Home | Profile - Edit | Your Page | Your Inbox Browse | Search Games   |   Log In

Reviews by MathBrush

2-10 hours

View this member's profile

Show ratings only | both reviews and ratings
View this member's reviews by tag: 10+ hours 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
...or see all reviews by this member
1-10 of 72 | Next | Show All


The Weight of a Soul, by Chin Kee Yong

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful:
A fantasy/medical mystery, June 14, 2018
by MathBrush
Related reviews: 2-10 hours
This game is advertised as being incomplete, but a very large chunk of it is done. Playing it is like playing 'episode 1' of a large series.

The setting is unusual: you are in a large and decaying city where magic and science are blended together. Scalpels and anesthesia blend with goblins and soul magic.

I found the opening to be a bit constraining (which is something I do in my own games, too), but that after that the game was rich and rewarding. Locations have several interactible details, conversations feel natural, and I felt like a real detective.

I enjoyed the large feeling of the city, something difficult to do right in an interactive fiction game. I did get a bit lost from time to time. Locations were unique and vividly described.

I would love to see this finished.

Guttersnipe: The Baleful Backwash, by Bitter Karella
A clever puzzle game with lots of character and some bugs in the ointment, May 8, 2018
by MathBrush
Related reviews: 2-10 hours
I've enjoyed the full Guttersnipe sequence of games; they generally feature well-thought out puzzles involving an urchin doing ridiculous things and eating junk.

This game puts a spin on things by placing your long-standing help system and narrative device Percy the Rat in confinement.

It features stereotypical Italians as the antagonists, with names like Tony Macaroni. It would be somewhat uncomfortable, except that it's less of a parody of Italians themselves and more of a parody of gangster movies's and novels' parodies of Italians.

There were several bugs in the version that I played, but it made the game more interesting, as I had to type exactly the right command, and it became just another puzzle. But polish and interactivity correspond to two of my stars, which is why I'm giving 3/5.

Edit:

Since my original review, the game has been revised to fix many bugs, so I'm increasing my score to 4/5.

Xen: The Contest, by Ian Shlasko

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
A lengthy TADS sci-fi novella with sketchy implementation, April 25, 2018
by MathBrush
Related reviews: 2-10 hours
This is one of the longest and most plot-intensive games entered into IFComp.

The story is a sort of self-insert fantasy. A college student who is bullied and shy is courted by beautiful women and powerful men due to his latent universe-changing powers. It unfolds over several days, over a week.

Unfortunately, there are two flaws in the implementation and design. First, the author has decided to implement in great detail the most tedious parts of the game. Ordering food takes several steps, repeated daily. Campus contains many non-essential locations, which seem possibly to be based on the author's actual campus. Most of the game consists of opening your backpack, selecting the right book, putting it in your backpack, closing it, marching across campus, sitting in class, waiting, going to the cafeteria, ordering food, swiping your id, sitting, going to your dorm, swiping your id, and entering your room. This is repeated at least five or six times in the game.

The second flaw is that only this path is implemented, and only with the exact walkthrough commands. Attempting to order food without the walkthrough is extremely difficult.

Overall, I was glad I played.

Illuminismo Iniziato, by Michael J. Coyne
A big, polished sequel to a big, polished game, April 21, 2018
by MathBrush
Related reviews: 2-10 hours
This sequel to the 15-year-earlier Risorgimento Represso is a fairly large glulx game that uses advanced features such as graphical windows.

In classic parser game style, you are an eccentric wizard's apprentice in a blended fantasy/modern setting where you push the boundaries of the law to get what you want.

I enjoyed the variety of puzzles, such as timing puzzles and transportation puzzles.

This game reminds me a lot in style and quality to Bob Bates' game Thaumistry. Both games were charming, and reached a level of quality that is quite difficult to reach, but failed to grip my imagination. In both games, I felt like some solutions were unnecessarily restricted.

I believe this game is most likely to win Spring Thing (this review was written before the competition ended).

Drumsticks, by Luke A. Jones
A 'get the band back together' game in Quest, April 13, 2018
by MathBrush
Related reviews: 2-10 hours
This is a complex Quest game with a life-like map and NPCs that are responsive and numerous.

For my personal taste, the NPCs were too lifelike, with your main companion having a foul mouth, using profanity as a form of verbal seasoning rather than a means of emotional signalling. It made me uncomfortable the whole game. For some players, though, this is a selling point.

The game itself is fun; you try to convince all the members of your band to get back together. Each one is vividly defined, and you're asked to perform various fetch quests, intuition-based puzzles, and logic or experimentation puzzles to get to your goal.

