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Reviews by MathBrush

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View this member's reviews by tag: 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
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Westfront PC: The Trials of Guilder, by Paul Allen Panks
A sprawling RPG with color use, September 14, 2017
by MathBrush
Related reviews: more than 10 hours
This game is so different from Panks's other games. Panks's IFComp games were short and trivial, or mocking.

This game is really, really big, and reasonably well polished.

You can play a lot of mini games, visit tons of locations, order NPCs, etc.

The problem is that it was developed for a long time by one person with only a little input from others, meaning that several of the mechanics are just spotty.

Adventure, by William Crowther and Donald Woods

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful:
The original, and one of the best depending on your likes, September 4, 2017
by MathBrush
Related reviews: more than 10 hours
Adventure was the very first text adventure of all time. It inspired the genre and its name.

The point of the game is to gather a variety of treasures and bring them back to a small building. The game is pretty accurately based on the Mammoth Caves, which explains the mazes and the fact that exits and entrances sometimes don't match up exactly (i.e. going west and then east may not leave you where you started).

For me, the most enjoyable way to play this game was to keep it at a slow pace, going back to it time and again while playing other games. I kept a numbered list of every room with all of its exits to other rooms. This made the game much easier. After several weeks, I got to a point where I couldn't get any further for several days. I finally looked up a walkthrough for the last three or four puzzles.

Once you get all the treasures, there is an endgame that is surprisingly good; it seems more like a modern deconstruction of the game than the very first game of all.

I played the 350 point version, and I found the game incredibly enjoyable. I admit that I used the wicker cage bug (as mentioned in another review), where you can carry everything in the wicker cage. To get full points, you must remove the items from the cage outside of the building before placing them in there.

Every Interactive Fiction player should play this game because so many other games reference it heavily.

The Hobbit, by Philip Mitchell and Veronika Megler

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
A classic game with some difficulty due to randomization, August 15, 2017
by MathBrush
Related reviews: more than 10 hours
This is one of the best selling IF games ever. It has graphics and runs on Spectrum emulators (like Fuse).

It has graphics, and is intended to cover the same material as the book The Hobbit. It does so with a great deal of NPC independence, which ends up (to me) being somewhat frustrating. Back in the early days of text adventures, many of the companies (especially outside of Infocom) hadn't really thought about player guidance, and so games devolved into 'guess the verb' on every occasion.

Still, this game has a good deal of charm, and I've had fun exploring it.

SNOSAE, by R. Dale McDaniel

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
An insanely hard puzzle game that is huge, July 16, 2017
by MathBrush
Related reviews: more than 10 hours
This MSDOS game, which I played in DOSBOX, is a collection of extraordinarily hard puzzles. You enter an intersection of hallways, with each direction in the hallway having a door with a puzzle. Past those puzzles are harder puzzles. Past those puzzles are...way too many puzzles.

This is one of the very largest adventure games, and even the easiest puzzles are way too hard for most people. If you are an adventure puzzle fanatic, you can try this game. Expect many, many, many random deaths. I'm giving it 3 stars for being polished, descriptive, and good at instilling an emotion: annoyance.

Inside Woman, by Andy Phillips

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
Andy Phillip's best game; a massive city spy thriller, July 1, 2017
by MathBrush
Related reviews: more than 10 hours
This game took me about 2500 moves to complete this game using the hints; this is an extremely long game, among the very longest I have ever played.

You are in a 40-story city, with about 20 of the stories implemented. Each story that's implemented has 3-4 puzzles.

The game is a spy thriller, with you as the spy. As usual for Andy Phillips games, there is a lot of action, a lot of 'guess what he's thinking', and some male gaze, although it is toned down from his other games.

This is an epic, sprawling game; I have no idea how this fit in the z-machine. It also has a very well executed plot twist that was almost as good as Spider and Web's.

This game took me about a month of playing 30-60 minutes a day. I could have played 20 IFComp games in the time it took me to beat this.

Colossal Adventure, by Pete Austin, Mike Austin, Nick Austin, James Horsler
A Level 9 reworking of Adventure with an expanded endgame, July 1, 2017
by MathBrush
Related reviews: more than 10 hours
This game is a reworking of Adventure, and was released commercially by Level 9.

It's generally similar to Adventure, with the dragon puzzle made easier, but it has a much bigger endgame where you have to save hundreds of elves (but your actions save about a hundred at a time).

It has graphics that add a lot to the game, even though they are nowhere near as good as Magnetic Scrolls.

Gargoyle plays level 9 games, so if you want to try this out, it may be a fun way to play the original Adventure game.

Leather Goddesses of Phobos, by Steve Meretzky

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
Played in tame mode; a silly puzzlefest with great writing , June 25, 2017
So, my experience in playing Phobos is atypical; I played in tame mode, and I just used a walkthrough, because I wasn't very interested in the game.

But the writing turned out to be quite good. The mishaps of my companion and the finale were some of the best things I've read in a while. This game ends up reading a lot like the meretzky-adams game Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy. Also similar to that game is the transportation syste, where you travel between disconnected worlds.

Even in tame mode, some dirty stuff sneaks through, but it is on the level of the movie Space Balls (e.g. a suggestive spaceship, a man or woman getting almost undressed against their will, etc.)

Using the walkthrough, the game seemed pretty hard. The copy protection in this game is achieved by having a horrible maze with horrible monsters, where you have to use two of the feeling to get through.

The game has the infamous t-removing machine, inspiration of future games such as Earl Grey and Counterfeit Monkey.

Overall, I'm not sure if I'll play it again. But I think meretzky does some of his best writing here (perhaps he was enthusiastic about the subject matter).

Enemies, by Andy Phillips
A massive spy thriller-type game with intricate, unfair puzzles, June 11, 2017
by MathBrush
Related reviews: more than 10 hours
Most of Andy Phillips games have the same bones with different overlays. In all of the games, you play a protagonist with some sort of special features (in this one, you're an intelligent accountant), a femme fatale, and cinematic scenes with really hard combinatorial puzzles.

The special features of this one are the setting (most of it in an abandoned boarding school), and the gruesomeness of it. It was a bit over the top, even compared to his other games.

If you haven't tried any of the other games, I really liked Heist and Time.

Jinxter, by Georgina Sinclair, Michael Bywater

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
A long, very British illustrated game about magical charms, June 11, 2017
by MathBrush
Related reviews: more than 10 hours
This is the third Magnetic scrolls game. It was meant to be based on magical spells, like Enchanter, but you have to do a LOT of work before you get any spells.

The game lets you get through deathly obstacles, but you will lose a bit of luck if you do, which blocks you out of the endgame. So if it says you lose a little bit of luck, go back to an earlier save!

Overall, a super british game, with all of the spells based on British slang for 'thing' (like wossname and so on).

Very frustrating, very unfair, but interesting and with good graphics.

The Guild of Thieves, by Rob Steggles

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
A big, illustrated classic game with devious puzzles and a good map, June 5, 2017
by MathBrush
Related reviews: more than 10 hours
I did not like the first Magnetic Scrolls game, The Pawn, at all. It was juvenile, and the puzzles were unfair.

Guild of Thieves is much better; it's still unfair at times, but not so much, and the juvenilia have been cut back.

You play a thief who has to steal a large number of treasures from a castle and its environs. It's a very Zork-like setting. The map felt large at first, but eventually it was easy to picture it all.

There are treasures absolutely everywhere. It's easy to find several treasures, but I doubt anyone's found all of them on their own. Magnetic Scrolls aren't know for their fairness, anyway, but you can get a lot of enjoyment out of this game right from the getgo.


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