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Reviews by Aintelligence

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The Fire Tower, by Jacqueline A. Lott

3 of 5 people found the following review helpful:
A walk in the park?, July 16, 2011
by Aintelligence (Canada)
Being an enthusiastic hiker, the idea of this game really appealed to me. Not nessicerily as a game in itself, but more in the idea of creating a virtual hike. Honestly I was slightly surprised that even an attempt of a surreal hike was even made. I was curious about how much more text could picture a days hike than say, a video game.

Well, to start off, I was expecting a little bit more implementation more verbs, and examines, which in my opinion would have made the experience way more enjoyable. As it turns out there are very many herbs unimplimented (which may be just as well; it is if art anyhow), but what was really annoying was how few 'x' verbs there were. It just didn't work well having just general descriptions and a bare minimum af 'x' verbs. I wanted to be able to take in the scene, but instead, it was more 2-dimensional than i would have liked. Sort of like listening to a book read by Microsoft Sam. Blandish.

The parts that were implemented were well done though, and rather relaxing really. The descriptions were artistic enough to be fun and not a complete bore. Not a bad substitute for a hike in the park if you're stuck inside on a rainy day.

3.5 stars

Guess the Verb!, by Leonard Richardson

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful:
Robots, scientists and evil wizards , May 6, 2011
by Aintelligence (Canada)
What more can you ask for in a game but robots, scientists and evil wizards combined into a single game?  Very little.  The name of the game "guess the verb" was very unappealing to me, and likely the reason I kept putting this game off.  It sounded like some of the games which are so poorly developed that you have to enter "scale cliff" instead of "climb cliff".  Or it looked like those horrifying high school tests asking you to come up with as many similar verbs as possible. Anyhow though, due to some of the good reviews, I decided I'd give the game a shot-a long shot.

Well it wasn't at all like the scenarios above, and in fact I found it had very little to do with guessing verbs at all, or really for that matter carnivals.  It was one of those things which have very little plot or story direction, but somehow I didn't question the writing or the time I spent playing it.  It was well worth it.  There wasn't really time to get bored with the story, as the story twisted and turned surprisingly quickly.  That mixed with the witty dialogue made the experience one of a kind.  The humorous prose was well maintained throughout the story, and i certainly chuckled to myself several times, even in the help files.  (Spoiler - click to show) the bit about the needing the manual to progressing the game (mad scientist) was especially funny

Humor is for sure the prize of the piece, not really focusing on the puzzles at all.  Take it from me, the king of failing at puzzles, they were fairly elementary, generally only dealing with one or two simple tasks to finish.  No confusing maps, crazy objectives or anything.  

What I find really compelling to this game is how it is fun and enjoyable.  Perhaps a starter game for beginners because of the easy puzzles, but also fun for the seasoned professional, who would get more of the IF jokes.  Recommend it?  I'd go even a little further than recommend it.
It lacks story, characters and difficulty but somehow it works.  Bring on the stuffed aliens.

Blue Chairs, by Chris Klimas

5 of 7 people found the following review helpful:
Mysterious green liquids, May 6, 2011
by Aintelligence (Canada)
Don't do drugs.  I think that just about sums up this whole piece.  Of course the moral could be don't step inside freezers if you stop at a gas station, or for that matter it could be promoting the game Carcassonne.  Yes, it was that type of game; the type where I ask myself what the heck i'm doing inside playing this game.  I can't really see what the charm really is with it.  A guy does drugs, goes slightly delusional, and tries to get to his friend.  There that's the main storyline.

Now it isn't really that the implementation was bad at all.  It was very good.  I didn't find any kinks in in the puzzles (most of them fairly straightforward), I wasn't verb guessing, and there were multiple endings (which was nice).  However, the plot itself absolutely was incredibly confusing.  Instead of sticking with a straightforward line, the plot dives off either side into simply extraneous and pointless puzzles.  It felt almost like the author wasn't sure where to take the story and decided to confuse the issue.  It goes from trying to get a drive to your friend's to walking in an endless maze.

