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Reviews by MathBrush

10+ hours

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A Bunch of Keys, by Mike Gerwat
A massive game of intense difficulty, April 11, 2018
by MathBrush
Related reviews: 10+ hours
This game is the third by Mike Gerwat, after Hill 160 and Escape from Terra.

This is in the top tier of long parser games if played without a walkthrough. You play a version of the author, a former piano tuner who was born blind and is now deaf and tuned pianos for famous bands. You now go back through time to college and other places.

The gameplay length is increased by the difficulty. Some important room descriptions are only printed once. If you didn't see it the first time, you'll never see it again. Seemingly minor actions lead to game over's hundreds of moves later. Searching the code, there are 542 instances of the phrase "GAME OVER!", ranging from leaving the taps on when exiting the shower to using shoddy condoms.

The walkthrough is not completely accurate, either, leading to more random deaths. Random deaths cannot be undone, meaning that you must save constantly.

The game is split into four sections, the first and last of which have alternate paths. I was unable to complete the first section with either path, but I read through much of the game in the decompiled text strings.

I'm giving it three stars because it is descriptive, it is reasonably polished, and it seems to communicate the emotional feeling that the author was going for when adding in all of the pitfalls.

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