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Reviews by Aintelligence

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The Fire Tower, by Jacqueline A. Lott

4 of 6 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 8 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

3 of 9 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

7 of 8 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"!

Glass, by Emily Short

8 of 10 people found the following review helpful:
saw right through this one! just kidding, January 10, 2011
by Aintelligence (Canada)
Emily Short always has a knack of spinning fairy tales into a fantastic, twisted story. Glass is no exception. Instead of completely spinning the story (like Alabaster for example), the story is unique because instead of playing Cinderella, or the prince, or even the stepmother, the viewpoint is through the family parrot.

Even with the shortness of the story, the characters were well crafted and developed throughout. Through the whole game, the characteristics of the characters really come to life with the writing. Very quirky writing helps keep the story's plot with idle, but humorous chitchat creating a good backdrop. It is also short and charming enough that I played it numerous times.

The game is short and has a fairly simple idea, but the story itself is remarkably complex. Instead of puzzlezs or mazes, the story is entirely based on the powers of speech, in this case from a bird. It is really incredible to see the imagination put into this making a few simple phrases from the bird can cause so many different outcomes. Phrases are not exactly many, but there are enough provided, that no story will be completely the same. Also helpful (but ot really nessicery because of the short length), is the phrase hints which tell you what phrase may work here. Of course they do provide a way to find as many outcomes as possible.

Not too much was changed in this fairy tale, but with the extra backdrop, well crafted character and unique perspective, it was something new and exciting. Might I add it was very 'glassy'.

1981, by Anonymous

6 of 8 people found the following review helpful:
Skeleton of a game, January 6, 2011
by Aintelligence (Canada)
I was expecting a game with a lot more charm, genius, and originality, because of the author, but instead I discovered an IF grave. It isn't as if this game doesn't have potential either. The story could definitely be developed upon with the style he is so good at, but the truth is, the story wasn't developed further, and the frame is all that is there.

In the first place, the story was extremely linear. No use of the brain was needed at all to complete the adventure. And being linear isn't a bad thing (indeed such games as Photopia are linear but spectacular), but such a story cannot be so restricted that It doesn't matter what you do. Descriptions were bland and rather tasteless with very little to look at except just what the author wanted you to do, and indeed there were very little objects or actions which could be used.

Characters were one thing the story did a fairly neat job on, especially the protagonist. The knowledge of the protagonist was well structured and developed to give you a slight chill at being this person. Other characters though, were not developed and remained 2 dimensional throughout. The game could have been quite something, but as for now: R.I.P.

Pick Up the Phone Booth and Aisle, by David Dyte, Steve Bernard, Dan Shiovitz, Iain Merrick, Liza Daly, John Cater, Ola Sverre Bauge, J. Robinson Wheeler, Jon Blask, Dan Schmidt, Stephen Granade, Rob Noyes, and Emily Short

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
You have migrated!, December 22, 2010
by Aintelligence (Canada)
Of the 'phone booth franchise', it's not too difficult to see that this one is the best, especially with so many people involved in the production. Like the other games, I started by lifting the booth to see what happened, and after, I got a little bit more adventurous with the phrasing. The game, although very short, was obviously very well developed with an outcome for almost anything I put. Furthermore, the outcomes of the phrases were a real riot and very witty. Unlike pick up the booth and dye, pick up the booth and die 2, and pick up the booth and dye etc. Etc. Etc., this game offers sustained amusement as opposed to a one-gag game. I often play this game when I'm bored just to see how many paths I can find. Very repayable and funny.

Along with Aisle, this game is a fun one turner to play (Spoiler - click to show)well, two at most... and should not be missed.

Photopia, by Adam Cadre

3 of 5 people found the following review helpful:
Brilliant, breathtaking, and deserving the praise. , December 20, 2010
by Aintelligence (Canada)
When I first noticed Photopia and it's popularity as an IF, I was very sceptical.  I was even more skeptical because the first part of gameplay was about two drunk guys swearing and drinking.  I thought, "Great! Another IF made in under an hour by two teens after a party.". I hardly gave it a chance at all, but continued reading to see where the fuss was about.

I can't tell you how much my heart changed during the story.  It starts out just a fragmentation of perspectives and story lines in no particular order, but as the story progresses, I became aware quite suddenly that the story had logic, thoughtfulness, and was so deep.  At certain points of the story (Spoiler - click to show) the part where the father is explaining about the stars to Alley, the place where you begin to fly, and the actual death of Alley I was really moved by the emotional writing and the ability of the writer to draw tears from me.  And yes, I admit, I did cry a few tears.

