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Reviews by MathBrush

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View this member's reviews by tag: 15-30 minutes 2-10 hours about 1 hour about 2 hours IF Comp 2015 Infocom less than 15 minutes more than 10 hours Spring Thing 2016
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Ombre, by Andrew Plotkin

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful:
Effective in any language. Chilling., August 26, 2019
by MathBrush
Related reviews: 15-30 minutes
This game is the French translation (by Hugo Labrande and Monsieur Bouc) of Shade. I found it very useful to use Emily Short's French IF manual (translated by Eric Forgeot).

The translation is implemented very well, with many synonyms and verbs allowed. Due to my difficulty in completely understanding the French, I appreciated having the to-do list; it made completion much better (I had never used it in English; some of the lines made me chuckle).

A worthwhile play, both for Francophones and for others trying to learn French.

Yellow Dog Running, by Sam Kabo Ashwell

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
A terse, symbolic dark Speed IF game, August 25, 2019
by MathBrush
Related reviews: less than 15 minutes
Sam Ashwell's games always seem to be from a parallel universe where IF developed in wildly different directions. They don't 'fit in' with usual IF tropes.

In this game which quotes (and reminds me of) T.S. Eliot, you are pursuing a wounded troll across a desert while being pursued by Yellow Dog.

The feel is sort of like a mix between Stephen Kings's Dark Tower and mythology. You encounter a series of obstacles, characters you deal with through menus (reminding me of De Baron. This game reminds me of a lot of things!)

Pure symbolic obscurism can be pretentious or effective. But I'm a sucker for it, so it definitely is 'effective' here for me.

Three More Visitors , by Paul Stanley
A speed-IF based on A Christmas Carol, August 25, 2019
by MathBrush
Related reviews: 15-30 minutes
This game takes place ten years after the original Christmas Carol story. Scrooge is very happy now, and things seem to be going well.

But then a wrench is thrown into things, a murder plot is brewing, and you have to speak with the ghosts again.

The game is descriptive for a speed-IF, but it suffers from the usual speed-IF implementation flaws. I liked the story, though it was on rails. A fun little Christmas snack.

The Abbey, by Steve Blanding

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
Too many spare moving parts for my like, August 24, 2019
by MathBrush
Related reviews: 2-10 hours
This game reminds me of reviews I read for Infocom's Suspended, which suggested that the only people who would play that game were would-be air traffic controllers.

This game has much of the problems of Suspended with few of its benefits. You are in a large monastery (with few items implemented) with many, many monks (each with very little implemented) carrying out independent actions, and you have to solve a murder (which occurs after several days (where time moves constantly and always ends up pulling you to the same room (from whence everyone you might want to talk to leaves immediately after))).

This was modeled on a board game, and I think that it would indeed benefit from the visual aspect a board game would bring. I've tried playing this game on and off for over two years, but can never really get anywhere.

Party Foul, by Brooks Reeves
A difficult 4-room parser game set at a cocktail party, August 23, 2019
by MathBrush
Related reviews: about 1 hour
This game took 4th in the Jay is Games Casual Gameplay Competition #7, a competition which produced more good games than just about any other competition I've seen outside of IFComp.

You play as a woman who has been stuck talking to a bore at a cocktail party for two hours. Once he's out of the way, you have an explicit list of 3 things you have to do to escape.

Conversation plays a vital role in this game, making the characters more fun. Puzzle solutions are off the beaten track. Logical in hindsight, but difficult to come up with. It does, however, have an extensive hint system.

Gardening for Beginners, by Juhana Leinonen
A short little 'what could go wrong' game about gardening, August 23, 2019
by MathBrush
Related reviews: 15-30 minutes
This is a speed IF, so it has a lot of rough edges, but the mid-game is pretty fun.

You are a gardener who just can't handle all of the problems going on. You start out with a nice checklist of things to do, but it soon dissolves into chaos.

A lot more synonyms and actions could be implemented. But that sort of thing is exactly what separates Speed-IF from regular IF, isn't it?

Little Falls, by Alessandro Schillaci, Roberto Grassi, Simonato Enrico

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
A short drama parser game with sounds and images., August 22, 2019
by MathBrush
Related reviews: 15-30 minutes
This game has good production values. Background colors, images, sounds, real-time text, etc.

It's a drama. You play a police officer involved in a dramatic incident years in the past. Now a disturbed individual is on the loose and you have to stop them.

The story is very drama-heavy, with flashbacks, dread implications, and so forth.

The effort is here, but some of it could have been redirected in other areas. More synonyms, better hinting. And the emotions are kind of hammered in, something I've had trouble with in my own writing.

Victorian Detective, by Peter Carlson
Long choice-based Quest game with a Holmes feel, August 21, 2019
by MathBrush
Related reviews: about 1 hour
You are not, in fact, Sherlock Holmes in this game, but you are pretty similar.

In this game, you read several paragraphs of text, then make a deduction based off of it. You have to read carefully, and may require occasional google searches, but most of the choices are deducible through logic. Some, though, just seem like guesswork, which I suppose increases the replay value of the game.

You are investigating the murder of a man after being pulled off of a big bombing investigation.

I played online, and it became slower and slower until it crashed near the end.

Cat Simulator 2016, by helado de brownie
Achieves its aim: to be a small game depicting a cat's life, August 21, 2019
by MathBrush
Related reviews: less than 15 minutes
This game was one of the author's first games, and it is small and simple.

However, it matches my ratings system well. It achieves emotional impact in that it makes you think of being a cat very well. It puts you in the mindset of the cat and all the actions are things my cat does.

It's polished in its smallness, and the interactivity work well, as it doesn't feel like lawnmowering to play and the links are placed well, better than many longer works.

It's also descriptive, and that's 4 of my 5 stars right there.

Detritus, by Mary Hamilton
A variety of mechanics involving possessions, August 20, 2019
by MathBrush
Related reviews: 15-30 minutes
This game began as an experiment in different Twine mechanics. It is a game in five parts, with backgrounds and sometimes sounds.

Each part deals with your possessions, which are similar through the five parts. The people you play as seem quite different, though, unless your character is interested in both men and women and has numerous relationships, swinging back and forth between pessimism and optimism. It's possible, of course, but unlikely.

I enjoyed the game, but it felt a bit bloodless. All of the characters seemed kind of distant emotionally. But all of the scenarios are ones in which characters themselves are removed emotionally from their immediate surroundings, whether through shock or relief.

Finally, some of the background images made the text hard to read. But there is certainly something appealing about the game.

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