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Reviews by MathBrush

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Music Education, by Bill Linney
A mid-length exploration game with some tricky puzzles, July 16, 2017
by MathBrush
Related reviews: about 1 hour
This game has you exploring a mid-sized map with a music building, a post office, and a Hardee's knockoff.

The game is well-coded and funny at many times, but many of the puzzles are of the absurd variety that only makes sense in retrospect. Puzzles include 'look behind the one scenery item in the one room that has something', 'try something that has no chance of working in real life', and 'make sure you're carrying a completely random item that will save your life'.

I wasn't a fun of the puzzles, but a large segment of people are. If you like methodically working through a game, drawing a map, and checking every item, you will probably really like this game quite a bit.

Stone Cell, by Steve Kodat
A medieval jailbreak game, July 16, 2017
by MathBrush
Related reviews: about 1 hour
This game starts with a long cinematic-type sequence where you are thrown in jail for dressing like a boy.

It's notable for changing location descriptions. However, everyone I've seen that beat it used the walkthrough. It contains several unintuitive puzzles, and is one of those games best experienced via walkthru, in my opinion.

Chaos, by Shay Caron
A bug-ridden but fun 3rd person supervillain game, July 16, 2017
by MathBrush
Related reviews: about 1 hour
You are a third-person observer in a ship as Captain Chaos, a relatively benign supervillain, is crashing to the earth.

The writing is good, and funny, but the game is super buggy, with events firing at the wrong time, repeating actions sending your score up over and over, and a whole slew of bad interfaced design problems and missing synonyms.

It's a shame, because the writing is so fun.

The Water Bird, by Athan Skelley
A great game plagued with many bugs, about Indian folklore, July 16, 2017
by MathBrush
Related reviews: about 1 hour
This large game tells a wonderful native american tale. Set in a large village, and in the world of the dead, you have to hunt food for a village while the warriors prepare for the arrival of a deadly giant.

Big and ambitious, this game was massively buggy during the competition and placed in the bottom 10. It was updated later, fixing many but not all problems. I recommend playing with the walkthrough to see the great story.

Marooned, by Bruce Davis
An adrift game exploring a deserted island, July 16, 2017
by MathBrush
Related reviews: about 1 hour
In this game, you are marooned on a small island, and you have to get off.

Like most adrift games, the parser is poor and has disambiguation trouble.

The game has a lot of under-described locations. And there is really no hint on what you are supposed to be doing. Also the walkthrough says to take tires, but the game says they are too heavy.

Overall, this seems like a really ambitious game with moving NPCs and fire simulation, but it was probably too big to polish up in time for the comp.

Void: Corporation, by Jonathan Lim
A fun but under-implemented AGT cyberpunk spy game, July 16, 2017
by MathBrush
Related reviews: about 1 hour
In this AGT game (a parser that I find better than ADRIFT but not as good as Inform or TADS), you have to navigate an enemy stronghold using different cubes of software and slabs and pills.

It's not very polished at all, and the parser has some troubles, and the story has gaping plotholes (it's super easy to walk into enemy barracks and take things from soldiers). But it has a charm to it, and the story seems really deeply thought out; the author says they invented the world in their youth.

Masque of the Last Faeries, by Ian Ball
A murder mystery wrapped up in a long faery-poem driven gala, July 16, 2017
by MathBrush
Related reviews: about 1 hour
This is an interesting game, with many elements reminiscent of Infocom's Suspect, but much simpler.

You are attending a Faerie masque that a neighbor has thrown; in this masque, everyone has a costume and a role to say.

About half of the game consists of listening to the gala instructions (basically a big cosplay or LARP, all in rhyme), and solving easy riddles. Then it gets harder, and weird.

I liked it, though. It has some layers of mystery that are never unveiled, and which you are left to deduce for yourself, which I was unable to do.

Withdrawal Symptoms, by Niclas Carlsson
A game about finding a safety deposit box with nonsensical puzzles, July 16, 2017
by MathBrush
Related reviews: about 1 hour
In this game, you have to pass four or fives puzzles to open a safety deposit box.

These puzzles are based in reality, but have little basis in reality. Just taking a ticket from the machine involves deciphering a complex sequence of button presses.

These puzzles are exceedingly illogical. But the game is otherwise competently written and bugless.

Aftermath, by Graham Somerville
A gruesome medieval game about memorializing the dead, July 16, 2017
by MathBrush
Related reviews: about 1 hour
This game starts with several puzzles involving climbing out from a pile of corpses.

After that, you need to memorialize the dead.

This is certainly an unusual game. It could have been far better if the various puzzles had been better clued, and synonyms for verbs and nouns implemented.

To Otherwhere and Back, by Greg Ewing
A jumbled IFComp game that was a late Walkthrough Comp entry, July 16, 2017
by MathBrush
Related reviews: about 1 hour
WalkthroughComp was done by Emily Short, where she wrote out a telegram of a bizarre walkthrough for a nonexistent game, and then you were to write that game.

This game is one of the biggest responses to that; however, it's too big. The game is full of text dumps, and the environment (inside a VR machine) just veers wildly from genre to genre and location to location.

It must have taken a lot of effort, but it needed more coherence, I think.


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