Really the one character which was focused on was Alley, but through different people (Spoiler - click to show)well of course there was also the spaceman, but that was invoked by Alley the personally changes really strengthened Alley's character, by showing her out of the eyes of many people around her.  Some argue her character is too robotic; being 'perfect' at everything and unrealistic, but I, on the other hand, do not feel this way at all.  Alley is not unrealistic at all.  The author keeps her very alive through the many perspectives.  I would argue that instead of being unrealistic, she is just not ordinary, in a world where ordinary sometimes means, well, like the two at the beginning of Photopia.  Alley's attitude and character make her not impossible, but a gem.  (Spoiler - click to show) The changing of perspectives was used very well to portray Alley, and to make us care about her death.  The story showed how unfair it was that such a person could be killed by pure carelessness, and was not only well-written, but had a strong moral

The story has few puzzles and the puzzles it does have are hardly worth being called puzzles at all.  However, in a broader perspective, the whole thing is one giant puzzle which you have to solve.  Slowly piecing the tiny bits and paragraphs, you have to interpret what is going on through a number of perspectives.  I believe that is what non-puzzle IF is all about; trying to determine the significance of the story you're reading through the characters, setting, and interaction. In my opinion,  Photopia was (and is) *the* driving force for modern non-puzzle gameplay as well as modern interest for Interactive Fiction.  I have not seen a non-puzzle IF come close to as good as Photopia, and I have certainly not played anything that is so emotional.

Photopia is (as stated in the title) Brilliant, breathtaking, and deserving the praise. 

Escape Into Fiction, by M27

1 of 3 people found the following review helpful:
Gone with the wind, December 20, 2010
by Aintelligence (Canada)
There's not to much I can say about this one except that it was so incredibly brutal to Play. There was no freedom whatsoever in the game play, the author just deciding to go wherever the heck they wanted to take the reader. Some of the puzzles were so unfair to do. They just ended being a verb guessing game, which got to be very frustrating after the millionth word combination used. I said it was bad, but with som major renovations and phrase additions it could actually be something.

Legion, by Jason Devlin

8 of 8 people found the following review helpful:
Space-tastic (ok I couldn't think of a good title), December 17, 2010
by Aintelligence (Canada)
As you can see with the rather corny title, this game had a really good impact on me. At first, I had no idea what I was getting myself into with severed arms groping around over the rocks, and was furthermore confused with "her". Was she a monster? A godess? A spirit? As I got further and further into the game, it all made so much more sense.

The beginning of the game consists of you (or us) running around trying to figure out what the heck is going on. It is evadent that something is invading your home, and you have to stop it by using your powers and changing from object to object to solve the puzzle. This I think is the charm and attraction to the game. Like a good mystery story, you start with no knowledge of what's going on, and slowly gather information before *boom* this is what's happening! It's the mysterious way the author writes which makes the story attracting. The perspective of the character (well, character-s if you want to get technical) is very primitive but really thoughtful. (Spoiler - click to show) for example, the gun is to you just a metal rod with swirling energy. legion, is one of the best mysterious writing in IF and has such unique characteristics.

Puzzles in the game are fairly straightforward. At the beginning, the puzzles especially are designed to ease you into the story, which is nice because the style is alien. After, this though, expect slightly more difficult puzzles say low-medium. Most of the puzzles involve touching objects, and transferring from one object to another to get a better advantage, but there are all sorts involved. The sudden flashbacks were confusing and appear extraneous, but in the end are quite revealing. The puzzles really are briliant, and I'd love to say much more why I love them, but I would hate to spoil completely this well crafted gem. I will say that I enjoyed the many multiple endings that there were letting you try to find as many possible.

Although there are some annoyances which make the game a little bumpy, this game is amazing.

Party Foul, by Brooks Reeves

8 of 8 people found the following review helpful:
Party pooper, December 16, 2010
by Aintelligence (Canada)
We've all been in this situation. Stuck at a dull party trying not to be rude to the hosts or the people around you, with people all around you wanting to tell you their life story. If not, this is a great way to experience the torture with out actually going to a party. Imagine that, right in the comfort of your home! Anyway, this story was really a riot to play because I've personally been in this situation (not quite on the same scale though). The humor level is well maintained, quiet, sneaky, but intelligent.

