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Reviews by MathBrush

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Jetbike Gang, by C.E.J. Pacian

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A twiny jam 300 word branching futurepunk story, May 23, 2018
by MathBrush
Related reviews: less than 15 minutes
This is Pacian's only Twine game I know. Entered in the popular Twiny Jam competition for twine games of 300 words or less, this has a Time Cave type structure. You can see all endings by lawnmowering, but it might be more fun just to explore 4 or 5.

The story is grim and gritty. You are part of a jetbike gang, and the cops are coming. All of the branches are short, and they all paint out a dystopian world of grime and flame and bad relationships. It is a vivid world.

Human Errors, by Katherine Morayati
A help-desk for wearable emotion-manipulators. Fiction through bureaucracy., May 22, 2018
by MathBrush
Related reviews: less than 15 minutes
This is a complex Twine-and-Javascript based game that reproduces the help-desk environment from IT. You are given a bunch of tickets or help requests to address. You can dismiss them, respond to them, rank their severity, etc.

But instead of normal IT, you're troubleshooting a device that creates impulses in others.

As you progress, your performance is evaluated, and others might respond to you. The story slowly splays out.

It's an odd story, too. Like Morayati's other works regarding technological dystopias (Laid Off from the Synesthesia Factory, Take), the game explores uncomfortable parts of the human condition.

The game takes real-life issues (like the below-minimum-wage oppression of gig jobs like Mechanical Turk, having to buy cheap knock-offs of products that can harm you, workplace harassment, etc.) which people have gradually become numb too and puts them in a startling new light by applying them to new situations.

If you liked this work, I strongly recommend the two other games I mentioned earlier.

Mystery House Makeover!, by Anonymous
A silly short game involving replacing lineart with clipart, May 10, 2018
by MathBrush
Related reviews: less than 15 minutes
This was from the Mystery House Taken Over competition, where IF authors were tasked with revamping the old, famous adventure game Mystery House.

As far as I can tell, this game only allows directional commands, and all that happens in each room is that a piece of original, poor quality line art is replaced with a piece of badly cropped clip art as a joke. I found it amusing, but the game is so small and light as to be hardly there.

If anyone finds additional content, let me know and I'll revise my review.

The Public Tarot, by Marilyn Roxie
A well-polished Tarot simulator, April 28, 2018
by MathBrush
Related reviews: less than 15 minutes
This game allows you to experience three different randomly generated tarot readings, complete with illustrations.

This is a polished game, and it incorporates information from a survey done about people's impressions of the cards. So it's almost like having a reading randomly selected from several dozen other people's readings.

It was impressed, but I saw it as an intellectual exercise without gut feeling.

Remember Remember, by Chandler Cash
An illustrated surreal Twine game with earnest writing, April 28, 2018
by MathBrush
Related reviews: less than 15 minutes
This game starts you in a dark room with several voices talking to you. There are eight doors, some locked, and others not. Your goal is to escape.

The different voices seem to represent parts of your psyche, and the short game is a game of self-discovery. It is illustrated with hand-made colored pencil drawings.

The writing is littered with typos, and the storyline is somewhat confusing. It was descriptive, though, and good at evoking emotion.

MAR/TEAR, by Iliria Osum
A poetic exploration of four women's deaths and the cause thereof, April 28, 2018
by MathBrush
Related reviews: less than 15 minutes
This is a fairly brief game written in free verse. It seems to draw on the writings of four famous women who died, mostly in controversial situations (including deaths that resonated in the trans and African-American communities).

The writing was interesting, but the free verse format made it hard for me to make an emotional connection to the writing. It was interesting looking up the four women in the story.

twenty two-hundred, by Sean Navat Balanon
A brief slice of life in an anime-inspired techno future, April 28, 2018
by MathBrush
Related reviews: less than 15 minutes
This Twine game uses appropriate styling and occasional graphics to tell a slice-of-life story in a world where cybernetic enhancements are common.

You have encounters with two different friends whose lives are different than most people's, and explore some unusual technology.

It feels like a brief vignette of a larger world, either a fan fiction, a taste of the author's own universe, or an introduction to a longer game.

The Case, by Axel Cushing
A short, text-heavy twine game about a detective taking a case, April 27, 2018
by MathBrush
Related reviews: less than 15 minutes
This is a short Twine game that leans heavily on standard detective tropes. You, a hard bitten male detective, have a female client come in with an extensive backstory that you explore through various links. A lot is made of her appearance, but more in a deductive way than a seductive way.

The woman's story is about suspected adultery. The story uses standard Twine styling and has a heavy amount of text per choice, making it more like a story with distinct branch points and less like a mechanics-driven game or visual art piece.

Overall, I would have preferred some more deviations from the noir formula or some more compelling mechanics, but what's here is done well.

Attack of Doc Lobster's Mutant Menagerie of Horror, by Duncan Bowsman
A systematic monster creation system speed-IF game, April 21, 2018
by MathBrush
Related reviews: less than 15 minutes
This game is pretty fun. You have a body on a table, with several items you can attach to them. Every single combination of attachments yields a different monster, which causes a different amount of mayhem. The game officially ends after several monsters you create do a certain amount of mayhem.

An interesting experiment with human-guided AI interaction, April 21, 2018
by MathBrush
Related reviews: less than 15 minutes
This is an interesting game. It's a conversation between ELIZA and some human-mediated input that is taken from a collection of computer-generated speech.

The conversations at first are pure nonsense, but later evolve into partial nonsense, with recurring themes of frustration, curiosity, and romance.

There are sexual references in one portion. The overall feel is one of experimental poetry, very appropriate for the Spring Thing competition.

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