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Ratings and Reviews by verityvirtue

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View this member's reviews by tag: 2018 choleric ECTOCOMP ECTOCOMP 2016 IFComp 2015 IFComp 2016 IFComp 2017 Introcomp Ludum Dare melancholic melancholy parser phlegmatic Ren'Py sanguine Spring Thing 2015 Spring Thing 2016 sub-Q Tiny Utopias
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REALLY, IF / REALLY, ALWAYS, by Dawn Sueoka
A textual equivalent of the uncanny valley, April 17, 2018
by verityvirtue (London)
Related reviews: phlegmatic
This game is described as an exercise in human-mediated computer-computer interaction - based on a chat programme meant to simulate a psychotherapist.

It’s… strange. This game has the disjointed feel of a b minus seven work. Common phrases twisted into unfamiliar shapes give the narrative not much more than a direction, but not any material details. This is the uncanny valley of natural language, and Really If, Really Always delights in it.

Of all the works focusing on singularity - this is one of the most polished… and I wonder what all these works say about our vision of artificial intelligence.

The Imposter, by Enrique Henestroza Anguiano
A short vignette of a man, bereft, wandering in Paris. , April 17, 2018
by verityvirtue (London)
Related reviews: melancholic
The Imposter uses Windrift’s mutable text to create a rhythm, and the prose flows with an easy rhythm. The distortion of the everyday added to the feeling of disorientation pervasive throughout this piece. The Imposter is dynamic fiction, and of a kind particularly well-suited to Windrift - a pleasure to read.

If you enjoyed this, you might like Patrick, by michael lutz.

Confessions of an NPC, by Charles Hans Huang

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful:
The people behind fantasy adventures, April 8, 2018
by verityvirtue (London)
Related reviews: melancholic
This game is split into several vignettes of the player-character talking with several characters. These are often the peripheral roles in your classical fantasy adventure story: the people that make the story possible, but who rarely get any other role in the story. Characters like the mother of a villain, speculating what made him become that way; or a commoner, who’s put his heroic days behind him.

Some might find this game preachy. It’s monologue-heavy and quite topical - some of the topics it mentions have been at the forefront of the public mind in recent months, and appropriate content warnings are provided at the start of each vignette. Given that the player must read through at least five of the initial six vignettes to progress, though, it seems a little contradictory though.

A point of interest - each vignette ends with a binary value judgment, and you must explain yourself. It could either be gimmicky or thought-provoking, depending on how you view it.

Confessions is very linear, with a mixed bag of a setting - there are hexes and monarchies, mechas and chatrooms. Although there are several points which could put off a player looking for polished games, Confessions does still take a slightly unusual approach to fantasy adventure.

Best Gopher Ever, by Arthur DiBianca

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful:
Do a good deed for fun and (a small) profit!, April 8, 2018
by verityvirtue (London)
Related reviews: sanguine, 2018
This is a pared-down parser game with an exceedingly straightforward premise - help the animals in the town for a small profit! The setting is pastel-colour simple, with friendly NPCs; the puzzles, relatively straightforward retrieval tasks.

This game has several player-friendly features which fans may be familiar with from DiBianca’s previous work: an ASCII map and a running summary of your progress.

Overall, an enjoyable, light game - possibly one you could play with a friend. If anything, possibly even a little frothy. If you liked this, you might like Foo Foo. Same talking-animal setting, but playing on noir tropes, and with crime at its heart.

AETERNAL, by massivebittrip

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
A simple Twine exploration of ennui, April 2, 2018
by verityvirtue (London)
Related reviews: phlegmatic
As you drift through time-space, you see sights that no mortal would ever imagine... yet, it's not enough. As a god-like being, you can go out to the depths of the universe, travel wherever you like, eat every kind of food, and yet you're bored.

Aeternal's prose is slightly purple (as is the background), and its circuitous structure drives home its point. It’s a good setup and could have been an interesting setting, were there - for lack of a better term - more human interest. Something to make the player curious. Something to make the player care.

