A girl aided by her trusty shovel embarks on a riddling quest to find a missing princess. Girls Make Games 2014 Grand Prize Winner!
User reviews:
Overall:
Mixed (15 reviews) - 46% of the 15 user reviews for this game are positive.
Release Date: Jul 13, 2015

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About This Game


The Negatives, Girls Make Games class of 2014

Story:

When an unsuspecting young girl finds herself transported to a mystical world, she must rely on her trusty shovel and quick wits to find her way home.

After digging up a strange portal in her backyard, budding young archaeologist Wendy falls through time into a strange new land. She quickly discovers that her best chance of returning home is to rescue Alonna, a princess who has gone missing from the kingdom. Her goal in mind, Wendy sets about resolving the problem the best way she knows how – by digging of course!


Features:

The Hole Story is a top-down RPG fantasy adventure created by a talented group of young female designers. Players solve puzzles by exploring the world and digging up clues in order to move on. As you progress through 15 increasingly difficult challenges, you’ll meet a host of humorous characters, unlock secret levels, and earn experience that can be put towards player customization and gear upgrades. Furthermore, clue and item locations are entirely randomized, so no two experiences will ever feel the same!
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“A sharp-witted game with mind-bending riddles, The Hole Story is a beautiful testament to the immense talent contained in gaming’s youngest creative minds.” – Laila Shabir, Founder, Girls Make Games
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About Girls Make Games:

Girls Make Games is a series of international summer camps, workshops and game jams designed to encourage girls to explore the world of video games. With the help of growing list of partners like Google Play, DoubleFine and the Computer History Museum, we're determined to address the gender gap in the games industry, one camp at a time.

Awards:

The Hole Story won Grand Prize at the Inaugural Girls Make Games Demo Day hosted at the Computer History Museum in Mountain View.
After 3 weeks of hard work, 5 teams of young game developers pitched their game prototypes to industry veterans:
Tim Schafer, Founder, Double Fine Productions
Kellee Santiago, Head of Developer Relations, OUYA
Shazia Makhdumi, Head of Strategic Edu & Kids Partnerships, Google Play
Tracy Fullerton, Chair, Interactive Media & Games Division, USC
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Press:

Polygon: http://www.polygon.com/2014/7/29/5946093/girls-only-game-dev-camp-going-global-with-support-from-publishers
Gamasutra: http://www.gamasutra.com/view/news/221883/These_girls_are_ready_to_shape_the_future_of_game_development.php
IGN: http://www.ign.com/articles/2014/07/16/7-high-school-girls-are-kickstarting-their-award-winning-rpg-the-hole-story
Joystiq: http://www.joystiq.com/2014/07/16/girls-make-games-winners-dig-into-the-hole-story/
GameSpot: http://www.gamespot.com/articles/how-a-summer-camp-made-middle-and-high-school-girl/1100-6421352/

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Visit our Kickstarter Page: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/2020158234/girls-make-games-grand-prize-winner

System Requirements

Windows
Mac OS X
    Minimum:
    • OS: XP, Vista, 7, 8
    • Processor: Intel Pentium III 800 MHz
    • Memory: 2 GB RAM
    • Graphics: 1024x768 High Color+
    • DirectX: Version 9.0
    • Storage: 300 MB available space
    Minimum:
    • OS: OS X 10.6.8
    • Memory: 2 GB RAM
    • Graphics: Radeon HD 2400 or comparable
    • Storage: 300 MB available space
Customer reviews
Customer Review system updated! Learn more
Overall:
Mixed (15 reviews)
Recently Posted
hungryghost01
( 1.5 hrs on record )
Posted: April 10
Digging sim.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
Seawater
( 1.8 hrs on record )
Posted: April 8
If "Katy t3h PeNgU1N oF d00m" made a video game, I imagine it might look something like this.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
lindley.waltersmith
( 1.5 hrs on record )
Posted: December 13, 2015
Charming adventure game with kooky humour, silly puns, cute art, and a likeable girl main character. Probably best suited to kids, with simple puzzles, but enjoyable for adults with child like hearts!

It has serious problems with bugs and crashing, though. As a Kickstarter supporter, II wish the adult mentors had given the girls a hand with the level of debugging needed before a release. Save, and save often.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
sharl
( 6.7 hrs on record )
Posted: October 11, 2015
For the price, this game isn't worth it...

If you're getting this game to support the developers, sure that's worth it. But if you're getting this game wanting something to _play_, then... don't. There's no game to play, so to speak. You can finish the entire game in an hour, and you'll wish you hadn't spent that time.

