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Brain Guzzlers from Beyond!

by Steph Cherrywell

2015

(based on 29 ratings)
7 member reviews

About the Story

You are Bonnie Noodleman, Ordinary Well-Adjusted Teen-Ager, on an ordinary well-adjusted drive up Make-Out Mountain--until some gooey monstrosity from beyond the stars guzzles your boyfriend's brains clean out of his head! Jeepers, what a pickle! Can you convince the townsfolk you're not koo-koo, or is your thinker next on the alien menu?

Explore beautiful Canyonville, New Mexico, at the height of the 1959 Pine Nut Days festival, interact with a full cast of NPCs, perform beat poetry, tamper with baked goods, use hideously powerful space weapons to win cheap carnival trinkets, and try to avoid getting a Reputation!

Game Details

First Publication Date: October 1, 2015
Current Version: Unknown
Development System: Inform 7
Forgiveness Rating: Merciful
IFID: 6AB5C19A-198E-4703-B83A-E2581AD420D6
TUID: f55km4uutt2cqwwz

Referenced in The Mary Jane of Tomorrow, by Emily Short

Awards

Nominee, Best Game; Nominee, Best Puzzles; Nominee, Best NPCs; Winner, Best Individual Puzzle - 2015 XYZZY Awards

1st Place - 21st Annual Interactive Fiction Competition (2015)

Editorial Reviews

Rock, Paper, Shotgun
As poor Bonnie Noodleman you have just seen your date have his brain straight-up guzzled. You leg it down from Make-Out Mountain and thus begins a textual parody of 1950s B-movie shlock. There is a magazine personality quiz which you do at the beginning of the story that determines your characteristics and what things you carry (I got a handy switchblade!). It’s something Bethesda probably wishes they could have come up with for the beginning of Fallout. I smiled and chuckled a lot.
See the full review

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Member Reviews

5 star:
(11)
4 star:
(15)
3 star:
(1)
2 star:
(2)
1 star:
(0)
Average Rating:
Number of Reviews: 7
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Most Helpful Member Reviews


3 of 3 people found the following review helpful:
Spine-Tingling Text-O-Rama, November 24, 2015
by CMG (NYC)
Brain-guzzling aliens have arrived from outer space to torment a New Mexican town. The citizens are oblivious, and it's up to you to convince them they're in danger before they've all been brain-guzzled. You play as Bonnie Noodleman, a Well-Adjusted Teen-Ager, and your yearbook profile lists your accomplishments as:

Winner, Miss Human Compass Junior Orienteer, 1956
Winner, Pine Nut Days Girls’ Grocery-Balancing Competition, 1958


I think this succinctly encapsulates the game's intent. It's a traditional text adventure that is self-aware about its tropes, and it's going to exploit them to have fun. And that's exactly what it does.

Structurally, the game is divided into a prologue followed by two main parts. The prologue is pretty much perfect. A character customization system built into an in-game magazine questionnaire, which then segues seamlessly into the action and establishes the setting, tone, and Bonnie's motivation all at once. It's great.

After the prologue, both of the game's two main halves are centered around object fetch-quests. You solve puzzles to collect items to deliver to an NPC in order to progress the story. When the first half concludes, you're treated to a satisfying action set-piece that feels like it will fundamentally alter the game. But then the dust settles, and not too much has changed, and you have to solve another puzzle sequence very similar to the one you just finished.

The second set of puzzles is actually better than the first, and the first set was already good. But the structure saps tension from the story right when things are starting to get dicey. I wanted the stakes to keep rising.

Of course the stakes were never going to be really high, because the game is a parody of B-movie horror. But parodies can have their own high stakes. And actually, the game is more a satire of American society "back in the day" than it is of horror films. It takes place on the cusp between the 50s and 60s. You've got Scooby-Doo hijinks, "ultramodern furniture" in "avocado, orange, and mustard-yellow," and the town fair has a Tomorrow Pavilion whose displays (including a robotic wife) are "glittering with the promise of tomorrow."

This reminded me a lot of The Venture Bros., which has a similar nostalgia for the era, even though it recognizes and criticizes the era's bigotry, repression, and naiveté. Brain Guzzlers is also critical, but it's never as scathing as Venture Bros. It's more interested in using the time period as a playful backdrop.

In the end, this is a very solid text adventure that will appeal to both sci-fi and horror fans, and it's got nice character illustrations too!

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful:
Well written, funny, parser-based interactive fiction., October 4, 2015
by besmaller (Portland, OR)
If you enjoyed Hunger Daemon or Chlorophyll, waste no time -you need to play this one.

Funny, great setting and characters, but most importantly a fully formed game, reacting well to player interaction with the environment. Fun, challenging, and sensible puzzles.

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
A tight, well-written spoof of 50's sci-fi with comic-style graphics, February 3, 2016
by MathBrush
Related reviews: IF Comp 2015
This game was my predicted winner of IFComp 2015. This game is well-written, has great pacing (especially in the first half), a strong narrative voice, and excellent graphics. It is easy enough for people to get into with little IF experience, but provides enough of a challenge later on to be interesting.

You play a teenage girl whose town is overrun by the eponymous Brain Guzzlers. You have a cast of creatively-described friends and acquaintances who help you out. Conversation is menu-based, which allows Cherrywell to express the real flavor of the PC's world (with a lot of 'Jeepers!').

The game has some very creative puzzles, and some more straightforward. Each character of the game (besides yourself) comes with one or more high-quality graphics that show up when talking to them.

Game play is 2-3 hours long, I estimate. I recommend this to everyone; I feel like it will be played for years to come.

See All 7 Member Reviews

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Polls

The following polls include votes for Brain Guzzlers from Beyond!:

For Your Consideration - XYZZY-eligible NPCs of 2015 by verityvirtue
This is for suggesting non-player characters from games released 2015 who you think might be worth considering for Best NPCs/Best Individual NPC in the XYZZY awards. Leave the name (or namelessness) of the NPC (or NPCs) in the comment on...

For Your Consideration - XYZZY-eligible settings of 2015 by verityvirtue
This is for suggesting settings from games released 2015 which you think might be worth considering for Best Setting in the XYZZY awards. This is not a zeroth-round nomination. The category will still be text-entry, and games not...

Getting back into IF, best re-introductions to the genre by Sorrel
I haven't played any IF for roughly the past 6 years and am excited to get back into it. So, what have I missed? What have been some of your favorite games released since 2010? Alternatively, what games do you think would serve as a good...

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This is version 9 of this page, edited by Steph C on 25 January 2016 at 10:25pm. - View Update History - Edit This Page - Add a News Item