I think that the most frustrating thing about it was that the author expects the readers to understand a whole bunch of in-game allegories.  Many of the puzzles hinted that what you saw was referring to "the bigger picture".  (Spoiler - click to show) for example, In the freezer maze, the people that we see (Carcassonne girls, old man, monsters etc. Are surely supposed to mean something, but it made absolutely no sense and felt like I was doing busy work   there were so many questions which the story threw at me that in the end, the story made no sense, and left fifty pieces which made no sense.  Yes I know the main character is under the influence of drugs, but it just doesn't work giving readers a bunch of pointless dead ends.

I know many people are going to be annoyed at this saying that I've missed it altogether, and please leave a comment, but I really felt like this was trying to look way more deep than it really is.  I didn't like it, but due to the mixed reviews it's a detonate must play.

Byzantine Perspective, by Lea Albaugh

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful:
Aiintelligence perspective, May 5, 2011
by Aintelligence (Canada)
(Warning: This review might contain spoilers. Click to show the full review.)Needs no night vision

Impressive puzzle.  That is really what I have to say, mostly because this piece of IF doesn't have much of a storyline, just one good solid puzzle.  Ok, the main character needs to steal the chalice for art school, that we do know, but really, no character development or plot was even thought of at all.  Don't think I'm complaining here either.  These types of pieces don't really need a plot, since it is focusing on just one puzzle; I'm just saying, if you're looking for a strong plot, look elsewhere.

Well, what is here is really well done.  It is something out of the 'Italian Job' and 'mission impossible'.  Armed with your faulty night vision goggles you must break into the safe, and steal the chalice.  Although it sounds simple, the big catch is that the images you see aren't of the rooms you're in, but of different rooms.  (best just not to ask at all).  I found it very entertaining trying to get a bearing on where I was actually in the museum.  The clues are skillfully arranged around the rooms, designed to confuse, but be fair.  For about twenty minutes it was mission impossible for me as I blindly walked around hitting walls. However, really the puzzle was actually rather simple once I finally figured what I was supposed to do.  Simple, but devilish.

*sigh*. The time has fallen upon us...  Implementation.  The one weakness I found in the work was that certain parts were poorly implemented.  (Spoiler - click to show) one example was that the piece of paper in the inventory.  All that it says is to push the button on the glasses.  Presumably the character would already have read it before the heist.  What's more is that you cannot press the button before reading the note, which I found both frustrating and pointless. .  This, as well as the very few examinable objects, made this piece fall short.

Still great puzzle and definitely recommendable if you have some spare time.


Reverberations, by Russell Glasser

3 of 6 people found the following review helpful:
Gigantic rabid gerbils, February 8, 2011
by Aintelligence (Canada)
Have you ever been just leaving town when you are blocked by gigantic rabid gerbils? Well, if not, it is a horrible feeling. The same kind of hopeless feeling you get when you play a game which is well... Far out!

Well, don't get me wrong, I thought this game was rather humerous, with it's extreme implausibility, Quirky characters, horrifying villains (ok, well not that horrifying), and the hilarious puzzles. It isn't a game either which pretends to be serious. No, it laughs at it's characters, puzzles, and setting, all the way through, not taking itself seriously. It was definitely fun and and relaxing to play this game. It was nice to take a break from 'serious'. If and into something just enjoyable.

*sigh* Well, I said it was fun, and I said it was enjoyable, but this time has come...
What I found very frustrating about the game was the puzzles. Sure some of them were smooth, and fitting, but the majority...not so much. It was a 'read the author's mind to win the prize' type of moment. Of course I'm not really a practiced In telepathy, and even if I were, I don't know I would be able the read this guy's mind. Yes, the puzzle's solutions were obscure, and silly (the silly part was ok though), and I died quite a few times before I found, " oh! He wants me to do that?!?". Author's rules though, maybe I'm complaining because I was a pancake several times.