A few major points which irritated me whilst playing:
- Controls are... awkward, to say the least. It's not a game you can play on keyboard, unless I missed something. I got it to work by a combination of keyboard+controller... to talk to someone I had to use the controller to initiate the dialogue, but I'd then needed to switch to my mouse to click to advance the dialogue... I nearly quit the first 5 minute of the game because of this.
- There is no puzzle. There are riddles, yes, but they make no difference whatsoever to the game. There are quests, yes, but every quest is pretty much solved by randomly digging around hoping you'll dig the item you need.
- Game is buggy... at one point I spent 5-10 minutes digging around and not finding my objective... which was OK, as there was a troll that said that I needed to give it certain items so that it would let me pass, and yet I could just walk past it across the bridge to continue the game. At one point in the game I was transported to another place and had to walk back to where I was... for no explanation.
- There is no plot. I'm neutral on this one as the game's supposedly made as part of an educational effort of some sort...
- Until the very end, I failed to figure out how to save the game, so it was a blessing that the game was so short.

I backed this game on Kickstarter, and kinda wishing I didn't.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
david
( 0.3 hrs on record )
Posted: August 31, 2015
I was pretty interested when I saw this game on Kickstarter, but unfortunately it did not deliver. You are immediately thrown into the game without any knowledge of controls. I spent several minutes just trying to figure out what keys did things. When I did finally find the right button (something obscure like "J" to dig?), it did not take very long for me to get bored with the game.

I understand that the premise is digging things up with your shovel, but there are no designated places to dig, and one of the quests I actually tried had me digging up several kinds of apples for no reason until I finally found the right one.

The game is lacking in story, explanation, and things to do. It's like a 2D walking simulator, but with a shovel that you can use to dig for random things.

If you're going to buy it, wait until it goes on sale because it is not worth $5.

2/10
Helpful? Yes No Funny
LrdDimwit
( 1.5 hrs on record )
Posted: August 31, 2015
Since there seems to be some confusion among the other reviewers - this is not a game *for* kids, it is a game *made by* kids. Which begs a serious question - Should I even seriously review a game made by school kids? Well, if I did, that would make me a real-life stuffy critic the likes of which David Sedaris wrote as a joke. Yes, the other reviewers are correct. There are things about this game that are very unprofessional and unpolished. That's because it isn't professional. Even if the public has to pay to get into the school play, it's not supposed to be compared unfavorably to a Hollywood blockbuster. That's not the point.

Would I be recommending this game if it were made by a proper indie studio? Certainly not. But it wasn't.

So instead of telling you whether it's worth your five bucks, I'm going to tell you how I liked it. So, did I like it? Yes, I did. It won't ever be game of the year, but I found it cute, amusing enough, and short enough that the limited mechanics don't have the time to become aggravating.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
tahlia.louise
( 0.9 hrs on record )
Posted: August 20, 2015
It constantly crashes, which really sucks. And there are so many bugs. But I love the game. Well I love it up til the unicorn guy because Ive never gotten past that due to crashes. I love that it was made by women! Great job :)
Helpful? Yes No Funny
Eveaustria
( 7.7 hrs on record )
Posted: August 15, 2015
I wasn't expecting the greatest game of all times, not even in memory of wonderful games made by great women like Roberta Williams (King's Quest), Robin Hunicke (MySims), Kim Swift (Portal), Sheri Graner Ray (Ultima VII Serpent Isle), Kellee Santiago (Dear Esther, Gone Home, Q.U.B.E) and so on and so on :)

But unfortunately "The Hole Story" fails even the most unambitious of my expectations :( This game is early access and needs to be revised for another year or so. Especially if children are supposed to play it.

The good:
* IMHO the very best thing about this game are the lovely character-portraits. And the shovel. Oh, and most of the music is nice as well :)

The bad:
* there are much too many bugs for such a small game. More holes than cheese...
- you can ruin the sense of many (if not all!) riddles by finding the needed items too soon - as in that case you won't be able to read the puzzle but only the "solution" instead
- the inventory/bag is messed up badly. Items like fairy dust or gold keep vanishing when digging up some more stuff or visiting the island
- you can get stuck in sceneries, like in Sir Unicorny-corn's room for instance - and loading your savegame is the only way out
- sometimes the game will load a save-game instead of saving cause there's something weird about clicking the buttons. O it won't save at all, but you can't know because there's no system-info saying "saved" otherwise
- you can skip whole scenes without wanting it (like by talking to Alonna in the cave another time before leaving the cave - and sometimes this will kill the game (loop)
- the game freezed too often on me, like whenever I was clicking forward in dialogues a bit too fast
- under this circumstances one savegame is by far not enough

* some of the puns and wordplay-riddles did not make sense, as English is not my native language. So sorry; maybe that's why I wasn't enchanted by the countless number of quibbles like some gaming-magazines obviously were. Instead I was actually expecting a good gameplay and an interesting adventure-gameworld...

