Seeing the carnival in the distance, you were interested and decided to stop near Troggle Shoot. The owner of it, Dr. Quandary, proposed you to shoot at selected targets and to win a one of three dolls. In any case, either you won or did not, Dr. Quandary awarded you with one of the dolls based on your choice. But a victory only looks like a victory; your mind will be put in the doll's body and will be sent to the mysterious island, where the main gameplay begins.
As a doll, you'll wake up at the beach, where the bottle from the sea arrives. Reading the message from the bottle and the letter from near post stand, you're informed that you should collect certain items and brew them in a magical cauldron to prepare Fixer Elixir. Drinking it, you will return to your real form in the real world. Items will be given to you, when you complete certain puzzle or challenges. The puzzles are remakes of classic ones and vary from musical sequence repeating to Tangram and Tower of Hanoi. Different inhabitants of the secret island interact with you as well as the image of Dr. Quandary himself keeps an eye on you.
Three dolls represent the difficulty levels, which are kept in their names: B. Ginner (beginner), O.D. Nary (ordinary), D. Feecult (difficult). Difficulty is increased by the number of items in the puzzles, challenges, etc.
If you like puzzles, then this is the game for you. Starting as a relaxed visit to a carnival, you become acquainted with the ingenious Dr. Quandary (aka Dr. Q), the Quintessential Quizmaster, who offers you a free game of Toggle. The prize: one of three "very life-like" dolls, each presenting a different level of difficulty in the game you'll be playing. It's not long before you find out that whichever one you choose will actually become your body until the end of the game. After making your choice you are transported to Dr. Quandary's Island with the task to complete all his quizzes. Also, you will need to collect items you'll need for making the magic potion that will get you off the island and back into your own body.
This is the introduction to a very imaginative and interesting game. You wander around the island trying to solve the puzzles that you come upon. Finishing puzzles will grant you items for the magic potion. Mixing the potion is a puzzle in itself, since the recipe for the magic elixir is different depending on the level of difficulty, and the ingredients are described in a funny way. At the end you'll have more items than you need and you will have to figure out the exact combination.
The island is filled with a variety of puzzles. All of them are fun and interesting. Completion of the game will require various skills like logic, math, memory, speed and reflexes etc. Some puzzles are original, but most of them are based on older known games with a new design (Towers of Hanoi, Tangram etc). All in all, this game should sharpen different kinds of skills, while simultaneously providing an adequate dose of amusement. However, it can also be challenging and therefore is probably only suitable for kids older than 10.
The game can be played with a keyboard and mouse, but you can use just the mouse if you want. Everything is simplified and comes down to a mouse click. At the top of the screen there are drop-down menus where you can turn the sound ON/OFF, save and load (loading is possible only at the beginning of the game), run away (quit the current puzzle) etc. Also there are options to look at the island map and your inventory (hotkeys F5 and F6). There is also no way to get stuck in the game, unless you can't beat a certain puzzle that is. Graphics are very cute although a little rough and there are various short tunes to fit the atmosphere.
This game is recommended mostly for teenagers. Play it if you want to test yourself with different kinds of puzzles in one game. If you think that you are "too grown up" to play a "kids game" like this one, try to get off the island of Dr. Quandary on the difficult level, and you will be surprised.
It works in Windows XP without any sound. It will also work flawlessly with VDMSound, and should work fine with DOSBox too, but it may require some toggling.
One of the quirkiest edutainment titles ever made, The Secret Island of Dr. Quandary is a fun educational adventure game for kids ages 8 and up. The plot is a wacky combination of science and superstition: while playing a carnival game at a mysterious circus, you are sucked into a carnival doll by the evil Dr. Quandary. To escape the toy's body, you must beat Dr. Quandary at his own game by solving the myriad of puzzles on his island.
Gameplay is similar to Sierra's classic Castle of Dr. Brain: inventory-based adventure game with educational bent to most puzzles. The quality of the puzzles varies widely, though-- some, such as Acid Test, purely are arcade mini-games with very little "education" content, while others (such as "programming" a frog to get through a gate, and algebra-related puzzls) are very well implemented. The game as a whole is arguably a bit inferior to Museum Madness, MECC's other adventure game for kids, but the photorealistic backgrounds and wide variety of puzzles should keep kids entertained for days on end. Ironically, the funny witty and sarcastic dialogue had to be toned down for the school version of this game :) Recommended.
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