The last thing which I thought was poorly implemented was the sense of time in the game.
(Spoiler - click to show) I walked out of the store and the riot appeared. When I walked back in though, the store had already been trashed. Ok, maybe I'm hard to please, but couldn't there be an extra line of code which says people went in and trashed the store?

So there you have it, the good, the bad and the ugly (guido). If you have some minutes to spare, do play it.

Snake, by Anonymous

2 of 4 people found the following review helpful:
The snakes were high on this one, January 30, 2011
by Aintelligence (Canada)
Sometimes pre-judging games is an ok thing, like I did with this one. The generic title 'snake' and the minimal description was faily bland to say the least. However, the site this is off of has a four and a half star rating to it, so I decided to give it a try. The reason it had the large star rating I think was due to the code-not the game.

Ok so the story takes place in a castle where a giant green snake has destroyed your kingdom. Well, that part was original. However the story afterwards can hardly even be considered a story at all. It involves just trudging around the castle doing various 'puzzles', and trying to find the infamous green snake. Not surprisingly it is very straight forward. There are few objects, even fewer 'examine' commands, and the puzzles are just a little bit unfitting. For one thing, you die if you do any of the puzzles the wrong way. I'll admit that the deaths are very amusing largely due to the pure randomness of their nature. You'll be asking yourself, " how can you die like that?". Furthermore, the puzzles are very unfitting for the setting. Most of them are just guessing games, but there are a few which need to be (ever so briefly) thought out.

It's almost a good thing this game is so short with only a few rooms. The beginner may like it, or it may drive them from ever playing if again.

(Spoiler - click to show) if you do play it, try to find the secret passage

A Dark and Stormy Entry, by Emily Short

2 of 4 people found the following review helpful:
Writers block, January 30, 2011
by Aintelligence (Canada)
Ok, I'll admit right now that I'm not a huge fan of cyoa adventures at all. I my opinion they ask you to do two things, and then you end up doing something completely different than you wanted. Unlike traditional cyoa, this one is likeably different because instead of dying when you choose a wrong path, you just restart and can easily get back to the same place. Another thing the story was fairly good at representing was the difficulty of writing your first few sentences or paragraphs, and how frustrating it can sometimes be.

However, the game seemed to me lacking in several respects. For one, I thought that the humor all throughout the game was at times forced. There were some places where I found the writing funny, but others just didn't work where they were. The 'writer's block' joke was a little bit overused in this case. Another fault in the game was how similar all of the paths you took were. They consisted of "sentence, problem, resolution, sentence, problem, resolution, etc." and indeed sometimes a ***the end*** came before the first resolution. It was a little too repetitive in the who story structure for my sake, and got quite repetitive after a while. Especially the endings were mainly the same.

Ok, at the beginning of the review I was poised to give a 2 star, but looking back I think it deserves a three star. 'a dark and stormy entry' was not bad, but just average for even a cyoa game.

Shade, by Andrew Plotkin

2 of 8 people found the following review helpful:
Shades of black and white?, January 28, 2011
by Aintelligence (Canada)
This is such a controversial game in so many different ways that I felt the need to weigh in my thoughts. I'll get this straight from the beginning so there's no confusion later. This game was in my mind an incredibly put together game. Arguably the best of Andrew Plotkin (although several others come to mind as well).

It is hard to write a review on this game without giving the whole story up, but I'll do my best.
I think that the two main strengths of the game are all related to character, and the links which are created throughout the game. Yes it's confusing and I played it twice to see all that I could learn (although I'm sure I could get more from it in my fourth or fifth time playing it.), but between these two elements, the game is worth the time.

The character is reLly the part of the plot in which I hate to spoil. I will say that plotkin, has really worked hard on making genuine emotion within the character. Every emotion is set out so well, (Spoiler - click to show) from genuine surprise, to a certain shrouded fear, to crazed terror and the downright craziness. the character not only has rapid changes of emotions, but I similarly was drawn into the story and experienced a wide range of emotions and wierdness. (Spoiler - click to show) of course it is the brain of the character which is in the end the most chilling part...