* no real puzzles to solve. You just have to dig around in grassy ground. Then you'll automatically give the "right" findings to NPCs when talking to them. That seems to be the only kind of puzzles and solutions, as you seemingly can't use any items in the sceneries and can't even pick up any stuff that is lying around.

* so many invisible borders - what's so hard about drawing fences, fallen trees, thorny bushes, cliffs, rocks, trees standing close together and the like?

* why for Wendy's sake has our heroine got to dig up (edible??) apples from unter pine trees? Why not dig in heaps of fallen apples already piled up under apple-trees? There are sprites for fruit-bearing trees in the royal garden that could have been used...

* why do all the "woods" have to consist of the ever-same-looking boring pine-trees on grass?

* why does Wendy comment pretty much everything in the very first scene (garden), but gets bored with that quickly and stops explaining most of the stuff we see after that?

* why can't we even try to open some of the containers we come across?

* what's with the contemporary trade marks of apples (Cripps Pink = Pink Lady) and all the "witty" comments of peasants about iphones, bananas and other modern-life-stuff in a country that looks medival and has royalty?

* why do some characters have different hair colors as sprites/pixel-avatars than in their character portraits (like the guard who is blonde, but at closer inspection has violet hair)?

* why do we have to play a childish heroine who loves to ruin her family's delightfully groomed and decorated garden by senselessly digging holes into it? At least the "backyard" could have been an unkempt wilderness with soil in need of cultivation...

* why is the tiny little box looking like a bird-house that's supposed to be a "time-machine" already just lying on the grass? Has Wendy already dug up the box but totally did not care about it until now? Have the three big holes been made by our heroine or not, since she seems so surprised about their size? Where's the sense in all of that? And this is just the very first puzzle of this game...

* I could go on forever about what made me cringe (the super-annoying "Charlie, let's go to Candy mountain"-interlude for instance nearly made me want to ask for a refund! Is it a hack perhaps, since it has voice-acting but all other dialogues don't?), but I'll give it a rest.

I would not complain so much if I didn't have this strong hunch that all the frustration could have been avoided so very easily if the game design had just been given more love and time.

It's not too late yet! If the developers have even a little bit of sense of responsibility they can still improve the game. However the worst mistake of their lives would be to feel ashamed of their first gaming-project and to just quickly turn their backs on it.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
ainosenshi007
( 0.1 hrs on record )
Posted: August 14, 2015
This game had little story, no introduction, and terrible controls. Looks cute, but don't be deceived.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
damphon
( 0.5 hrs on record )
Posted: August 12, 2015
Not full controller support. You still need keyboard to advance dialouge and you need it to exit the game. You also need a mouse to select items in inventory.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
Most Helpful Reviews  Overall
28 of 41 people (68%) found this review helpful
1 person found this review funny
Recommended
1.5 hrs on record
Posted: August 31, 2015
Since there seems to be some confusion among the other reviewers - this is not a game *for* kids, it is a game *made by* kids. Which begs a serious question - Should I even seriously review a game made by school kids? Well, if I did, that would make me a real-life stuffy critic the likes of which David Sedaris wrote as a joke. Yes, the other reviewers are correct. There are things about this game that are very unprofessional and unpolished. That's because it isn't professional. Even if the public has to pay to get into the school play, it's not supposed to be compared unfavorably to a Hollywood blockbuster. That's not the point.

Would I be recommending this game if it were made by a proper indie studio? Certainly not. But it wasn't.

So instead of telling you whether it's worth your five bucks, I'm going to tell you how I liked it. So, did I like it? Yes, I did. It won't ever be game of the year, but I found it cute, amusing enough, and short enough that the limited mechanics don't have the time to become aggravating.
Was this review helpful? Yes No Funny
18 of 23 people (78%) found this review helpful
1 person found this review funny
Not Recommended
0.1 hrs on record
Posted: August 1, 2015
When I first saw this on kickstarter, I had rather high hopes for it, however playing it for myself has led me a bit disappointed. The art style, while nice, seems a bit bland, with the proportions of some objects rather odd. The animations for the main character also look stiff, as though a few pixels were moved and was deemed "Good Enough."

