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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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The Relief of Impact, by Ghoulnoise

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
A media-heavy short terror story about sleep paralysis, March 16, 2018
by MathBrush
Related reviews: 15-30 minutes
This story uses media in unusually good ways. It has audio, graphics, animation and text effects.

The game is creepy on two levels. On the first level, it has overtly 'horror'-type text, almost over-the-top. On the second level, it serves to illustrate what something experiencing sleep paralysis could encounter, and I found that much more disturbing.

The story had a narrative twist that I found lessened my enjoyment of it as a game, but heightened my appreciation of it as a piece of art or a means of communicating thoughts. Because I think the artist intended it more as a story or art, I've considered it as such and given it 5 stars

Uses slow text, but in an appropriate way. I usually hate slow text, but it makes sense here. The whole piece is well-considered and designed as a whole.

Fox, Fowl and Feed, by Chris Conroy

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
A tricky take on the classic logic problem, March 8, 2018
by MathBrush
Related reviews: 15-30 minutes
I expected this game to just be a straightforward implementation of the classic logic puzzles (involving getting a fox, a duck, and some grain across a river. Other versions have a wolf, a goat, and some cabbage, and so on).

However, the author assumes that everyone already knows this puzzle. Instead, each step of the classic solution is hampered by a different difficulty.

I felt that most of the solutions were of the moon logic variety, or like late Sierra point and click games. Also, the implementation was at times spotty with the rope, which is a notoriously difficult thing to code.

Polendina, by Christopher Lewis

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
An old, short IFComp game about science fiction, amnesia, and families, March 8, 2018
by MathBrush
Related reviews: 15-30 minutes
This is a fairly short science fiction game with 5 or 6 puzzles.

As the other reviewer noted, it was under implemented, with several locations having no description at all. There were other things that were strangely over implemented, such as a certain action in the first room having more than a dozen responses.

The idea was clever, overall, but the game has a real penchant for attacking the character with strong profanity and insulting many things that you do. It has a narrative purpose, but it seems like the sort of thing a young author thinks is intense and meaningful before they begin to get more experience.

I would have given 2 stars, but the puzzle bits were satisfying, so I gave it 3.

Her Majesty's Trolley Problem, by Buster Hudson

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
An amusing and odd fantasy game involving a series of trolley problems, February 26, 2018
by MathBrush
Related reviews: less than 15 minutes
This game is set in a fantastical alternate world with animate skeletons and talking pigs.

Supernatural trolleys and trolley lines connect different parts of the world together, and you are a harpooner on one such trolley.

Your task is to be confronted with several situations where the good of one is pitted against the good of many and you have to make a choice. This is the classical trolley problem, and also, in this game, a literal trolley problem as you decide who to run over.

There is also a side mystery uncovered by Club Floyd but which I was not aware of.

Guttersnipe: Carnival of Regrets, by Bitter Karella
A difficult and sprawling dark fantasy/comedy circus game, February 26, 2018
by MathBrush
Related reviews: 2-10 hours
I played this Guttersnipe game after I played the IFComp 2017 one.

This is a big Quest game. You play as a ragamuffin urchin who is trying to be the number one urchin of all time. The game uses a variety of humorous dialects to show character, including yours.

You enter a dark circus, and have to discover its secrets. This is a big game with a big map, with 1-2 puzzles per room. Generally, an item found in one room will solve one puzzle somewhere else.

I liked this game, and would have given it 4 stars, but I found it a bit difficult to complete, and I abandoned it partway through. If it had a complete walkthrough, I would probably give it 4 stars.

This author has a number of other games that are big and well-received, including Night House and the other Guttersnipe game.

Dolores and the Cave, by Magda Knight
A branching horror story in a cave with a challenging puzzle, February 26, 2018
by MathBrush
Related reviews: less than 15 minutes
This was an interesting game.

You find yourself in a cave in a branching sort of exploration/conversation.

On my first play through, I ended it fairly quickly, and I wasn't too impressed. It seemed like a faintly cheesy sort of Halloween story.

But on my second play through, I encountered much more text, and the game became much more developed, with compelling issues and questions together with a nice puzzle.

Overall, I recommend it for fans of horror.

Ex Materia, by Juhana Leinonen
A smooth, short sci-fi/AI game with fancy text effects, February 5, 2018
by MathBrush
Related reviews: less than 15 minutes
This game, similar to Leinonen's earlier Ex Nihilo, is a short text-effects-heavy game about a powerful entity questioning its own existence.

This time, though, the game is linked to all of Wikipedia, and debates the worth of existence of an advanced system. Overall, though, like Ex Nihilo, this game feels like a demo for advanced graphics in a text setting. This isn't bad, but the game is very short.

Definitely worth checking out!

Half-Life 3 Confirmed, by Anssi Räisänen
A chain of disconnected, silly events, February 5, 2018
by MathBrush
Related reviews: 15-30 minutes
This game is a sequence of surreal puzzles. You've woken up in a world where Half-Life 3 has been confirmed, and this is a clear indicator that reality has been warped.

The setting is goofy and charming, but this quick game doesn't have the author's usual polish and guidance. Puzzles, including the very first puzzle, rely on some very unusual logic, making the game more difficult in somewhat unfair ways.

The character descriptions were good, though.

Finish your Foe!, by Oliver Frank
A fantasy one-move game about combat with an ancient vampire, February 3, 2018
by MathBrush
Related reviews: less than 15 minutes
This game was part of the New Year's minicomp. I was pleased to see that it's a puzzly one-move game, and that the formatting was done well.

The setting is fairly standard fantasy, but it helps establish the setting quickly. You are a sort of paladin facing a 'Red Queen' vampire.

I'm very much into D&D inspired games, and one-move games. But some very basic things were not implemented, like 'pray' (when you're a paladin and the game mentions your orisons). But enough was implemented to be fun.

The Lurking Horror II: The Lurkening, by Ryan Veeder

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful:
A try-die-repeat game with oddball knowledge-based puzzles, January 26, 2018
by MathBrush
Related reviews: 15-30 minutes
The original Lurking Horror was one of my favorite Infocom games, so I was interested in seeing Veeder's take on it.

This game is closer to Captain Verdeterre's Plunder than to any of Ryan's other games. Like Verdeterre, this game has a tight timer that sends you to your death, and you must play over and over to beat it.

This game exploits that structure for the story in amusing ways, though. You pick up in G.U.E. Tech (from Lurking Horror, itself inspired by M.I.T.), stuck in a time loop caused by the awakening of an Elder God. You are very aware of your previous iterations.

Progress is similar to Hadean Lands, in that you progress by gaining knowledge that your later iterations use. But instead of being tracked in-game, the knowledge is stored in password-like spells. The spell names include mangled versions of the author's name and a scrambled name of a D&D slime demon.

I enjoyed this game quite a bit; the solutions were generally very reasonable, and there was a nice 'power boost' or two near the middle of the game, with the end requiring you to tie everything together. I got impatient with one puzzle in the middle, when I had half a dozen unused spells and the same number of unsolved rooms and I couldn't figure out which ones went together. I decompiled to get past that stage, and didn't have any trouble after that.

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