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Ratings and Reviews by Maze

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Rematch, by Andrew D. Pontious
Maze's Rating:

Textfire Golf, by Adam Cadre

3 of 4 people found the following review helpful:
Arcade IF, September 7, 2008
by Maze (Rome, Italy)
This is a rare example of arcade IF. You have to play a 9 holes golf course, against 3 other opponents. You choose the club, and you control power and direction (via a cursor which moves on screen, while you have to press SPACE at the right/desired moment). In it's way, it's curious and well done.
There is some story background, though minimal. And, being an Adam Cadre game, you might want to try different commands, other than shooting the ball. Many of them will have you laugh (showing the *famous* Cadre's cruel humor - which I love), and leave you craving to find all the possible ones - though there aren't many. Don't forget to check the "about the author" option in the beginning.
Definitely worth a try.

Shrapnel, by Adam Cadre
Maze's Rating:

Deep Breathing, by Admiral Jota

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful:
The other side of the tale, September 7, 2008
by Maze (Rome, Italy)
An alternate view of a well-known tale (can't tell which, or that'll ruin the brief experience). Written by the same guy that did the excellent "Lost Pig", this is a speedIF (that means you'll end it in a few moves: just got to find the right ones). Can't rate it, but it's funny and well-written (though don't expect to be laughing out loud), and will take you just a few minutes of your precious time.

Behold!, by Admiral Jota
Maze's Rating:

Another Day, Another Sea Monster, by Dan Schmidt
Maze's Rating:

Lydia's Heart, by Jim Aikin

11 of 14 people found the following review helpful:
The IF any story/puzzle-game lover should play, September 6, 2008
by Maze (Rome, Italy)
I am awestruck. I played Not Just An Ordinary Ballerina (that too by Jim Aikin) and the much acclaimed Curses!, and I wasn't expecting to find another puzzle-intense game who could stand the comparison. Then I found Lydia's Heart. Which is not simply great like the other two I mentioned: it's better! (on my humble opinion ;-P)

WHY?
First of all, the puzzles. They're coherent. They're logical. All of them, none excluded. And they fit perfectly within the story. Any puzzle lover knows that, most all of the time, you are confronted with puzzles which are either badly implemented, or not logical, or worse they seem they have nothing to do with the story you're involved in. Lydia's Heart instead: it's a perfect mechanism. I could finish it without any hint (though that doesn't mean it's easy: it's simply that it doesn't frustrates you with impossible or incoherent puzzles, even when you feel stuck), mostly because, if I got stuck, I could simply *think* about the possible logical solutions: and it worked. The difficulty is that you will come out with many logical solutions for some puzzles, and this game is so craftily written that it will entice you in believing most of them to be possible: up to you to find the right one (though sometimes there is indeed more than *one* solution). Any puzzle-lover will realize that a game that can do this, is not only awesome, but also very - very - rare. I mean, I gave 5 totally deserved stars to Curses!, but it was soooo frustrating at times :-P

The story is an interesting, *classic* horror one, and quickly drags you in (though the first part of Not Just An Ordinary Ballerina gave me the creeps a lot more than this one). The characters are very interesting, and they represent many ranges of wickedness (from subtlety to passiveness up to total evil). Time moves on, and things may change, but only when you achieve some of the goals, and this brings up another thing I love: that is, you won't find yourself in an unwinnable condition without knowing it. There are many warnings before you do some no-turning-back move, and you never worry if you really have to do that or not: you simply know (Spoiler - click to show)(though, pay attention when you actively succeed in *moving* an NPC, cause almost always they'll be back soon, and you won't have more than a couple of chances to do it). Thanks to the game's warnings and to it's understandable logic, I never died during all the game, and did a *bad* thing on purpose just to see the death sequence.

SO, NO DRAWBACKS?
Weeeelll... the ending is a little unsatisfying. (Spoiler - click to show)You never get to know what exactly happens to the people that wanted to do bad things to you, and this - given the way some of them get involved in your escape - would've been a compelling thing to read, and also something you would expect. But nothing else. There is one maze (plus a semi-maze), but it's very easy and short (Spoiler - click to show)(once you find the right way to deal with it).

IN THE END
Did I mention that I totally loved Lydia's Heart? It's perfectly crafted. It's fun. It's long. It's deep. It's involving. It's satisfying. You gotta play it.