I didn't play the game for very long, but with no real story element, or reasoning to dig a hole in the ground, it makes the game rather dry and boring. After finding an old key and being transported elsewhere, I immediately dug up an apple and saw the fortune teller. This either skipped an important dialogue box, or the game simply didn't have one to begin with, however it immediately told me to dig up a different apple and bring it back without too much help but a basic description. I may have overlooked something here and it may have told me the actual kind of apple needed, so if it did, I do apologize. While looking for apples though, it told me the kinds of apples, which to me was feeling a bit pointless for a game, since as a person I couldn't care less about the actual kinds of them.

When I tried to replay it to test whether or not the quest dialogue box was different if I hadn't grabbed an apple yet, I instead spawned in a spot where I could not move from, thus rendering the game unplayable. Screenshot for reference:- http://steamcommunity.com/sharedfiles/filedetails/?id=492487753

I am sorry, but this game gets a 2/10 from me.
Was this review helpful? Yes No Funny
11 of 13 people (85%) found this review helpful
1 person found this review funny
Not Recommended
6.7 hrs on record
Posted: October 11, 2015
For the price, this game isn't worth it...

If you're getting this game to support the developers, sure that's worth it. But if you're getting this game wanting something to _play_, then... don't. There's no game to play, so to speak. You can finish the entire game in an hour, and you'll wish you hadn't spent that time.

A few major points which irritated me whilst playing:
- Controls are... awkward, to say the least. It's not a game you can play on keyboard, unless I missed something. I got it to work by a combination of keyboard+controller... to talk to someone I had to use the controller to initiate the dialogue, but I'd then needed to switch to my mouse to click to advance the dialogue... I nearly quit the first 5 minute of the game because of this.
- There is no puzzle. There are riddles, yes, but they make no difference whatsoever to the game. There are quests, yes, but every quest is pretty much solved by randomly digging around hoping you'll dig the item you need.
- Game is buggy... at one point I spent 5-10 minutes digging around and not finding my objective... which was OK, as there was a troll that said that I needed to give it certain items so that it would let me pass, and yet I could just walk past it across the bridge to continue the game. At one point in the game I was transported to another place and had to walk back to where I was... for no explanation.
- There is no plot. I'm neutral on this one as the game's supposedly made as part of an educational effort of some sort...
- Until the very end, I failed to figure out how to save the game, so it was a blessing that the game was so short.

I backed this game on Kickstarter, and kinda wishing I didn't.
Was this review helpful? Yes No Funny
14 of 20 people (70%) found this review helpful
Not Recommended
7.7 hrs on record
Posted: August 15, 2015
I wasn't expecting the greatest game of all times, not even in memory of wonderful games made by great women like Roberta Williams (King's Quest), Robin Hunicke (MySims), Kim Swift (Portal), Sheri Graner Ray (Ultima VII Serpent Isle), Kellee Santiago (Dear Esther, Gone Home, Q.U.B.E) and so on and so on :)

But unfortunately "The Hole Story" fails even the most unambitious of my expectations :( This game is early access and needs to be revised for another year or so. Especially if children are supposed to play it.

The good:
* IMHO the very best thing about this game are the lovely character-portraits. And the shovel. Oh, and most of the music is nice as well :)

The bad:
* there are much too many bugs for such a small game. More holes than cheese...
- you can ruin the sense of many (if not all!) riddles by finding the needed items too soon - as in that case you won't be able to read the puzzle but only the "solution" instead
- the inventory/bag is messed up badly. Items like fairy dust or gold keep vanishing when digging up some more stuff or visiting the island
- you can get stuck in sceneries, like in Sir Unicorny-corn's room for instance - and loading your savegame is the only way out
- sometimes the game will load a save-game instead of saving cause there's something weird about clicking the buttons. O it won't save at all, but you can't know because there's no system-info saying "saved" otherwise
- you can skip whole scenes without wanting it (like by talking to Alonna in the cave another time before leaving the cave - and sometimes this will kill the game (loop)
- the game freezed too often on me, like whenever I was clicking forward in dialogues a bit too fast
- under this circumstances one savegame is by far not enough

* some of the puns and wordplay-riddles did not make sense, as English is not my native language. So sorry; maybe that's why I wasn't enchanted by the countless number of quibbles like some gaming-magazines obviously were. Instead I was actually expecting a good gameplay and an interesting adventure-gameworld...

* no real puzzles to solve. You just have to dig around in grassy ground. Then you'll automatically give the "right" findings to NPCs when talking to them. That seems to be the only kind of puzzles and solutions, as you seemingly can't use any items in the sceneries and can't even pick up any stuff that is lying around.

