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Reviews by MathBrush

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View this member's reviews by tag: 15-30 minutes 2-10 hours about 1 hour about 2 hours IF Comp 2015 Infocom less than 15 minutes more than 10 hours Spring Thing 2016
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Hansel et Gretel - La Revanche, by Corax

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
More combat innovation from Corax. A long battle game, January 17, 2018
by MathBrush
Related reviews: 2-10 hours
After seeing several gritty fantasy choice RPGs this last IFComp that were just okay, it's great to see a complicated and balanced combat system where you have to make real choices.

In this game, you take the role of Hansel and Gretel, in a more modern setting, as they track down and kill sorceresses one at a time. Over several chapters, you have to solve difficult puzzles in an exploration segment (which also unlocks 'fragments' or powers you can activate in later chapters), followed by one or more combat segments.

Combat has a relative positioning system where enemies are different steps in front or behind you. You can turn around, advance, use weapons of different ranges and effectiveness, make use of cover, focus and dodge, etc.

It's of similar complexity to Kerkerkruip. It's written using Vorple, so that helps the complexity, but it prohibits saving. The author has found a clever way past this using a password system, which transported me to the 90's and my time playing Willow and Punch-Out! on the NES.

It was very long; the challenge of the puzzles, complex combat, and playing in a non-native language made me take 2 hours for the first 5 chapters, and I don't have time to finish it right now, but a look through the walkthrough shows that it has a complex plot. This is a high-quality game.

L'exil, by Anonyme

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
A fairly long fantasy CYOA game in Inform 6 with vivid characters, January 15, 2018
by MathBrush
Related reviews: about 1 hour
This French game is in a CYOA format. Itís an adventure story, almost novella length, set on a fantasy world. It has a tone that is lighter and appropriate for young adult and middle school readers. In fact, it reminded me of Norbezís IFComp game If You Squint it Looks Like Christmas in its tone, genre, length, and choice structure (as a point of reference for ifcomp players).

I liked the story overall, even sharing parts of it with my wife. Itís a heartwarming and cheerful story, with vivid characters and moments of excitement.

The choice structure wasnít what Iím used to; many of the choices were ďdo something awesome or leaveĒ. I never tried leaving, because I wanted to see what would happen. Eventually, I become somewhat paranoid that the leaving choices were important, so it gave more weight to my decisions.

I would give it 4 stars if it had a save system. I couldnít find one, and this is very lengthy.

Stand Down, by verityvirtue

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
A short, meditative Twine game about a dual-culture paramedic , January 13, 2018
by MathBrush
Related reviews: less than 15 minutes
This Twine game is intentionally short and linear, but it's not quite as linear as it advertises; basically, you are unwinding after a long day, and you get to pick what order to unwind in.

You seem to be a volunteer for a hospital, as well as a student. Actions like taking off your boots or untying your hair trigger memories from earlier in the day.

I found it fascinating as a glimpse into another, medical world, as well as portraying a character who seems to be a minority in their current situation.

A Bathroom Myth, by Anya Johanna DeNiro

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
A current issue repainted in a fantasy world in Twine, January 12, 2018
by MathBrush
Related reviews: 15-30 minutes
This game was inspired by the debates in America surrounding the law passed in North Carolina restricting transgender individuals from using bathrooms besides those of their biological gender.

This game isn't really an allegory, as exactly the same things are happening in this world as in ours. Rather, it reframes the discussion using fantasy techniques to give events a greater emotional impact.

I played through one branch to the end, and rewound a bit to get three different endings. The Twine styling and coding was beautiful, with links represented by +'s for links that furthered the study and *'s used for asides.

It took less than 25 minutes for me. The interactivity was interesting, because it spells out the consequences of your choices in an in-game way.

Fans of DeNiro's other works or of topical commentary will appreciate this game.

The Pyxis Memo: On Resurrecting the Free Web, by Lyle Skains
A post-apocalyptic take on current American politics, January 12, 2018
by MathBrush
Related reviews: about 2 hours
This is an ePub game with hyperlinks. It consists of a series of articles with footnotes and cross references.