Secondly, the major strength of this piece is how, like a good puzzle, everything relates to each other in a dim, but in the end understandable, way. I think it is that dim sense that something isn't right even at the beginning of the adventure that was extremely compelling. Even further was how seemingly unexplainable things happened and felt vaguely related all
of the time. It really kept me on the edge of my seat. Many have said that it gets really tedious after a while of playing. Personally (maybe i'm just weird) I liked the timing of it very well. Nothing was forced, and it gave me a time to build up the suspense. (Spoiler - click to show) which for me started at the 'strange' vacuum scene.

I didn't really find too many weaknesses with this game, except maybe for the Different parts of the room which I wasn't very fond of. I will say this, it's very well done. Play it and play it more than once.

Suveh Nux, by David Fisher

5 of 6 people found the following review helpful:
alohomora, January 17, 2011
by Aintelligence (Canada)
I've played a lot of one-room puzzles, and most have something completely different to get out. Suveh Nux really utilizes the one room space with some good puzzles with few objects. In fact the player only has four or five objects to deal with while playing the game, most being scraps of paper, but the implementation of those objects is well done, with possibly the best magical system I've really seen.

First thing's first; if you're looking for a story, look elsewhere, but if a good solid puzzle is what you need, this one-room adventure is short, but splendid. I'll admit, when you first find yourself face to face with the puzzle ahead, it seems overwhelming. well, the first few tasks are simple, but once you get into the heart of the game (the magic) things get not so much difficult as confusing. I had to use the hint system because of all the confusing elements which are in the adventure. However, the magic itself is actually rather easy and straightforward, and didn't really prove to be a problem after the beginning.

The whole system was brilliantly implemented so to be smooth and very sleek look to it. The magic worked like a charm wery nicely without any difficulties, and the extra commands made the game extra special. The only thing I can think of that I wish it was is longer. I think it would be very nice to have a longer adventure with this magic, and maybe shed some light on the mysterious intruder...

Hoist Sail for the Heliopause and Home, by Andrew Plotkin

5 of 6 people found the following review helpful:
heliopause again, home again, lickity-split, January 16, 2011
by Aintelligence (Canada)
Creativity is one of the most important things to remember about in IF, and like other games Plotkin has made, the creativity wfas very evident from the beginning. Of course being a trek fan (and basically any other scyfi show out there excluding vampires), the universe created is unlike anything I've seen in my IF, with sails, strange creatures and exploration.

I suppose what struck me first about this, was that it wasn't a combat mission like most space adventures are. Instead, it utilized the exploration component of space. Furthermore, the exploration isn't simple south, north east, west, up, down, in, out system, but uses sails to direct the spacecraft. through a series of furrowing and unfurrowing, tightening and untightening the sails, the player can move around the universe. Of course going left and right is not possible, but the puzzles utilized well, the inability to move anywhere but straight. Furthermore, it was impressive to not how well everything was implemented in the game. There were so many commands which could be used to do each action, making the game run extremely smoothly.

plot kin, as always, makes good use of characters and storyline. Like so many of his games, everything is well thought out, and just enough information is given so the player can fill in the rest using their own imaginations. Quite frankly, the descriptions in the game were done so to give the player a sense of awe at the beautiful universe around them, and let them picture it mostly themselves. The character was a little on the bleak side, but i think enough was known about him, and his excitement of the unknown was very clear.

I'll say it right now that I absolutely hate mazes with a passion. I've always hated mazes (for an obvious reason), and I didn't really think I'd ever like them. However this game has a brilliant maze that I even enjoyed. I don't want to spoil it because it is so well done, but I will say this: the maze was interesting because it took skill to maneuver through it and it wasn't just guesswork the whole time, which I just love in a maze. As for most of the puzzles in the game, they are not difficult, but instead very interesting and fitting in this story.

I loved this game and I'd recommend other players to go to "the heliopause, and Beyond"!


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