The most impressive part for me, was how well implemented the characters were through the whole adventure. All of the characters reacted to the environment around them. When you find an object or complete a part of the puzzle, the characters act accordingly in both speech and their actions. ( I was fairly amused when Beth blamed everything on me) although the characters generally talked between themselves, the conversations varied, and although Beth's favorite topic was her pregnancy (and all of the characters had their favorite topics), the speech was non-repetitive with characters in the room jumping from subtopic to subtopic with a seemingly endless conversation.(Spoiler - click to show) example is the host worrying what your husband will do after you turn off the power Not only was the speech good, but (Spoiler - click to show) the actions of the characters were just as well. I was pleasantly surprised when I dropped my drink, the host took a few turns to clean it. well done.

The puzzles were very unique and strange. The logic and reasoning of the puzzles was slightly off, but in a quirky sort of way. Some of the puzzles required a lot of searching for the answer, then hitting yourself when you finally found it. They were certainly out of the ordinary and at times difficult to find, but once you got even the slightest lead on how to perform the task, the puzzles became quite easy. I liked a lot how the host would take objects away from you which you needed for a puzzle, and it caused me to frantically try to solve the puzzle before she took the objects away.

This is a nice short game so errrr... Cheers!

Hoosegow, by Ben Collins-Sussman, Jack Welch

7 of 8 people found the following review helpful:
It ain't bad I recon, December 13, 2010
by Aintelligence (Canada)
I was pleasantly surprised by this adventure. Taking place in a jail called hoosegow, after you were arrested by the sheriff, the story is that you have to get out of the jailhouse before your hanging tomorrow.

This game, like a few others, has a real spin on the classic speech. In everything the characters did, "scruffy, unshaven, slippery, uneducated cowboys In tattered vests" were written all over them. The author used southern slang for just about everything from "that ain't no verb I got knowledge of" to " is you talking plain English?" which significantly added to the style and story of the game.

The story is not, however, a simple 'escape the room' sort of game in which the puzzles are simple, but these puzzles involve a lot of logic, thinking and a little bit of guess the verb. I would say the puzzles were mainly fair, but there were a few spots I got hung up on because the solution was slightly obscure. However, if you really think of the puzzles in a really 'cowboy' way, they should not be too hard. What was hard though, was the numerous places where you had to play guess the verb, or even worse, guess the noun. Some spots could really use some more real editing. It really took away from the gameplay, I think, because I would get stuck in places where advance was impossible without the magic verb.

Cheeseshop, by David Welbourn

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful:
I'm just crackers about cheese!, December 11, 2010
by Aintelligence (Canada)
I had no idea interactive fiction could possibly be like this. It Was puzzelless (unless you consider rattling off all the types of cheese you've ever heard of), basically one room, but hilarious as ever. I was laughing so hard during the story, for the writing was fabulously done and I could just see John cleese in that role. The game has no bugs that I'm aware of, and was really smoothly run and designed. Hints were provided (and used by me) when you absolutely could not think of any more kinds of cheese. I especially enjoyed the AMUSE at the end of the game, adding classic python ideas

If you are a Monty Python fan to any degree, play this game

Robot Finds Kitten, by David Griffith, Leonard Richardson

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful:
Not five stars but not a cat-astrophe, December 11, 2010
by Aintelligence (Canada)
This is a really fun little game if you're ever bored. You can select varying levels of difficulty to play, but really it's not a very hard game at all. I consists of a robot moving around a black screen examining all of the letters (objects) until it finds the cat. It's very simple with just letters or characters representing the objects in the world, but it's fun and repeatable.
The major thing I found wrong with it was that the control keys were really crazy with no apparent logic to them at all. They were in no particular order on the keyboard and you'd have to click around to finally find the direction you are after. Other than this major fault though, it was not bad

Make It Good, by Jon Ingold

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful:
A bit sketchy? Nah!, December 4, 2010
by Aintelligence (Canada)
If you've ever read the comic books Calvin and Hobbes, then you may agree with me that the protagonist reminds me enormously of "Tracer Bullet". A shady, (Spoiler - click to show) corrupt alcoholic private eye who spends his time solving cases and then deciding not to reveal the guilty because he was 'a close friend'. Yes, the characters are so alike in character and thought, I could have sworn Bill Watterson wrote this.

Really, all the characters were like this in the story; each with something to hide (except Joe who would rather do crossword puzzles) which made this mystery a classic. What was even more interesting was trying to find more information about yourself to see what was happening in the house. No other detective stories (encountered to date) has this, instead completely focusing on the other characters. In short, the characters were beautifully crafted.