When in Rome 1: Accounting for Taste, by Emily Short

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful:
*A lunchtime game*, September 2, 2008
by Maze (Rome, Italy)
As the author says, this is a lunchtime game. Easy and brief: just some 15 minutes to reach the end (though it doesn't really *end*, cause 4 more episodes are coming - supposedly).
Manhattan, 1954. A dog starts pestering both you than an unknown girl. The matter is: that dog is not much doggy-like. As the cover art suggests, it seems that your turn to deal with aliens has arrived.

Judging from this first chapter, the story is nice and humorous, though somehow plain, and ends with an opening for more interesting episodes (and also for new peaks of chauvinism to come: that's fairly due to the chauvinist decade where this game is set, though I personally disliked that - but maybe a feminist revenge is ready to strike). Being a lunchtime game, the author doesn't want to cause you any stress: only a couple of very easy puzzles (imagine otherwise: you get frustrated by your precious lunchtime gaming, you go back to work, and all you want to do is to kick your colleagues/friends/anybody, just to see if they too are wearing a V.I.T.A.T.T.O.* armor). The drawback is that you really don't feel much involved: this looks too much as a linear tale where, at a certain point, you have to solve something to go on (and maybe it would indeed work better as a regular tale, without any interaction inside).
Anyway, as a lunchtime game this is nice. And the light and well crafted tone will surely cause many a satisfied smile.

*Violence Isn't The Answer To This One

Back To Life... Unfortunately, by David Whyld

3 of 5 people found the following review helpful:
Great idea, but it doesn't deliver, September 2, 2008
by Maze (Rome, Italy)
In this game you are a king (somewhere and somewhen). You are brought back to life because your heir - your son - is behaving like a kiddo, and the High Councelor wants your help against empire threats. Don't worry about the empire threats though, because your only mission will be to drop dead again, hopefully forever. That is: you gotta suicide, baby.
The suicide idea is great (though I admit that I was quite disappointed, because I was thinking to develop a game about the same basic idea, and now I can't anymore because this has already been done - sigh ;-P). Anyway, with suicide in mind, "Back to Life..." should be a fun game indeed, developed in very few rooms. But, sadly, it doesn't deliver. The writing is funny only for the first minutes, than it flattens out.
The puzzles too, have many nice ideas (and nice ways for being carried out), but them too, they don't deliver. There's too much "guess the word" for such a brief game. And some badly implemented puzzle.

In the end, ok, this game is not THAT good. But you might have fun playing it for awhile. And, given it's briefness, you'll get the initial fun.

Curses!, by Graham Nelson

15 of 18 people found the following review helpful:
A long lasting puzzle-fest, September 1, 2008
by Maze (Rome, Italy)
This game is a puzzle galore. It is long. It is tough. It is great.
Starting from your mansion's attic, you simply have to find a Map of Paris, for your soon-to-be holiday trip. Though what this game does, is show you how a simple task can become incredibly arduous. You'll discover family memorabilia, curses, and travel time (and not only that). *Only* to find that blasted map. Nevertheless, don't let this banal task deceive you: Curses is full of atmosphere, and the stories you'll discover around your mansion - and around your ancestors - will totally capture you.

Again, this game is long. Both because it is big (very big, almost huge), than because the puzzles are so tough that you'll spend ages wondering how to solve some of the most difficult ones. But if you take notes (and you'd better - and you'll also want to draw an accurate map), you'll find that all the puzzles are quite logical, and this is extremely good for a puzzle game. The only drawback is that some of the logical deductions/connections you'll have to do are so hard that they're almost impossible, and maybe they might've been implemented better (but this doesn't mean they're badly implemented).
Al lot of the stuff you encounter is not considered (you might well find a table in a room description, and get a "you can't see such thing" message when examining it). But, for once, this is no drawback, because it allows you to concentrate on the important stuff.

On the bad side, sometimes Curses can be really frustrating. It is easy to get stuck (tough puzzles, remember?), and also to reach an unwinnable condition, because a lot of what you do is irreversible, and you might not be prepared. Though, if you pay attention and save often, you will catch the wrong actions soon enough.

Overall, if you are a puzzle lover, you HAVE to play this game. This will be a real challenge, and if you can complete it without any walkthrough, go out and buy yourself a prize: you're a genius (sadly, I was not, and had to recur to some help in a few of the most difficult situations).
If you don't like puzzles instead... well: go away ;-)

One last note, about a thing which is always given as expected, but which I'd like to point, for such a complex IF: this game must've taken many months of development, then more months of debugging, and IT'S FREE!!! A bow to Graham Nelson, and to all the makers of huge IFs out there.


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