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Reviews by MathBrush

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View this member's reviews by tag: IF Comp 2015 Infocom Spring Thing 2016
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A Colder Light, by Jon Ingold

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
Excellent parser/choice hybrid about Inuits and magic, September 15, 2016
In this game, you play as a young Inuit native (I believe; it never says, but you live on the ice and eat seal meat). You can summon beings from the Stars by placing runes on the ground that describe them, two runes at a time.

This game uses a parser/choice hybrid, by having a variety of nouns at the bottom which, as you click them, provide verbs to act on them with, usually two or three verbs at a time.

This system took me a bit to get used to at first, but I ended up enjoying it quite a bit. The runes become an alphabet of sorts that, like the alphabet in Ingold's adaptation of Sorcery!, allows for a great deal of variety and difficulty in a parser hybrid.

The story was slow to start for me, but grew on me. I strongly recommend this game. It took me about 40 minutes to play.

It Is Pitch Black, by Caelyn Sandel
A fun short, creepy game about running out of light, September 10, 2016
In this game, you are trapped inside a small shop with a grue (a creature from the Zork series). Just any connection with Zork makes a game more silly, but that's not a drawback here.

You have to move through the darkness with limited resources. As you do, you find different sources of light and other surprises. You're just trying to survive.

I had to replay a couple of times to get it right. It has some nice ambient sounds and good use of images and backgrounds.

I really liked it, and recommend it.

Choices: And Their Souls Were Eaten, by Tin Man Games, Felicity Banks

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful:
Life and death and life through binary choices, September 2, 2016
Caveat: I was given a review copy of this game, but ended up playing the free public intro instead.

This game incorporates various multimedia effects including sounds, music, some animation and even apple watch interactivity, but I played it on android with the sound turned off.

So I'm just reviewing the graphics and story, and it's a good one. This is my favorite Fwlicity Banks game yet, perhaps because I just finished mistborn and I enjoyed the metal-themed magic vibe and the wilderness survival aspects.

In the free intro to the game, which by itself is quite long, you play as the unwilling holder of a special talent: "eating" souls. What that entails and its implications for you are slowly unraveled.

Your main nemesis at first is a ghastly creatute, a red eyed albino bear. The confrontations with the bear were exciting, and you get a lot of mileage out of the game before the pay/ad wall.

The visual styling is gorgeous. The choices were all binary, and the story 'felt' like the choices didn't matter at first, but I soon found that options that seemed unimportant led to dramatic results; the author must have spent a great deal of time working on the different threads to allow this level of choice.

As a final note, I've given this game 5 stars based on my judging criteria. I've reviewed several of Banks' games by her request, but I haven't been afraid to give less stars when appropriate. This game is polished, descriptive, gave me a real thrill of emotion, and made me want to play more, which are 4 of my 5 criteria. I didn't like the binary choices at first, but it fell into a rhythm that ended up working for me, which is my 5th star.

Four Seconds, by Jason Reigstad
A compelling science fiction mystery with spotty implementation, August 24, 2016
This game is sort of like Babel without beta testing. You play a psychic detective walking through a destroyed lab, and you have to relive a man's memories to determine what happened.

The memories are really interesting, and the general story is very good. However, as others have noted, you eventually reach a place where the implementation is completely spotty and the walkthrough is your only help.

Recommended, with a walkthrough, for fans of intense science fiction.

Hamlet -- The Text Adventure, by Robin Johnson
A puzzlefest mashup of several shakespeare plays, August 23, 2016
This game is written in Robin Johnson's own engine, one of the best home-brew parsers available. It is a Scott Adams-style puzzlefest, with smaller room descriptions, lots of places to explore, and 0-1 items in each location.

Some of the puzzles are quite hard; this game is for fans of old-school design.

The game mashes up several Shakespeare plays, primarily Hamlet, but also Othello, Macbeth, Richard III, the Henry IV/Falstaff plays, Romeo and Juliet, and so on

Overall, this is one of the best theatre-based games available, and one of the best old-school games.

The Island of Doctor Wooby, by Ryan Veeder
A small, cute game with dinosaurs. A bit frustrating, August 23, 2016
This game was entered in Pet Jam. You are on an island where most things are made of felt, including a wide variety of randomly generated dinosaurs.

There's not a lot to do; most of the items consists of 'flavor' items that allow you to have fun, rather than pursuing an overarching goal.

I was on mobile, and it was frustrating dealing with the long dinosaur names (which can be rewritten) and with the red herrings.

Map of Fahlstaff, by Ian Hinck

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
A well done location-based Twine game with few events and no end, August 23, 2016
This game is a luscious set-piece with nice graphics and infrequently changing links.

You wander around a city called Fahlstaff, absorbing local culture. Occasionally bizarre events will hapoen.

You make a choice at the beginning that determines the bizarre events. My choice led to some truly clever ideas.

The game seemed to have no ending.

Figaro, by Victor Gijsbers
A tiny experiment in tailoring the Marriage of Figaro to a player's choices, August 22, 2016
In this game, you are hiding to discover if your wife is cheating on you.

It's very short, with just a few options. The idea is that each choice changes the nature of the setting, including altering past events.

It's an intriguing idea, but at such a small level it is hard to see what it could turn out like. In many ways, Choicescript games do this (how did you get here? Etc. As part of their world building).

Contrition, by Porpentine
A keyword based surreal twine game, August 22, 2016
This twine game is inspired by Pacian's Weird City Interloper. In both games, you use keywords in different locations to advance the story.

In this game, you have a few locations, and an inventory. Both are dynamic. You move to a new area and use a new item. Being porpentine, the inventory includes things like emotions.

Overall, the mechanic was nice, and the vaguely futuristic surrealism worked for me. However the overall gameplay turned into repeatedly cycling through the inventory in every location, hoping for something to pop out. An interesting experiment

parasite, by Porpentine

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
An intense surreal/hallucinogenic experience, August 21, 2016
This game by Porpentine features excellent writing and good effects. It contains some strong profanity and features some violence towards transgender individuals from a sympathetic point of view.

You decide to sell part of yourself, a mental part, to make money. The process is disorienting and frightening, and it causes you a variety of mixed emotions.

I felt like the disjointed experiences lasted too long; Porpentine's other longish games tend to have larger 'chunks' of texts at a time, which is easier to handle. Other people may not have an issue with this extended disorientation.

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