The story was so original. It took me 4 tries to finally see what I had to do to win the game, because before, I was chasing a million red herrings. That's the beauty of the game though, I think. You will run through the game with no result several times before you get the feel of the characters, setting and plot, and the solution just slams into your head. Really, the whole game is a massive puzzle, designed to keep you on your toes and to anticipate every future move, as well as adapting quickly when you find yourself stuck. to those who did it on their first try.

I could talk almost all day of how good and entertaining and puzzling the story was, but I'll leave with one more point. The story was not just a good piece of work on all four cylinders but also the people (not referring to their personalities at the moment). Like many mystery adventures, you had to be at the right place at the right time to win in some parts, but the characters were really sophisticated in the programming side of things. A lot of effort was put into them to make them know a variety of topics to ask or tell them about, and I found discussions were easily carried out.

I'll just say this: If you are interested even a little in mystery, play this.

Attack of the Yeti Robot Zombies, by Řyvind Thorsby

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful:
Are we there yeti?, December 4, 2010
by Aintelligence (Canada)
This game was a rather strange game on many plains. It, was very relaxed and humorous attitude to it, as if it was just written by a bored guy on a hot summer day in errr, Norway. The jokes were slapped in from all directions (Spoiler - click to show) you dump coffee on the man, don't you know coffee is BAD FOR YOUR HEALTH??!! and very dry humor all through. Not quite my type of humor, but even I laughed at the somewhat dry jokes.

The obvious lack of revision did, however cause the story to be less than what it could have been. The story especially suffered because no examine/search had been implemented. Sure, you could complete the story, but the lack of 'examine' hurt the story's character.

The other main issue i had with the game was that the combat was too easy. It's tagged as a puzzle shooter, but there were no puzzles involved (like backup etc.) which affected the difficulty of the combat. It was just 'shoot yeti' and it died. The puzzle combat could possibly refer to the end boss, but even so, I was expecting a little more puzzle.

So if you're looking for a simple game, with a weak plot and characters, but rather funny, this is a good game for you. I would recommend to at least give it a try.

zork, buried chaos, by Brad Renshaw

5 of 6 people found the following review helpful:
It's chaos and thank goodness it's buried, December 3, 2010
by Aintelligence (Canada)
I played this on recommendation from a friend who just started playing. Right from the beginning, this so-called adventure was a massive flop. None of the puzzles made any practical sense, for example (Spoiler - click to show) why the heck did you have to turn the dial to 4 of all numbers to open the door? and you were just strolling around some cave with a whole bunch of useless codes and keys. Sure...the creators of this cave knew some day somebody would get trapped, so they decided to booby trap it. This is another suffering of the story, the fact that the setting and the story make absolutely no sense whatsoever. If there are any beginners out there who are thinking about this game, don't play it!

What-IF?, by David Ledgard

1 of 5 people found the following review helpful:
Rather watch grass grow, December 2, 2010
by Aintelligence (Canada)
Ok, this author maybe needs to realize that all of what was described did not happen, and I personally don't want to spend the day reading bogus historical essays.
Oh yeah and this really isn't a game
Why is this on here?

Metamorphoses, by Emily Short

4 of 6 people found the following review helpful:
Ah... I love a bit of metaphysics in the morning, November 30, 2010
by Aintelligence (Canada)
Related reviews: Puzzles
Not only is this one of Emily Short's best works ( along with bronze, check it out), but this is a sure candidate for one of the best adventures ever. The story was bleak to say the least, with just a few hints here and there, but it works wonders for the mysterious story. You know that you're a slave sent by your master for some mission, but you slowly accumulate the story as you go along. And yes, it's one heck of a story too. Brilliant characters, brilliant story, great puzzles and the philosophy was top.
The main character, a slave is relatively unknown except for the flashbacks we have in the game. The game though focuses more on the puzzles and the philosophy though than the character, but the little we do know bought the protagonist really strengthens the plot.
The puzzles are really neat in many ways. They fit the magic that you feel in the story, in the sense that none of the puzzles feel forced, but feel like they should be there. Also unlike many adventures, the puzzles are solvable in many different ways, so the game is repeatable. These puzzles are genius. However even with the 5 star rating, not everything was perfect. I found that two puzzles in particular (Spoiler - click to show)the oven and the ball were impossible if you did a small bit wrong. Ah well, I saved. In short though, the puzzles were fair.
On a side note, I loved the Plato mixed in with the story, well actually the main part of the story, aka. The 5th element. Makes me want to read Plato again.

