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Reviews by MathBrush

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Recursion., by Adrian Belmes
Love and pain in an endless world, April 18, 2018
by MathBrush
Related reviews: 15-30 minutes
I love reading creepy stories and sci-fi stories, and one subgenre of both of those that I like is the time loop story. While such stories can be played just as a puzzler (get this sequence right to fix the machine, like Fingertips:Fingertips), I especially appreciate the ones that focus on human thought and feeling.

This game is well-written and focuses on character and depth. It is, as far as I can tell, completely linear (or completely cyclical, I guess I could say). It's like an endless roundabout with occasional exits that lead to the same roundabout. But it does have an overall narrative arc.

It contains some dark themes, and isn't really appropriate for children, I would say. I found it meaningful and well-done.

This uses slow text, which I usually dislike but found appropriate here (and not too slow). It also used music which I didn't listen to.

The Ngah Angah School of Forbidden Wisdom, by Anssi Räisänen

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
A short and difficult eastern monastery game, April 6, 2018
by MathBrush
Related reviews: 15-30 minutes
I'm a fan of Anssi Raisanen's games, and this one in particular was interesting, but it lacked a few key features that other games from this author have.

It had one particularly clever puzzle involving an extra image included with the game, one maddening guess-the-verb puzzle, and one short and sweet puzzle. Overall, it was shorter than most Raisanen games, and with somewhat less good implementation.

But if you're playing through the author's whole collection, I wouldn't skip out.

Beam, by Madrone Eddy
A short, lonely Quest game in a futuristic setting, April 6, 2018
by MathBrush
Related reviews: 15-30 minutes
This is an odd little game with some major implementation problems.

You start out in a room with a tree and a mysterious force. Exiting this room proved too difficult for many IFComp reviewers in 2006. Evidently, it requires an action that is explicity denied by the GUI. This seems to be an oversight, and not a puzzle.

The rest of the game involves exploring a series of generic rooms. There is a minimal walkthrough, but it seems to leave out several interesting portions of the game. I was intrigued, but unable to discover more than a few hidden set pieces.

Surface, by Geoff Moore

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful:
A compelling twine game with two worlds, one Porpentine-esque, April 2, 2018
by MathBrush
Related reviews: 15-30 minutes
This is a surprisingly good Twine game from Spring Thing a few years back. I say surprisingly, because I never hear anyone talk about it.

It uses graphics and background colors to distinguish between two different worlds: one, a porpentine-like world with beings of slime and technology, and the other the human world, where a father is struggling with mental illness.

It has puzzles; at one point, there is a long sequence involving the food chain. I found bits of this fiddly, but interesting enough that I was happy when it was done.

The overall storyline was great, and that's what I like best about games. So I recommend this one.

Recess At Last, by Gerald Aungst
A short doing-homework simulation, March 31, 2018
by MathBrush
Related reviews: 15-30 minutes
This is an odd game. The author coded up a little puzzle where you find answer to homework questions and then type them in, together with one or two little fetch quests.

They then spent a great deal of time polishing that game and adding extra frills. But the core game is brief, and the means of completing it are clunky.

This is certainly a unique game.

The Day we got a pet, by Marius Müller
An unplished made game about visiting exotic locations, March 21, 2018
by MathBrush
Related reviews: 15-30 minutes
This game purports to be the eleventh in a long series, which is a clever gimmick. The game has several clever parts.

However, it has a lot of little bugs that add up to a good deal. It's self-aware about it (the game's most accurate line is "Oh boy, you sure hope these generic messages don't mean this puzzle is bugged!").

Overall, it was interesting, but I wasn't able to complete one of the three core puzzles, the one belonging to the error message above. I did read the ending after decompiling, though.

Quickfire, by Sean M. Shore

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
A polished and complex short cooking-based game, March 20, 2018
by MathBrush
Related reviews: 15-30 minutes
I beta tested this game.

This is a unique concept for a text adventure. You are pitted in a Chopped-style cooking challenge against three other chefs. Your goal is to cook a certain recipe in twenty minutes.

Unfortunately, your competitors have their own ideas, and you have some trouble on your own.

This reminded me of Varicella, both in the numerous autonomous actions of others, and in the time constraint. It also left me feeling like there was more for me to discover that I hadn't figured out.

The Relief of Impact, by Ghoulnoise

3 of 3 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.

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