* so many invisible borders - what's so hard about drawing fences, fallen trees, thorny bushes, cliffs, rocks, trees standing close together and the like?

* why for Wendy's sake has our heroine got to dig up (edible??) apples from unter pine trees? Why not dig in heaps of fallen apples already piled up under apple-trees? There are sprites for fruit-bearing trees in the royal garden that could have been used...

* why do all the "woods" have to consist of the ever-same-looking boring pine-trees on grass?

* why does Wendy comment pretty much everything in the very first scene (garden), but gets bored with that quickly and stops explaining most of the stuff we see after that?

* why can't we even try to open some of the containers we come across?

* what's with the contemporary trade marks of apples (Cripps Pink = Pink Lady) and all the "witty" comments of peasants about iphones, bananas and other modern-life-stuff in a country that looks medival and has royalty?

* why do some characters have different hair colors as sprites/pixel-avatars than in their character portraits (like the guard who is blonde, but at closer inspection has violet hair)?

* why do we have to play a childish heroine who loves to ruin her family's delightfully groomed and decorated garden by senselessly digging holes into it? At least the "backyard" could have been an unkempt wilderness with soil in need of cultivation...

* why is the tiny little box looking like a bird-house that's supposed to be a "time-machine" already just lying on the grass? Has Wendy already dug up the box but totally did not care about it until now? Have the three big holes been made by our heroine or not, since she seems so surprised about their size? Where's the sense in all of that? And this is just the very first puzzle of this game...

* I could go on forever about what made me cringe (the super-annoying "Charlie, let's go to Candy mountain"-interlude for instance nearly made me want to ask for a refund! Is it a hack perhaps, since it has voice-acting but all other dialogues don't?), but I'll give it a rest.

I would not complain so much if I didn't have this strong hunch that all the frustration could have been avoided so very easily if the game design had just been given more love and time.

It's not too late yet! If the developers have even a little bit of sense of responsibility they can still improve the game. However the worst mistake of their lives would be to feel ashamed of their first gaming-project and to just quickly turn their backs on it.
Was this review helpful? Yes No Funny
13 of 22 people (59%) found this review helpful
1 person found this review funny
Recommended
6.8 hrs on record
Posted: July 15, 2015
The Hole Story is a simple adventure game where the solution to almost every puzzle is to dig something up. It's full of puns and amusing references. It looks a bit like an RPG, but does not have any RPG elements.

It only took me about half an hour for the playthrough where I finally completed the game. The first playthrough crashed on the way back after collecting the artichoke, and I got stuck (could not move) once on the second playthrough.

It's a unique, entertaining little game, especially considering the team behind it. But as short as it is, with limited replayability, and the bugs I encountered, it's hard to recommend it at $5. Grab it on sale and enjoy the brief little jaunt.
Was this review helpful? Yes No Funny
5 of 7 people (71%) found this review helpful
Not Recommended
0.3 hrs on record
Posted: August 31, 2015
I was pretty interested when I saw this game on Kickstarter, but unfortunately it did not deliver. You are immediately thrown into the game without any knowledge of controls. I spent several minutes just trying to figure out what keys did things. When I did finally find the right button (something obscure like "J" to dig?), it did not take very long for me to get bored with the game.

I understand that the premise is digging things up with your shovel, but there are no designated places to dig, and one of the quests I actually tried had me digging up several kinds of apples for no reason until I finally found the right one.

The game is lacking in story, explanation, and things to do. It's like a 2D walking simulator, but with a shovel that you can use to dig for random things.

If you're going to buy it, wait until it goes on sale because it is not worth $5.

2/10
Was this review helpful? Yes No Funny
9 of 17 people (53%) found this review helpful
1 person found this review funny
Not Recommended
0.1 hrs on record
Posted: August 14, 2015
This game had little story, no introduction, and terrible controls. Looks cute, but don't be deceived.
Was this review helpful? Yes No Funny
6 of 14 people (43%) found this review helpful
1 person found this review funny
Not Recommended
0.5 hrs on record
Posted: August 12, 2015
Not full controller support. You still need keyboard to advance dialouge and you need it to exit the game. You also need a mouse to select items in inventory.
Was this review helpful? Yes No Funny
0 of 3 people (0%) found this review helpful
4 of 12 people (33%) found this review helpful
3 people found this review funny
Not Recommended
1.8 hrs on record
Posted: April 8
If "Katy t3h PeNgU1N oF d00m" made a video game, I imagine it might look something like this.
Was this review helpful? Yes No Funny