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Ratings and 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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Space Punk Moon Tour, by J_J

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful:
A big, illustrated, intricate, futuristic Quest game with implementation issues, January 10, 2019
by MathBrush
Related reviews: about 2 hours
This game is cool. Itís illustrated and animated. Itís big. It has some real time events, great worldbuilding, and rich settings.

Unfortunately, it suffers in implementation. There are huge numbers of implemented items. Actions can be difficult to guess. I constantly found myself struggling against the parser and the system, not understanding what was wrong.

I recommend checking out the first few scenes to get a feel for this interesting game.

I Should Have Been That I Am, by E. K. Wagner

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
A short game about autonomy and robots with one big moment, January 7, 2019
by MathBrush
Related reviews: less than 15 minutes
Zarf/Andrew Plotkin has said before that he thinks about a certain interaction he wants players to experience in a game, and then builds the game around that.

This game was built around one interaction at the end. Itís a cool interaction, but the rest of the game doesnít do enough to build up to and support this special interaction at the level it deserves. Itís like having a small 1-tier cake with a huge crystal wedding topper that it canít quite support.

The cards were a nice visual feature: this is set in a futuristic Vegas casino, and you can see the cards being dealt.

Overall, this shows a high level of craftsmanship, and I anticipate that a longer game by this author would be great.

Bi Lines, by Naomi Z (as Norbez)
A shortish, nice-looking Twine game about bisexuality, January 6, 2019
by MathBrush
Related reviews: less than 15 minutes
Norbez has written quite a few games over the years now, including several IFComp games, and itís clear that their style is progressing, adapting, and improving. This is the best Norbez game Iíve seen, and definitely one of the best ďPSAĒ games Iíve seen. Just like Depression Quest for depression or Hana Feels for self-harm, Bi Lines is meant to help you consider what itís like to be a bisexual man in an unacceptably society.

What made this piece work for me was the presentation. Nice chalk/like effects when you click on choices, smooth writing, and a supernatural setting with a reporter talking to ghosts make an excellent frame over the deeper charcterization choices and the central narrative.

This game takes place over three days, but is still fairly short. It contains some strong profanity in a scene or two. I recommend this game.

Nightmare Adventure, by Laurence Emms, Vibha Laljani
A small game with a custom parser about magical dreams, January 6, 2019
by MathBrush
Related reviews: 15-30 minutes
Despite my low star rating,this game succeeds in (what I believe is) itís authorsí goal. It seems like their intent was to write a complete parser game from scratch that had an interesting storyline, and theyíve done so.

This game is pure fantasy, with mysterious ailments and amulets. Itís very short. The parser lacks almost all conveniences of modern parsers, such as standard actions and abbreviations and robust keyword detection.

The game is short, but has some puzzles I personally found enjoyable, as well as some nice dream/star imagery.

For the IF player used to playing Inform games, I would not recommend this. But as someone who has tinkered around with parser programming, I know how hard this was to make, so the authors did a good job.

DEVOTIONALIA, by G. Grimoire
A short dark fantasy game about an ancient religion, December 24, 2018
by MathBrush
Related reviews: 15-30 minutes
I beta tested this game.

Devotionalia is a shortish but replayable fantasy game that is all about atmosphere and contemplation. It is a choice-based game, but not immediately recognizable as Twine, due to the extreme customization: graphics, music, many variants of link types, and more.

The game comes with a helpful instruction page. Essentially, you are a priest of an ancient religion, the gods almost forgotten. You wish to learn from them, and thus you make your devotions.

There's not an action-driven story or a big cast of characters. It's a somber reflection on life. If you've ever seen the painting "The Monk by the Sea" by Caspar David Friedrich, this game is essentially the interactive fiction version of that painting.

Anno 1700, by Finn RosenlÝv

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful:
A time travel pirate game in Adrift, December 21, 2018
by MathBrush
Related reviews: 2-10 hours
Anno 1700 is an ambitious and sprawled-out pirate game involving two timelines, multiple NPCs, and a large map.

As is often the case with Adrift games, the game works well with the walkthrough but has trouble for someone without it. Very specific actions need to be guessed, and actions that seem like they would be easy (such as communicating with your base) cause trouble.

Playing this with the walkthrough, though, was enjoyable.

Edit: Several people pointed out to me that this was written in Adrift, not Quest, and I apologize for the mistake!

Conjuring and Prophecy Unit, by Eric Gallagher and Acacia Gallagher

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
A gauntlet-style illustrated game about troubleshooting magical tech, December 20, 2018
by MathBrush
Related reviews: 15-30 minutes
This game is listed as educational, but I found it to be amusing and well-written as well.

You play as a character being asked to repair a sort of magical computer, with a crystal ball instead of a screen and an abacus and magic soup as part of the internal units.

The style seems more like old CYOA books, with most paths leading off to death. I think a 'back-up' button or more cluing could make this less frustrating. As it was, I was put off by the frequent deaths and didn't finish the game. But the writing was enjoyable, and the illustrations were very well done.

Adventures with Fido, by Lucas C. Wheeler

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
A big, sprawling twine game with crazy colors about a dog, December 19, 2018
by MathBrush
Related reviews: about 2 hours
I bounced off of this game during IFComp. It has white text on a light blue background, and occasionally has combinations even harder to read (like lime green on light blue). Also, it has most of its content locked behind actions that take multiple in-day actions without promise of reward.

But now, going through slowly after the comp, and especially using the walkthrough, this is a great game. Having a real-time pegasus race in the clouds, exploring haunted houses and underground worlds, there's a lot of fun to be had.

It's all disconnected and a bit weird, but that's some of the fun of IF. I just wish there was an option to change the background color.

Dream Pieces 2, by Iam Curio
A word-puzzle game involving breaking a word up into syllables, December 18, 2018
by MathBrush
Related reviews: 15-30 minutes
This game is a sequel to an earlier IFComp game, Dream Pieces.

Both games consists of rooms where you are given a few highlighted objects. These highlighted objects are words that can be broken up into their syllables and recombined.

This game centers on creating and using doors and other exits. I found it clever and interesting. The Quest engine was a little blocky and chunky (for its own reasons, not the game's) and I didn't feel emotionally invested in the game, but as a puzzle game it was effective and fun.

Eunice, by Gita Ryaboy

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
Psychology in a metaphorical parser game, December 18, 2018
by MathBrush
Related reviews: about 1 hour
This parser game has an intriguing concept: provide psychological therapy while playing a game.

You play in a metaphorical and dreamlike world, with trolls in houses and random cookware scattered everywhere.

The therapy occurs in the gameplay: you are told relaxation techniques and other tips, asked to exercise them in-game, and generally work on laughter, dance, happiness and fixing things.

This game has a lot of implementation trouble, both with guess-the-verb and unclear instructions. This gets in the way of the relaxation experience, and makes me less likely to play again in the future.


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