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Reviews by Kake

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View this member's reviews by tag: * ** *** **** ***** Aaron Reed Adam Biltcliffe Adam Cadre Admiral Jota Alan DeNiro Alessandro Peretti Andrew Plotkin C. E. Forman Carl Muckenhoupt Christopher Huang Cody Sandifer Dan Schmidt Dan Shiovitz Dark Star David Cornelson David Dyte David Fisher didn't finish Emily Short Graeme Cree Gunther Schmidl half sick of shadows Iain Merrick IF Competition 2007 J. Robinson Wheeler Jeffrey MacArthur John Cater Jon Blask Joseph Grzesiak Juhana Leinonen Kalev Tait Liza Daly Matt Barringer Ola Sverre Bauge One-Room Game Competition 2007 One-Room Game Competition 2008 Paolo Maroncelli Peter Mattsson revgiblet Richard Otter Rob Noyes Robert Street Ryan Stevens Sam Barlow Sam Gordon Sara Brookside speed IF Stephen Bond Stephen Granade Steve Bernard Stuart Moore
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Taunting Donut, by Kalev Tait

3 of 4 people found the following review helpful:
Less fun than it could have been, November 28, 2008
by Kake (London, England)
Related reviews: ***, Kalev Tait
This is a very short, single-room game with two fairly easy puzzles. The puzzles are both quite fair, and reasonably well-clued. I did feel that there could have been a little more to the implementation, though; for example, although the pillow's description practically begs me to hug it, when I try "hug pillow" I just get "You can only do that to something animate". It might also have been fun if things like "taunt donut" had been implemented.

Flowers for Algernon, by Anonymous

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful:
Very short pun-style game, November 28, 2008
by Kake (London, England)
Related reviews: Adam Cadre, ***
This is a very short, one-room game. It's essentially the IF equivalent of a pun - even if you do manage to figure out the single puzzle, you'll end up groaning rather than laughing. If you like that sort of joke, you'll like this.

Escapade!, by Juhana Leinonen

5 of 6 people found the following review helpful:
Great potential let down by the implementation, November 25, 2008
by Kake (London, England)
Related reviews: ***, One-Room Game Competition 2008, Juhana Leinonen
All you have to do, as the bumbling sidekick of the gorgeous, muscular Captain McBrawn, is find the World President and warn him of an impending attack - but before you can even get started, you're captured by the Screaming Communists and dumped into a locked, barred room high up in a tower in a mediaeval castle. Unsurprisingly, your task is to get out - though this task isn't actually as simple or as trite as it might sound.

It took me a little while to get started on this one, mainly because of "guess the verb" problems - and these problems persisted throughout the game, making it harder, more frustrating, and less fun than it really needed to be. A little fleshing-out of the rather sparse descriptions of some of the items might have helped too.

The hint system also broke down at one point, giving me the same hint over and over again for a problem that I'd already solved, so I eventually had to resort to the walkthrough.

I didn't really enjoy this game, and that's basically down to the implementation. The constant "you can't do that" stuff made it really frustrating to play - so frustrating that I don't want to play it again to find the optional bits that I missed. This is a real shame; it could be so much better. I do hope the author makes a second release that addresses these issues, since there's a good game in here struggling to get out.

Pick Up the Phone Booth and Aisle, by David Dyte, Steve Bernard, Dan Shiovitz, Iain Merrick, Liza Daly, John Cater, Ola Sverre Bauge, J. Robinson Wheeler, Jon Blask, Dan Schmidt, Stephen Granade, Rob Noyes, and Emily Short

1 of 4 people found the following review helpful:
Not much to it, but it's funny enough, December 29, 2007
This game must have as many authors as it has unique responses (and I do wonder if that was the point?)

Anyway it made me laugh a couple of times, and it didn't annoy me, and that's good enough for three stars in my book. I don't think you need to play Aisle first; but if you like this game, you'll definitely like Aisle.

Urban Conflict, by Sam Gordon

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful:
A conversational game rather than a one-room game, December 23, 2007
by Kake (London, England)
Related reviews: Sam Gordon, ***, One-Room Game Competition 2007
Urban Conflict situates you in a bombed-out building in the middle of a war. You've sustained a serious injury, and your only companion in the building is sitting opposite you in possession of an assault rifle and definitely isn't on your side.

I didn't feel this was really a one-room game so much as a conversational game along the lines of (the obvious comparison) Galatea. I couldn't interact with anything in the room, and I couldn't figure out how to move around within it; I got as far as standing up and sitting down again, but I couldn't work out any way to move towards or away from the NPC.

I'm not a great fan of conversational games I didn't particularly enjoy Galatea either as they make me feel as though I'm expected to read the author's mind. I actually managed to spoil the power of this one's ending by stopping my line of questioning slightly too soon, moving on to other topics, and then accidentally triggering the ending somewhat incongruously.

