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Reviews by MathBrush

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The Sisters, by revgiblet
A fairly good ghost story in Adrift with some bugs, November 16, 2017
by MathBrush
Related reviews: about 1 hour
This story is actually pretty fun, given how little this is done in IF.

It's a traditional ghost/creepy story with an old abandoned house to search through.

It has numerous bugs, and a huge number of 'guess the verb' problems, but I was glad I played it and enjoyed it overall. I used the walkthrough.

Fetter's Grim, by Paul Allen Panks
A mishmash of DnD tropes with Christianity and roman history, November 16, 2017
by MathBrush
Related reviews: about 1 hour
This has to be a troll game; Panks admitted before that some of his IFComp games are troll games (such as Ninja II). But if not...

You play as a weakened mythological god, except that that never gets mentioned after the first screen. You can find and kill Jesus. Most of the game is fighting DnD characters. There is a village with a tavern, like most Panks games.

It was interesting, but not his best offering.

Hedge, by Steven Richards
An ambitious puzzly club game with implementation issues, November 16, 2017
by MathBrush
Related reviews: about 1 hour
This game attempts quite a bit. You are trying to get into a mysterious club. The game is full of puzzles and many, many red herrings.

There was obviously a lot of thought and effort put in, but it could have used more testing. Fun with a walkthrough.

Domestic Elementalism, by fireisnormal
Awesome transformation witch game, November 16, 2017
by MathBrush
Related reviews: about 1 hour
I beta tested this game.

This game has a utilitarian interface, but don't let that fool you: this is a seriously great game.

Your magical witch house is broken, and you need to fix it. You have an inventory (even though it's web based), and you have the power to alter the elements of various inventory elements.

It has a cheerful backstory. Different items you carry interact with each other.

The various interactions are fiddly sometimes, and perhaps even unfair; but somehow everything gelled for me in a great way. Not everyone may feel the same.

A Castle of Thread, by Marshal Tenner Winter
A three-act fantasy game with a big cast of characters, November 16, 2017
by MathBrush
Related reviews: about 1 hour
I beta tested this game.

This game casts you as a translator of ancient languages in a fantasy world. It's split up into three acts: a tense moment on a boat, a fight in a town, and a climactic finale in an archaelogical dig.

The overall story, the characters, etc. are all well-drawn. But the game is so big that more needs to be filled-in; more responses to synonyms and commands, more conversational topics, more alternate puzzle solutions.

AND WHEN I SQUINT IT LOOKS LIKE CHRISTMAS, by Norbez
Basically a children's novella with some interactivity, November 16, 2017
by MathBrush
Related reviews: about 1 hour
I could see myself picking this book up and reading it in the library. You play as an orphan who gets sucked into another world by a mysterious stranger.

This other world is an Oz-like fantasy world that is creatively engineered. A long story plays out.

There's not much interactivity to speak of, though there are options scattered throughout. But I liked this; it reminded me of 'pulpy' kids books that I read when I was a teenager, like Deltora quest.

1958: Dancing With Fear, by Victor Ojuel
A dancing-based historical game in a magnificent setting, November 16, 2017
by MathBrush
Related reviews: about 1 hour
Ojuel is a master of setting, and this is a great game. You play as an former dancer in 1958 in a communist Carribean country. You have to extricate something from a house party, but you don't know what it is.

The game has great storytelling, using flashbacks and conversation to good effect. I see it getting nominated for several XYZZYs.

There were several implementation difficulties, though, because it was sometimes hard to know what verbs to use. A post-comp release that implemented every command response contained in judges' reviews would not take much time, and would add the finishing touches to this already great game.

Will Not Let Me Go, by Stephen Granade
A powerful Twine game about dementia, November 16, 2017
by MathBrush
Related reviews: about 1 hour
I beta tested this game.

Stephen Granade has written a wonderful game here about an old man coping with dementia.

It makes magnificent use of unreliable narrator to depict the disorientation that dementia causes.

It is a fairly long Twine game, but autosaves, and has a nice feature that tells you how long the game has been playing.

Highly recommended.

The Unofficial Sea-Monkey(R) Simulation, by B.J. Best
A polished and well-designed story framed as a simulation, November 16, 2017
by MathBrush
Related reviews: about 1 hour
I beta tested this IFComp 2017 game.

This is a Twine game framed as a situation (specifically of feeding sea-monkeys), which the actual story is fitted into.

I found the colors and presentation very nice, and the game overall very polished. I did find it frustrating how long it took to reach the final ending, but that was mostly due to time crunch around IFComp. If you have time to play, this is a relaxing and enjoyable experience.

Contains infrequent strong profanity.

Ultimate Escape Room: IF City, by Mark Stahl
A tight puzzle fest in a color coded escape-room game, November 16, 2017
by MathBrush
Related reviews: about 1 hour
This game has you going to a live escape room in a mall or building somewhere.

Inside are a series of color-coded rooms with a variety of puzzles. They include a variety using slightly-less-standard-but-still standard verbs like 'search' or 'look under', etc.

I enjoyed this game. It didn't really inspire any emotion in me, but as a small puzzle snack, it does what it is intended to do.

I feel like this is an improvement over the author's previous game, Questor's Quest, and I'd like to see more from this author.


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