Quest has its usual limitations, but this game was better programmed than many quest games. Great for puzzle fans and fans of real-life slice of life games that don't mind strong profanity.

Zeppelin Adventure, by Robin Johnson

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful:
An engaging sci-fi tale using a parser-choice hybrid, April 9, 2018
by MathBrush
Related reviews: 2-10 hours
I enjoyed this game, which took me a few hours to complete (and one big part I missed out on because I didn't notice a certain room exit).

This game uses the same hybrid system as in Detectiveland and Draculaland, where you choose a noun to hold and various options become available.

The breadth of the puzzles is impressive, and the humor is great. A few times I was frustrated by not knowing what to do, but when I realized what was needed, I felt like the puzzles were fair.

The endings were nice, I think. It's good to have satisfying endings for a game.

Life in a Northern Town, by People + Places
A sprawling multi-platform tale about crime and love in North Dakota, April 8, 2018
by MathBrush
Related reviews: 2-10 hours
This is a very large game/story, comprising 3 Twine stories, 1 inklewriter story, 1 Instagram album, and three wordpress blog entries.

Reading quickly, even skimming from time to time, it took around 3 hours to finish.

The story is compelling: an unemployed woman gets a business opportunity from her brother that's too good to be true.

It's gritty and dark. It's full of profanity, which I filtered on my computer. It's also completely believable.

I'm giving it 4 stars because the fifth star is for "would I play it again?" and while it was very compelling, I felt mildly traumatized by the time I was done.

Grand Academy for Future Villains, by Katherine Nehring
An epic meta-narrative tale about a villain, April 7, 2018
by MathBrush
Related reviews: 2-10 hours
This game was a fun ride. You play as a new villain in a school for villains.

Everything is very self-aware; there are villains from every genre, and you study plot-twists and narrative arcs. Henchmen are trained on how to miss the heroes when shooting, etc.

What I think this game did exceptionally well was balancing your choices: there are 2-3 major things I wanted that I just couldn't do all at once (especially pleasing mom and becoming a monster).

I'm giving it four stars instead of five because I felt like the denouement was a bit rushed and I didn't feel properly satisfied at the end. However, I've had that feeling before with a few Choice of Games games (like The Sea Eternal), and usually I find a more satisfying ending on replay.

This game would make a great introduction to Choice of Games for people new to the company.

Disclaimer: I have worked for Choice of Games and received a free copy of this game.

I Think The Waves Are Watching Me, by Bob McCabe

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
A bizarre game with great depth and replay value and tricky UI, April 5, 2018
by MathBrush
Related reviews: 2-10 hours
This was one of the few IFComp 2015 games that I never reviewed. On my old laptop, it wouldn't even run; every page of text would be immediately erased.

It works on my new laptop, though. And what an unusual game it is.

It runs in a command-prompt type window, and uses single-letter commands with occasional typing of names and numbers.

It is a surreal game, with huge standing waves surrounding a 25-location town and people getting murdered left and right, each murder announced by red lightning.

A hallucinogenic bunny hops around guiding you.

I've never come close to finding the murderer, but I've discovered many of the game's secrets over my 4 playthroughs. The best involved a tightly-timed sequence at a bar leading to a length CYOA sequence.

This is a game with several flaws, such as the fact that you can't scroll back through text due to it disappearing, and it's incredibly easy to hit a button and miss a whole page of text. There is no save command.

But these flaws enhance it; it makes you approach the game more cautiously. This game is a masterpiece in a way. But it requires length play.

The Eagle's Heir, by Jo Graham and Amy Griswold
A just-off-reality alternate timeline game where Napoleon survived, April 4, 2018
by MathBrush
Related reviews: 2-10 hours
Disclaimer: I write for Choice of Games and received this copy for free.

This game is set in an alternate reality where Robert Fulton had more freedom to work with steam and Napoleon survived long enough for succession to be a question. The game is meticulously researched to be as close to baseline reality as possible.

You play the personal bodyguard and childhood friend of Alexandre Walewski, the illegitimate but favored heir of Napoleon. You deal with court intrigue and assassination attempts as you mold the future of France.

I didn't like the beginning of this game, so much that I set it aside for months. I just didn't find it compelling.

But one of the biggest strengths that Choice of Games has is the length of their games. Once I played a few more chapters, I had spent so much time with these characters that I became emotionally invested. I was very satisfied with my outcomes.

I also enjoyed the chance you had to make major changes in the outcomes of different chapters, and to take charge.

I don't give 5 stars to all choice of games games; this one was, in my mind, special.


1-10 of 72 | Next | Show All