And the Waves Choke the Wind, by Gunther Schmidl

1 of 3 people found the following review helpful:
Beam me up Scotty, there's no intelligent life on this island, November 29, 2010
by Aintelligence (Canada)
This adventure is actually pretty cool in concept. You've just been set afloat by a bunch of pirates and find yourself bound in a tiny life raft with an island just in sight. The story seems really good here as well as the characters. There are a few puzzles, not too difficult, but there is hardly any control over your character except a small bit in the middle which I thought was fine. The cliffhanger was well executed, but there is just one killer that makes this game a 2 star. Ok this prologue was made in 2000. So much for the full version. Honestly just don't play this game unless you want to be tortured by the missing end.

Damnatio Memoriae, by Emily Short

4 of 5 people found the following review helpful:
Veni, vidi, vici, November 29, 2010
by Aintelligence (Canada)
I've always been a fan of Emily Short adventures because they're so creative. This is a great example of sheer creativeness which appears in all of her stories. The Emperor Augustus has recently died and tuberous is his 'successor' but Tiberious wants you dead because of the incredible power you hold. So the story goes that you have to destroy all evidence of the powers you hold which will incriminate you.
Ok so it's a one roomer ( well, technically 2) but the storyline is really well done and there are so many endings to choose from that I spent at least half an hour.
The 'magic' (Spoiler - click to show) link un link and enslave ( for those who don't want to know, but the commands are also accessible in help), was to me very puzzling at first, but once I finally understood how everything worked, it came easily. Once you get the hang of the format, the time limit is more than enough time. It's really entertaining to see how many endings you can come up with through the differant magic strategies you use. There was something wrong though... I would really love to see a much longer game of this

An Act of Murder, by Christopher Huang

4 of 6 people found the following review helpful:
Hercule Poirot I presume?, November 28, 2010
by Aintelligence (Canada)
Related reviews: Mystery, murder
Let me start off by saying that I am a detective story buff. I read everything from agatha Christie to dorthy l. Sayers, so I was rather impressed by this adventure in a number of ways. The setting itself is very remminisciant of many mystery novels; taking place in a large mansion, looking over a cliff into the ocean, and of course a body has been found at the bottom of the cliff. The story is short and not too difficult, but the story changes each time you restart making it very re-playable at least the first few times. The story itself feels rather like an Agatha Christie short story, with five suspect in the house, and the musical adds a bit of originality. Don't expect a " Roger Acroyd" ending though.

I'll first start with the one thing I especially disliked. I felt that the characters had no feeling at all that the murder happened. They sat around playing pool like usual or reading the newest mystery novel, and not once did anybody show the slightest remorse that there had been a murder. I mean sure, some of them should have been uncaring, but a story should also have some who are Teary eyed. This in my opinion really took away from the characters.

Of course I thought most everything else was well done. I've played mystery adventures before which are brutally tough because of time constraints and obscure evidence, but both in this case were good. An adequate amount of time was given, and evidence took some thought, but was not too difficult. It is a game about your next move, meaning that you have to think 'what next' after everything you do.

I also loved the notebook. It made my life so much easier.

The Enterprise Incidents, by Brian Desilets

3 of 4 people found the following review helpful:
Interesting short story, November 27, 2010
by Aintelligence (Canada)
Related reviews: School, short
This is a short story about delivering candy grams to all of the classes In the school.  The adventure is different from most adventures, designed not with a gripping plot, or suspenseful, or difficult, but designed to ease beginners into interactive fiction.  
( side note: I was impressed at how non-linear the story was, letting you go in any order you wished)
There were two things though which could have been slightly better.

Firstly, the so-called puzzles were just word problems which had to be solved, and actually I thought that was a cool idea, but those were the only puzzles (except finding who to give the cards to but these are hardly puzzles) I thought that the riddles were ingenious, one relating largely to interactive fiction, but as I said interactive fiction needs puzzles which involve the use of examining objects and using them to their full potential. 

  The story includes a small middle school romance (oh those days) but all in all the story is relatively plotless and non-descript.  This I feel is almost too bad.  Sure,it's for beginners, but plot and characters are really what interactive fiction is all about, so it would have been nice to expose the players to a decent plot. 

All in all though, it was enjoyable and a good example of interactive fiction originality.