It's worth playing, though, especially if you already know you like this kind of thing.

Marika the Offering, by revgiblet

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful:
Far from perfect, but enjoyable enough, December 23, 2007
by Kake (London, England)
Related reviews: revgiblet, ***, One-Room Game Competition 2007
The title kind of put me off this before I even started; it needs some punctuation, for one thing. The writing of the opening scene isn't great, either. Parts of it sound like bad goth poetry "The fireplace is as empty as my heart" and some of the descriptions are clumsy; why does the bed have "a blanket wrapped around it"?

The initial exposition ends strongly, though: "My remaining life can be measured in heartbeats. I must act!" This pulled me into the story and made me eager to get started.

And this game is worth playing. The story isn't particularly original, but the puzzles are reasonably fair and I did feel satisfaction when I finally managed to solve them all. It doesn't really have much replay value, but I quite enjoyed the two playthroughs that I needed to solve it. I would have preferred it if there had been some accommodation for alternative methods of solving the puzzles, even if it was just along the lines of letting me know why the object I was using was unsuitable (instead of just showing the default "you can't do that" response).

Having to type "story" to see the backstory was a bit odd. I'm still not sure if I liked that or not. The game is written from the first-person perspective, and the player character hasn't suffered any memory loss, so it seems odd that I-the-player have no idea what's going on at the start of the game and it's entirely possible to play through the game without ever checking the backstory.

There is a turn limit, but it has a sensible justification (albeit one hidden in the backstory).

I'm not too keen on the way the game infers quite a lot from my commands; for example, if I type in "look at <thing>", I don't expect the game to have the PC start rummaging about in it.

One problem (which may be related to the above criticism) is that there are at least two items in the game that show me an interesting and useful description the first time I look at them, but on subsequent examination give me only "I see nothing that will help me", which is clearly untrue. So it's worth keeping a transcript that you can refer back to.

The Puzzle Box, by Richard Otter

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful:
A fairly plotless series of logic puzzles, December 23, 2007
by Kake (London, England)
Related reviews: Richard Otter, ***, One-Room Game Competition 2007
This game really has no plot at all it's basically just a series of rather unvaried logic puzzles, the kind of thing you find in IQ tests. The ending was a slight let-down; it basically just stopped, which is a shame, because there were some reasonably effective attempts at building up atmosphere as I progressed through the puzzles. I didn't not enjoy the game, but I found it rather unsatisfying.

Trial-and-error seems to have been guarded against; you have to have seen your clue before you can input the puzzle's answer. The answers are randomised, too, so you can't just get a cheat sheet and plug in the answers.

I got stuck on one of the later puzzles, and because the description of the object I'd been using to solve the earlier puzzles had changed to "You see nothing special about <thing>", I thought the next clue would be elsewhere in the room. This was, in fact, a bug (and one which has now been reported to the author). I managed to get through it, though, since "hint" told me to examine things that were in the now-nondescript object, and sure enough this was where my clue was.

Couple of typos/spelling mistakes, nothing major. The game also let me strip naked without comment.

It's Easter, Peeps!, by Sara Brookside

0 of 2 people found the following review helpful:
Fairly lightweight, but nothing egregiously wrong with it, December 18, 2007
by Kake (London, England)
Related reviews: Sara Brookside, ***
This is a fairly lightweight, fairly light-hearted puzzle game. None of the puzzles are particularly difficult, so it's slightly annoying that the NPC calls out unsolicited hints from time to time. Some ambiguity problems, but only one typo that I spotted ("petit fors"). Admittedly this is explicitly a one-room game, but it still felt quite insubstantial to me.

You are a Chef!, by Dan Shiovitz

6 of 8 people found the following review helpful:
Very, very silly, November 26, 2007
by Kake (London, England)
Related reviews: Dan Shiovitz, ***, Speed IF
It's silly, it's fun, it has a monkey in it, and the goal is to make soup. What more could you want? (It's Speed IF, so don't expect it to be typo-free.) Effectively puzzleless.

Jane, by Joseph Grzesiak

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful:
A decent enough idea, but the execution just didn't work for me, November 25, 2007
by Kake (London, England)
Related reviews: Joseph Grzesiak, ***
Jane is a puzzleless, story-driven piece with multiple narrators. It takes maybe about 10 minutes to play.

The subject matter of this game is domestic violence (not a spoiler the author tells you this up-front); this makes it slightly tricky to criticise, since it feels a bit like criticising a charity for the wording of its mailshots. The author's heart is clearly in the right place, and the text certainly isn't badly written, but I never really felt drawn in to the story. It also didn't tell me anything I didn't already know.

I'd have liked to have seen a bit more individuality in the characters; they just felt like stereotypes to me. I think the message would have been more powerful if there had been something to the characters beyond their specific roles in this specific narrative.


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