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Reviews by Robin Johnson

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1-8 of 8


Roberta Williams Eats a Sandwich, by Bitter Karella

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful:
Does what it means to do, May 2, 2017
by Robin Johnson (Edinburgh, Scotland)
This is a funny parody of convoluted puzzle adventures, in which you have to go through bizarre plots in order to make a sandwich, only to be killed arbitrarily by dwarfs demanding you answer wordplay puzzles and so on. It has a similar feeling to the ClickHole games.

Inside the Facility, by Arthur DiBianca

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful:
Clever, funny, unashamed puzzler with reduced parser, November 16, 2016
by Robin Johnson (Edinburgh, Scotland)
The only commands this game accepts are NORTH, EAST, SOUTH, WEST, WAIT, LOOK and STATUS, with actions like picking things up and giving them to NPCs triggered automatically. This is surprisingly effective, and the game contains a variety of puzzles of different types: lock and key, darkness, bribery, manipulate the NPC, figure out the machine, navigation.

I was initially put off by the request to print off a map to fill in as you go, but found it added to the fun, like solving a crossword, and there are certainly puzzles that would have been both harder and less enjoyable without it.

The author knows how to use brevity of writing to good effect with such a large map, longer descriptions would have made the game more tiring. But they managed to squeeze every drop of clarity and characterisation out of the one-sentence descriptions. Some characters made me laugh or feel sorry for them, and some I took an instant dislike to.

Sisyphus, by Theo Koutz

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
Doesn't quite work, May 19, 2016
by Robin Johnson (Edinburgh, Scotland)
A one-room, unwinnable joke game. With a few more easter eggs and some typos ironed out, there could be an amusing small game here, but it feels too much like the joke's on you for playing it.

Pirate Adventure, by Scott Adams and Alexis Adams

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
Best Scott Adams game, April 28, 2016
by Robin Johnson (Edinburgh, Scotland)
This is the best of the Adams adventures, and worth playing to see what can be done under extremely constrained writing and programming conditions. The fact that the setting and characters are hackneyed actually works in its favour combined with the ultra-tersed descriptions: if you spend three paragraphs describing an eye-patched, hook-handed, wooden-legged scurvy buccaneer, you're just indulging in cliche, but if all you have space for is "You're on a desert island. There is a pirate here", the fact that those things already exist in full colour in the player's mind makes it a much more vivid experience.

The Golden Voyage, by Scott Adams and William Demas
Good example of bad design, April 27, 2016
by Robin Johnson (Edinburgh, Scotland)
Even for a Scott Adams game, unwarned deathtraps and unwinnable states crop up almost everywhere in this game. Most new players will die within a few moves by picking up an item and having their throat slit by a jealous merchant (with no indication that the item even belonged to the merchant.) Still it has some fun to it - Adams' trick of making the familiarity of the setting and the sparsity of the prose work together - and a nice early example of a pilotable vehicle, the sailing ship.

The Veeder, by Christopher Brent

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful:
Fun for Ryan Veeders and non-Ryan-Veeders alike, March 18, 2016
by Robin Johnson (Edinburgh, Scotland)
Very well written, atmospheric short story about a weird ritual and a harrowing underworld. It gives the impression of having been made specifically for Ryan Veeder (which was the brief of the RV Expo, after all) but, as someone who is not Ryan Veeder, I enjoyed it too.

Cheesed Off!, by Hulk Handsome
Cheese and puns, March 16, 2016
by Robin Johnson (Edinburgh, Scotland)
If you like cheese and puns, you will like this game. It is a series of fairly simple puzzles involving (some rather contrived) cheese homonyms. Just missing a few classics - for example, you have Mascarpone, but you don't get the chance to hide a horse behind it.

Legion, by Jason Devlin
Great story exploration, March 10, 2016
by Robin Johnson (Edinburgh, Scotland)
At the beginning of this game, I didn't know what was going on at all. Having completed it, I'm still not sure. And somehow, this is the coolest thing about it. You learn bits and pieces as you go along: for the first few moves, all you understand is that you're in danger and you have to hide, then when you explore a little, you come to understand where your enemy is and that you have to attack it, then - when the main NPC gets involved - the nature of the enemy becomes clearer, and so on. I very much got the feeling that my understanding as the player was progressing at the same rate as the player character's (characters'?) - including the fact that I still don't understand exactly what the PC is (are?) (a swarm of microbes? A planetary consciousness? Pratchett-esque Small Gods? Nature itself?) This is made all the better by the fact that the game never tries to spell out the answers to these things.

One of the first things I did when I realised that the PC could move through solid objects was to see what happened if I kept going DOWN - I was pleased to see that the mantle, core, and far side of the planet were all implemented. Details like this make me happy.


1-8 of 8