I "X TANK" , I get the message - "I suck the tube till the gas flows and put it into the watering can. When it's full, I pull the tube out and throw it away." I can repeat this as many times as I want with the same response. Even if I go away and come back later. I have never found or had a tube either. When I go UP to the crane's cab, the controls are no longer visible after I cut the cage away with the pliers. Am also have trouble getting the key from the jacket lining in the freezer. Cutting, ripping, pulling do nothing as does hitting the pipes with the hammer and crowbar. (also the jacket is no longer appearing in the room description after the initial appearance) There is something similar going on with the chest on stage in the theatre too.

Anyway I'll keep plugging away.
Look forward to any advice or fixes you may have.

Ah, for the coat,

'use penknife on lining'.. That will get you the key.

I'll look into the problems with the code.

The suck the tube till the gas flows and put it into the watering can should be from the car rather than the crane base. I'll look into that. You won't have come across the tube yet, so none of that should be allowed to happen and the watering can should still be empty.

So far, you're making great progress. Maybe halfway through.

It's a shame there isn't a transcript taken because something seems to have gone wrong with

the small, silver key, too. You shouldn't have that AND the fork AND the star-key at the same time. Do you remember how you got it?

Thanks for taking the time to provide feedback, it's absolutely invaluable. No matter how many times I played through it myself, trying to account for doing different things, I clearly missed a couple of things.

Anyway, I'll get back to you when I've sorted out the problems!


Thanks for getting back to me.

Your hint for the lining didn't work. (response is - That doesn't work) Sorry I can't remember how I got those items. I think the key with star just appeared when I was trying something else and I didn't know why it happened when it did.

I guess the only option for me now is to delete, reload and start again. (I'll let you know when/if I get some different responses.)

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