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Reviews by MathBrush

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Happy Pony Valley Riding School, by Lynda Clark
A short humorous horse relationship game, March 18, 2018
by MathBrush
Related reviews: less than 15 minutes
This game is billed as just a demo for doing relationships in twine, which affected my perception of it (in the sense that I assumed it wasn’t a fully fleshed game), but it manages to have a lot of heart and some neat tricks.

It is based on a riding school with three different ponies/horses, who you interact with in a couple of branching choices. Each one has its own likes and dislikes, which affect the ending.

It succeeded in its goal of making twine seem more like choicescript, and made me laugh a few times. If it was going to be fleshed all of the way out, I wish it were longer and had better cluing as to the effects of the relationship choices and more endings. But as it is I like it.

Her Majesty's Trolley Problem, by Buster Hudson

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
An amusing and odd fantasy game involving a series of trolley problems, February 26, 2018
by MathBrush
Related reviews: less than 15 minutes
This game is set in a fantastical alternate world with animate skeletons and talking pigs.

Supernatural trolleys and trolley lines connect different parts of the world together, and you are a harpooner on one such trolley.

Your task is to be confronted with several situations where the good of one is pitted against the good of many and you have to make a choice. This is the classical trolley problem, and also, in this game, a literal trolley problem as you decide who to run over.

There is also a side mystery uncovered by Club Floyd but which I was not aware of.

Dolores and the Cave, by Magda Knight
A branching horror story in a cave with a challenging puzzle, February 26, 2018
by MathBrush
Related reviews: less than 15 minutes
This was an interesting game.

You find yourself in a cave in a branching sort of exploration/conversation.

On my first play through, I ended it fairly quickly, and I wasn't too impressed. It seemed like a faintly cheesy sort of Halloween story.

But on my second play through, I encountered much more text, and the game became much more developed, with compelling issues and questions together with a nice puzzle.

Overall, I recommend it for fans of horror.

Ex Materia, by Juhana Leinonen
A smooth, short sci-fi/AI game with fancy text effects, February 5, 2018
by MathBrush
Related reviews: less than 15 minutes
This game, similar to Leinonen's earlier Ex Nihilo, is a short text-effects-heavy game about a powerful entity questioning its own existence.

This time, though, the game is linked to all of Wikipedia, and debates the worth of existence of an advanced system. Overall, though, like Ex Nihilo, this game feels like a demo for advanced graphics in a text setting. This isn't bad, but the game is very short.

Definitely worth checking out!

Finish your Foe!, by Oliver Frank
A fantasy one-move game about combat with an ancient vampire, February 3, 2018
by MathBrush
Related reviews: less than 15 minutes
This game was part of the New Year's minicomp. I was pleased to see that it's a puzzly one-move game, and that the formatting was done well.

The setting is fairly standard fantasy, but it helps establish the setting quickly. You are a sort of paladin facing a 'Red Queen' vampire.

I'm very much into D&D inspired games, and one-move games. But some very basic things were not implemented, like 'pray' (when you're a paladin and the game mentions your orisons). But enough was implemented to be fun.

La Tempête, by Stéphane F.

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
A polished, short modernist tale about a storm, January 20, 2018
by MathBrush
Related reviews: less than 15 minutes
This game is firmly in the modernist tradition of the early 1900s, similar to works by Kafka or T.S. Eliot.

The tags on this game include 'existentialist' and 'absurd', and that's a good description.

The game is dream-like; you are in a lushly detailed house where nothing really matters, and the story drives you forward. It's like a Ryan Veeder game without the Ferris Bueller attitude.

Overall, I found it effective, especially because I forgot the french IF commands and had to look them up (on the french play-IF card http://ifiction.free.fr/fichiers/play-if-card_fr.pdf), so at first I was just typing room names. This gives you a description of the room, but doesn't take you there, and doesn't give you the same description as actually being there. This made the game very odd.

Overall, I liked it.

Stand Down, by verityvirtue

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful:
A short, meditative Twine game about a dual-culture paramedic , January 13, 2018
by MathBrush
Related reviews: less than 15 minutes
This Twine game is intentionally short and linear, but it's not quite as linear as it advertises; basically, you are unwinding after a long day, and you get to pick what order to unwind in.

You seem to be a volunteer for a hospital, as well as a student. Actions like taking off your boots or untying your hair trigger memories from earlier in the day.

I found it fascinating as a glimpse into another, medical world, as well as portraying a character who seems to be a minority in their current situation.

All Hail The King!, by Luke Skytrekker
An amusing little medieval/goofy farce, December 17, 2017
by MathBrush
Related reviews: less than 15 minutes
I have to give a caveat about my score first; I think this game is really around a 5 out of 10 on the IFComp scale; it's short, silly, self-conscious. But, it satisfies all of my 5 star criteria:

1. Polished: I didn't encounter any errors, and the writing was consistent, and even the plain twine styling seemed to fit the story.
2. Descriptive: The game has a nice voice and inventive language (I chuckled at the word turdburglar, especially because I misread it at first).
3. Interactivity: The game presented me with exactly the kind of options I wanted at several points in the game. It was actually very effective at presenting options that made me go 'Yes! This is exactly what I want to do'.
4. Emotion. I smiled a lot.
5. Would I play it again? Yes, I'm interested in exploring the mechanics.

So this is technically a 5, but on the 'how much will the average IF player like it' scale, I'd give it a 2-3.

Sacrifice, by Hamish McIntyre
Play as a living dungeon in this short looping game, December 3, 2017
by MathBrush
Related reviews: less than 15 minutes
I swear this game was different the first time I played it. In any case, what it is now is a living dungeon Twine game; you are a living dungeon, and adventurers come in in a cycle. You choose from a menu of 3 randomly generated options until either the adventurer dies, or succeeds.

I thought it was clever, and the graphic was helpful. But I felt like it could be further developed.

The Dragon Will Tell You Your Future Now, by Newsreparter
An exercise in futility, in Twine format, November 16, 2017
by MathBrush
Related reviews: less than 15 minutes
In 2006, Theo Koutz entered an IFComp game called Sisyphus, where you roll a stone up a hill and it rolls down again. It was a troll game that was smooth and polished.

This is essentially the same game, but with shiny new polish. You have to open some doors, but you can't. Replaying this, though, I found that I actually enjoyed the writing, perhaps more than any other game in the comp.

So this was pretty fun, despite the author's intentions.

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