The Impossible Bottle

Author: Linus Åkesson
Year: 2020
Development System: Dialog
Cruelty Rating: Merciful
Length Of Play: 3-4 hours

My Rating: 8

Awards: 1st Place: 26th Annual Interactive Fiction Competition;
Best Puzzles, Best Individual Puzzles, Best Implementation, Best Use of Innovation: 2020 XYZZY Awards

What initially appears to be a charming slice-of-life about a six year-old girl helping her dad get ready for a dinner party turns into a old-school puzzlefest with an extraordinary mechanic that I’m embarrassed to admit I needed the in-game hints to even discover. Discovering the mechanic is part of the fun so I won’t spoil it here. I’ll just say it involves changing things in your environment with some magical thinking.


The coding for this puzzlefest is damn impressive, as there are so many things you can do that aren’t required that the game allows you to do, and even some potential alternate solutions to puzzles are at least acknowledged even if unsuccessful. Additionally, you can play the game using typing or hyperlinks, whatever suits your fancy.

I was considering a higher score, but the more I played the game the more I found myself exhausted. Some of the puzzles enhance the charm of this universe and the way your family reacts (or doesn’t react) to some of things you do is great. But there are also several puzzles that seem to be there simply for puzzle’s sake, and I found myself going to the hints quite often just to get a jump start on what to do next. There are also so many items you can carry or manipulate and a lot of them are irrelevant to progressing in the game, so I found myself easily getting overwhelmed and resorting to the hints for that reason as well. For their own sake, the progressive hints were really well done and I rarely needed the final hint to progress; I mainly just needed a nudge on where to focus my efforts.

A must play for puzzle enthusiasts.

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