You have one (1) day. One is the number of days you have, and the number of days you have is one. You shall not have two days. One day to do what, you ask? Well, actually, you've got to find that out yourself. You've been knocked on the head and placed into a prison cell, and there's some kind of coronation going on in a little less than 24 hours. Maybe you should just point-and-click around and see if you can discover what's going on. Oh, you've died? Well, never mind. You only have one day, but you can have it over and over again as much as you like until you solve the various puzzles. It's a messy medieval groundhog day in Cellar Door Games new adventure game, I Have 1 Day.
Use your mouse to interact with the game. Click through dialogue and click on objects to interact with them or pick them up and add them to your inventory. You can use inventory items on other inventory items or on objects in the scene. In the lower right, you'll see two important buttons. One is the clock showing what hour you are at in the day. (You have 1 day, remember, so don't fritter it away.) To the left of that is your logbook. You'll keep notes there of what you did throughout the day. You can rewind to the beginning or end of a previous hour by clicking on the hour at the top of a page. Beneath the logbook is the controls for sound and the menu button. The sound controls are actually game-important, though I can't explain further without spoilers.
Your first priority is going to be figuring out who you are, why you are where you are, and what to do about it. Then you need to figure out what you need to get in order to do it, and finally, you have to figure out how to get it all done in the time period you have. The best ending requires absolutely perfect performance from start to finish with no wasted time. There is also a hilarious "just missed it" ending if you manage to right the major wrong but not in time to stop the villain from putting part of the evil plan into motion. All other endings are simply short descriptions of your death.
Analysis: The rhythm of the game, in terms of requiring players to use trial and error to collect information and make a plan that fits stringent time limits, is reminiscent of interactive fiction classic Varicella, only in a much briefer and more casual experience. Few people have the patience and note-taking skills to solve Varicella completely independently. I Have 1 Day is much easier to figure out, and the ability to rewind so precisely lessens the frustrations of mistakes.
Only one puzzle is what I consider unfair, in that it requires the player to do something that breaks the fourth wall in a way that I would have never thought to do on my own. I can't see many gamers solving that one on their own without doing the required step by coincidence. Other puzzles can be tricky but make logical sense, at least in hindsight. When in doubt, the adventure gamer standby of "click on everything and rub everything on everything" is your best friend. It will occasionally kill you, but usually your death reveals information to you, so messing up in this game is all part of the learning process.
The game has a lot of charm, from its super chunky pixel graphics (I especially love the way the wizards look when they laugh) to its writing, which is frequently gently self-mocking. I actually liked the "almost" ending the best, because of the forlorn/hilarious pictures that accompany the credits. Cheer up, almost ending! You may have one day, but you can have it again.