The idea is that a viral outbreak has caused the collapse of America, combined with Trumpís actions. As you dig deeper, though you find a greater truth.

Itís coever, but the chosen format is slow paced and sometimes dull in the name of realism, like when it had a largely standard ten page blank medical form. Many critical moments are hidden in transcripts emulating Reddit and 4chan, and the author took painstaking care to recreate the racism, homophobia and misogyny of these forums. This didnít really suit me.

This was a creative format, and represents a great deal of work. The writing is detailed and feels authentic.

Alicio en la Kurioza Kongreso, by Ariel Bonkorpa

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
An educational esperanto adventure in 5 chapters of Twine, January 11, 2018
by MathBrush
Related reviews: about 1 hour
This game is, it seems, written in Esperanto. I thought it was Portuguese at first, but the game itself corrected me.

You are Alice, and, I believe, you are headed to an Esperanto-speaking conference, where you meet someone who tells you about Esperanto. I learned that Esperanto has between 100,000 and 1,000,000 speakers. Given that the number of Twine fans is probably somewhere in that range, too, and the intersection is fairly low, I don't think many people will be able to complete this game.

I only got through the first third of the first chapter. Looking through the code, it seems like there is a compelling fantasy element in the middle.

This is an intriguing game, and a great amount of work.

All Hail The King!, by Luke Skytrekker
An amusing little medieval/goofy farce, December 17, 2017
by MathBrush
Related reviews: less than 15 minutes
I have to give a caveat about my score first; I think this game is really around a 5 out of 10 on the IFComp scale; it's short, silly, self-conscious. But, it satisfies all of my 5 star criteria:

1. Polished: I didn't encounter any errors, and the writing was consistent, and even the plain twine styling seemed to fit the story.
2. Descriptive: The game has a nice voice and inventive language (I chuckled at the word turdburglar, especially because I misread it at first).
3. Interactivity: The game presented me with exactly the kind of options I wanted at several points in the game. It was actually very effective at presenting options that made me go 'Yes! This is exactly what I want to do'.
4. Emotion. I smiled a lot.
5. Would I play it again? Yes, I'm interested in exploring the mechanics.

So this is technically a 5, but on the 'how much will the average IF player like it' scale, I'd give it a 2-3.

Off the Trolley, by Krisztian Kaldi
An intriguing slice of life game with troubled implementation, December 4, 2017
by MathBrush
Related reviews: 15-30 minutes
This game has a great premise: you are a trolley driver on a monotonous route who has a plan which is only slowly revealed to the player.

This has all sorts of potential, and the game throws in some interesting characters and narrative twists.

But it has two main issues: one is a lack of synonyms and other implementation errors; and the other is a lack of in-game guidance.

Other than that, I found it a pleasant game, with a surprising ending.

All Visitors Welcome, by Bitter Karella
A creepy but buggy tale about a state park , December 3, 2017
by MathBrush
Related reviews: about 1 hour
This quest game has refreshingly original storybuilding. It includes a big pamphlet you can read which does a good job of displaying a 'descent into madness', although I think it could have done better if it left a bit more mystery in the last few pages.

The game has a layout (story-wise) similar to Karella's earlier Night House. You are alone in a building, and something is outside, and you have to figure out what it wants.

I was unable to complete this during Ectocomp. Afterwards, some people commented on intfiction with the solution.

Overall, this was a positive experience once I knew what to do.

Cryptozookeeper, by Robb Sherwin
A massive game with a modern setting, battling monsters and humor, December 3, 2017
by MathBrush
Related reviews: 2-10 hours
Cryptozookeeper is an XYZZY Award winner, and is one of the biggest games out there in terms of content, especially in terms of NPC content.

You play as a character who is sucked into a world where you can blend together DNA and create new monsters, who then fight each other in a pokemon-like system.

The system takes center stage story-wise, but not mechanically. The game is structured in a series of 'episodes', each of which results in new DNA for your devices.

The game has a ton of characters, many of whom constantly follow you around and talk and joke.

The implementation is selective; some parts are extremely detailed, while many synonyms and scenery descriptions are omitted.

This game is truly monumental. It also has a great deal of profanity and suggestive language.


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