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Reviews by Kake

Sam Gordon

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1-3 of 3


Urban Conflict, by Sam Gordon

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful:
A conversational game rather than a one-room game, December 23, 2007
by Kake (London, England)
Related reviews: Sam Gordon, ***, One-Room Game Competition 2007
Urban Conflict situates you in a bombed-out building in the middle of a war. You've sustained a serious injury, and your only companion in the building is sitting opposite you in possession of an assault rifle and definitely isn't on your side.

I didn't feel this was really a one-room game so much as a conversational game along the lines of (the obvious comparison) Galatea. I couldn't interact with anything in the room, and I couldn't figure out how to move around within it; I got as far as standing up and sitting down again, but I couldn't work out any way to move towards or away from the NPC.

I'm not a great fan of conversational games I didn't particularly enjoy Galatea either as they make me feel as though I'm expected to read the author's mind. I actually managed to spoil the power of this one's ending by stopping my line of questioning slightly too soon, moving on to other topics, and then accidentally triggering the ending somewhat incongruously.

It's worth playing, though, especially if you already know you like this kind of thing.

Final Selection, by Sam Gordon

4 of 5 people found the following review helpful:
Seems solid enough, but it's too difficult for me, December 18, 2007
by Kake (London, England)
Related reviews: Sam Gordon, **
I'm afraid I really didn't like this game. It's very puzzle-based, but the puzzles aren't IF-like puzzles; as far as I could make out, they're riddles and word games and number puzzles. Although I managed to find plenty of objects and clues, I couldn't figure out how to solve any of them (bar the weighing machine puzzle, which just gave me another incomprehensible clue as a reward).

When I was pondering what star rating to give this game, I decided that if I was rating it on how enjoyable I found it, it would barely get two stars. I nearly decided to give it three, because I didn't think it was really fair to vote the game down just because I'm too stupid to get anywhere with it, but then I figured I was overthinking it. So it gets two stars. This doesn't mean there's anything significantly wrong with the implementation; it just means I never ever want to play this game (or anything like it) again.

Lord Bellwater's Secret, by Sam Gordon

11 of 11 people found the following review helpful:
Very polished and user-friendly... until the last scene!, November 21, 2007
by Kake (London, England)
Related reviews: Sam Gordon, ****
This single-room game is a good old-fashioned mystery story, in which you, as a groom in the service of a Victorian gentleman, hunt through your employer's study to discover the truth behind the death of your sweetheart.

I'm not usually all that good at puzzles, but I found most of these easy yet satisfying, right up to the very end where I found myself utterly baffled not by what I should try next, which it turns out I had right, but by how on earth I could persuade the parser to let me try it. Given the number of other reviews that have mentioned this problem, I have no doubt the author will fix this up in the next release, so I've not taken any stars off for it. I would, however, advise waiting for the next version if you don't want your immersion in the story to be interrupted by a bout of frustration right at the most exciting part.

The rest of the game was very polished. I couldn't find a single unimplemented noun; some descriptions were shared between nouns, for example the bookshelves and the books, but this is perfectly sensible and absolutely fine. (I know some people don't care about this kind of thing, but I feel a little bit more writing effort put into the parts of the scenery that people are likely to look at really makes a difference to whether a game feels solid or fragile, and I don't trust fragile games to have fair puzzles/solutions.)

Similarly, I liked the fact that it was possible to discover details of events prior to the start of the game that, while irrelevant if your goal is only to get to the ending, added colour and interest to the whole story.

My main disappointment was that what I would have seen as the optimal ending seems not to be implemented.


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