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Ratings and Reviews by C. W. Gray

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Sequitur, by Nigel Jayne (as Tin Foil Jenny)

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful:
Unique, found footage crime-solving, July 10, 2019
Sequitur is a CSI tech game with a unique feel. You play as Detective Stephen Cochone, investigating several mysterious deaths that occurred at a supposedly abandoned house. Heís being taught how to use sequitur, a program created by quirky tech girl Jenny, as part of the investigation. The main use of the in-game program is to review written descriptions of found footage and sound recordings taken from the crime scene, and arrange them in chronological order.

Having this separate Ďprogramí as the main interface is itself pretty interesting. I did find it confusing at first because youíre hit with a lot of special commands and phrases upfront, which can be overwhelming. The game does provide you with in-game help, though, including the option to ask Jenny to order the sequences for you. While this may be too easy of a bypass, the player still has to view all the videos and come to their own conclusions.

What I enjoyed most, though, were the characters. We quickly get an idea of who they are, and I enjoyed the dialogue between Stephen and Jenny. I was pretty invested in them by the end and (Spoiler - click to show)really bummed that the endings donít give us any concrete details about what happens afterwards. I first played Sequitur a few years ago, and Iím still disappointed we donít find out what happens to Cochone! Even the best ending doesnít tell us.

The game also has custom responses to out-of-game commands, giving functions like save or restart in-game explanations, which I thought was a nice touch.

Overall, itís very well written and one of my favorite IF games.

Exhibition, by Ian Finley

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
Exploring Pictures at an Exhibition, July 6, 2019
The setting is the final exhibition of the artist Anatoly Domokov, following his suicide. You select one of four characters attending the exhibit and can switch between them at any time. While the game consists mainly of examining the environment and artwork, each character has an individual perspective and a role to play. Some knew the artist intimately, some academically, some not at all. The player has the agency to choose how they learn about the artistís story.

Exhibition is the type of game that might be called plot-less or not interactive. There is a story, weíre just starting at the end and working our way back through recollections. Additionally, each character has their own personal story: why theyíre here, what they hope to gain from the event, and what their conclusions are afterwards. I found it compelling to switch between views, putting the information together to come to my own conclusions.

If thereís a drawback itís that (Spoiler - click to show)some characters actually are more relevant than others. I happened to choose the Boy to play first, and his perspective seemed to be the full story; exploring the other characters after that felt kind of pointless. So, itís possible to accidentally stumble onto knowing too much before exploring all the characters.

A final note: the music files (played by the author) are the variations of Promenade from Mussorgskyís Pictures at an Exhibition suite. I wish this had been explained a little more in the credits, because itís an interesting tie-in to the gameís inspiration.

Trials of the Thief-Taker, by Joey Jones

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful:
Chase criminals in 18th century London , December 12, 2018
I really enjoyed Trials of the Thief-Taker. It's probably the first ChoiceScript game I've been engaged by and replayed several times. I was initially drawn to it because of my love of historical London, and it doesn't disappoint.

Thief-Taker isn't really as open world as it purports to be in the description, which actually works in its favor. While the game is an episodic string of catching outlaws, there's a compelling linear story throughout, mainly involving the two possible love interests. Romance isn't a big focus, but I found there was just enough here to be satisfying.

Most every choice you make affects your stats, and there were times when I genuinely found the game difficult, which was surprising. The story is very responsive to choices, with events playing out differently based on previous decisions. And it's possible to role play a character; I enjoyed playing as a now penniless member of the landed gentry, who's still a snob despite being destitute, has a fancy flat, an obscene amount of debt, and spends money foolishly when he does manage to earn some. Luckily, thief-taking can pay very, very well.

Some negatives: it's a little odd for the story to play out the same regardless of how good a thief-taker you are or not; some parts assume the PC is at least a decent thief-taker, even if your targets apprehended is, erm, zero.

At one point you leave town for a bit, and have to choose how much money to bring with you. Even with -£8 to my name, I was able to bring half of it; it goes without saying that being able to bring -£4 with me doesn't make much sense.

Finally, horse buying: I would have appreciated a straight forward list of horses for sale, instead of choosing an intention for how much I might want to spend. Basically, a little more heads up when I'm about to be spending £100 on something.

Cannery Vale, by Hanon Ondricek (as Keanhid Connor)
C. W. Gray 's Rating:

The Ambassador's Daughter, by Stormchild
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The King of Shreds and Patches, by Jimmy Maher
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Mystery House Possessed, by Emily Short
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An Act of Murder, by Christopher Huang
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Ariadne in Aeaea, by Victor Ojuel
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Invisible Parties, by Sam Kabo Ashwell (as Psychopup)
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