This game branches prolifically, with more content that it might seem, but it never really leads to anything concrete, and it feels like the game could go on forever, and ever, unto eternity…

The Mayor and the Machine, by J. Marie

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
A meta, self-aware not-quite parody, April 2, 2018
by verityvirtue (London)
Related reviews: sanguine
[Time to completion: 15-20 mins]

You are the mayor of the hilariously named Buttsville and, as you deal with the various problems (like the city breaking down around you), there’s a mysterious tool, left to you by your predecessor. A button that allows direct contact to… the Authority. How much will you rely on that omniscient, omnipotent force?

For such a jokey setup, most of the game is quite earnest in following through all the awful things that can happen to a city.

One playthrough is relatively short, but with frequent branching and checkpoints, it’s quite replayable.

Doki Doki Literature Club, by Team Salvato
verityvirtue's Rating:

Map, by Ade McT

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful:
Space as metaphor, April 1, 2018
by verityvirtue (London)
Related reviews: melancholic
[Time to completion: >1 hour]

[Content warnings for mentions of abortion, child death]

In Map, you play a fed-up housewife in a subtly mutating house. Space, here, is used to reveal memories. As the reader learns more about the PC, the more the house expands to accommodate that, and each new room offers a chance at atonement. Just as space moves non-linearly, time creeps strangely. If you know Pratchett’s metaphor of the Trousers of Time, or think of decision-making as creating forks in a timeline - it’s very much like that. Just as the PC can enter new rooms in the house,

The themes in this game reminded me of Sara Dee’s Tough Beans, or, a more recent example, Cat Manning’s Honeysuckle. All of these feature female protagonists who have been dutiful and responsible doing what was expected of them until they were all but forgotten, until some catalytic event drives them to change.

In Map, the protagonist is much less involved, on the micro level. The rooms you discover let the player relive key decision-making moments in the PC’s life, but once you enter a moment, you can simply wait for it to get to the only choice you have: a binary yes/no choice. Without this, though, the game might have swollen to an unmanageable size, so the limited agency is more strategy than anything else, and on a conceptual level, this does work - how many times have you wondered what would have happened if you’d made a different decision?

The scope of this game is narrow and deep, delving into the emotions underpinning life-changing moments and distilling these moments into a fork in a very personal timeline. Some bits went way over my head (the rubber plant, for instance), but overall it was an ambitious, thoughtful piece.

Foo Foo, by Buster Hudson

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
Sharp-witted noir under a fluffy covering, March 30, 2018
by verityvirtue (London)
Related reviews: sanguine
If you like Jasper Fforde’s Jack Sprat series, a novel series giving a noir spin to nursery rhymes, you’ll probably enjoy this. All the field mice have been leaving town; someone’s been bopping heads - and it’s up to you, Fairy Detective, to find out why.

Hudson’s writing is extremely readable, and while the characters may be talking fluffy animals, there is sharpness underneath. The forces working in the town are the familiar push and pull of racism and the search for better opportunities, anthropomorphism or not.

Foo Foo is directed enough that I could figure most things out with just a little guidance and some in-game hints. Overall a well-written murder mystery, with an intriguing setting that I enjoyed.

Accuse, by David A. Wheeler

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful:
A tiny logic puzzle in Inform, March 25, 2018
by verityvirtue (London)
Related reviews: sanguine
A short, minimal puzzle parser game, with a similar concept to Clue, in which you have to figure out the location of a murderer, the weapon used and the murderer. As a slight complication, you can’t use the same element (location, weapon or murderer) in consecutive accusations.

There are some self-referencing Easter egg-style props, and characters that sound like they could be condiments on a fried egg, but the game is basically that. If you’re used to this kind of game, one playthrough could take about 5 minutes. A little rough around the edges, but it’s a bit like one of those little plastic toys you can fidget with.


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