Critical Breach, by Grey

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful:
Interesting premise, if a bit confusing, November 27, 2010
by Aintelligence (Canada)
Related reviews: Sci-fi, horror, short, monsters
I'm going to say right now that I really enjoyed this adventure. It's short- only two or three rooms- and few puzzles, but it's very well developed and maintained to keep a little horror in the main character. I will also say that the story is rather confusing during parts, but In my opinion, this adds significantly to the story. It's designed so that you are in constant 'fear' and in complete bewilderment, not knowing why things happened or where the heck you are. I mean come on, you're in a mysterious lab with frightening beasts, locked doors and other instruments, so it's bound to be a somewhat creepy story with unexplained happenings.

Critical breach is very linear, short and simple though. Puzzles are obviously aimed at the beginner so don't expect too much. What the story does have though, is fairly well done. The beginner will be pleased with the variety of tasks needed to complete the adventure, from finding a way to 'escape' the mysterious beginning to doing simple puzzles, and using the limited tools to solve problems. This adventure gives a toolbox of activities which will be needed for future, harder adventures.

It's no zork, but critical breach is perfect for the IF beginner

Backup, by Gregory Weir

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful:
Well done, November 26, 2010
by Aintelligence (Canada)
Related reviews: spy, bot, kill, Linear
My first combat game I've played in interactive fiction, and I quite enjoyed it. The adventure is very short and linear, but somehow manages to fabricate a nice little story in such a short space.
at the beginning I'll admit I was overwhelmed with all of the instruments, but as it turns out, only the drones were needed to win.
I was really impressed by the fighting format. In time you would learn all of the hints which pertained to the move your opponent was going to make. It took a few dead drones, but eventually it got pretty easy.
This is a great game for those just beginning the fighting format of interactive fiction, but honestly it would have helped if it were longer and had even one or two simple puzzles. I struggled a bit with the terminology at the beginning of the game, and it refuses to except some simple commands.

All in all though, it was well done and recommendable to the begginner

Textfire Golf, by Adam Cadre

1 of 4 people found the following review helpful:
Good if not on ipad, November 21, 2010
by Aintelligence (Canada)
Related reviews: Golf, other
Great game, and a good idea. You're out with your buddies on the golf course trying to beat them. It's challenging, but really fun and entertaining as well as re-playable. I really like how this game is away from the regular format of an adventure; it's nice to tAke a break.
The only thing I disliked about this game was that although it is downloadable for the iPad, it lags way to much on the spacebar. For a regular computer though, it's great

All Roads, by Jon Ingold

8 of 10 people found the following review helpful:
Good idea, bad result, November 21, 2010
by Aintelligence (Canada)
Related reviews: Bad, linear, roads, time
'wow'! What a great idea' I thought, 'an adventure all about switching through time'!
Turns out that this was horribly developed.
1. The characters were so flat it wasn't funny. The characters were usually only seen once or twice, not nearly enough time to do anything with their personalities. The main character was so hopelessly pathetic, and ill developed. He spent most of his time getting captured, moping, then trying to escape, and doing nothing of free will. There is no fun in that.
2. This story was too linear. I'm actually a fan of fairly linear adventures, but this was pitiful. There were hardly any puzzles in this whole work and to make matters worse, you got no control over what the character does. You do one obvious thing and it leads you to another obvious thing. It was infuriating how every action you did, it took you on a completely scripted part.
3.the plot was not terrible though, but take out the character dimension, and the free will and you get nothing

Pytho's Mask, by Emily Short

3 of 5 people found the following review helpful:
Brilliant from start to finish, November 21, 2010
by Aintelligence (Canada)
Related reviews: spy, romance, pytho, Talk
I thoroughly enjoyed this adventure from Emily Short. She sets up the adventure and myths very well, creating a world which is mysterious and spectacular. The adventure is very linear, with few puzzles, but the mystery and suspense keeps you on edge the whole time you play it.
Characters in this story are sure to please most readers as they did to me. I found half way through that I was attached to some of the characters while others I frowned when they were in the room. That was really a great attraction to me because many other adventures have bland 2d characters. The story included a lot of talking to other characters which developed them nicely. The short romance also added a nice new plane in the story Which was well done.
The mythical sense was also well thought out, but I would have preferred it to be a little further in front.
All in all a fabulous story

The Acorn Court, by Todd S. Murchison

2 of 4 people found the following review helpful:
Good starter, November 21, 2010
by Aintelligence (Canada)
Related reviews: beginner, Acorn
Although I am not new to interactive fiction, I wish I had started with this one. It would have saved me a lot of pain.
Although the game has no plot and just one room, it is great for beginners to learn the basics of if. Really enjoyed the few minutes I played

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