Home | Profile - Edit | Your Page | Your Inbox Browse | Search Games   |   Log In

Reviews by MathBrush

Infocom

View this member's profile

Show ratings only | both reviews and ratings
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
...or see all reviews by this member
Previous | 21-26 of 26 | Show All


Spellbreaker, by Dave Lebling

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful:
A gigantic epic with intensely hard puzzles. One of Infocom's hardest games, February 3, 2016
Spellbreaker must have been the inspiration for games like Mulldoon Legacy, Lydia's Heart, Jigsaw, and other intensely long puzzle fests (I feel like Curses! is slightly easier). This is Infocom's last game of the Enchanter trilogy, which follows the Zork Trilogy.

This game is incredibly long and difficult. I played to about 150 points out of 600 before turning to a walkthrough (eristic's), and most of those points I got because I had played Balances by Graham Nelson, which copied many items from Spellbreaker (to show that Inform could achieve the same results). The game is purposely murderously hard; I suggest that everyone use a walkthrough after reaching a predetermined number of points.

Magic is failing, and you must chase a mysterious figure to learn why. The game is pretty disjointed, but purposely so, much like Jigsaw, where you enter and exit various areas miraculously. It has a very different feel from Sorcerer, and especially from Enchanter, which was very easy to map and simple in its presentation.

Many people have talked about the time travel puzzle in Sorcerer, which I enjoyed, but felt a little down because there was so much hype. Unfortunately, I am now hyping the last big puzzle of Spellbreaker to you. What a puzzle; to me, it was great because it completely ties in with the game's theme of loss and ending. It is a puzzle integrated with the plot.

As a final note, I should really emphasize that this is a LONG game, 2 or 3 times as long as any other Zork or Enchanter game. When using a walkthrough, I finished each of those games in a total recorded time (not counting my numerous restarts) of about 16 minutes; this game, including several restarts to shave off the starting time, took 1 hour and 22 minutes.

I played this game on iOS's Lost Treasures of Infocom.

Enchanter, by Marc Blank, Dave Lebling
One of Infocom's best; the first game where you memorize and cast spells, February 3, 2016
Possibly inspired by the Wizard of Frobozz in Zork II,and originally intended to be Zork IV, Enchanter was my favorite Infocom game up to this point. You play an apprentice enchanter who is chosen to defeat the Warlock Krill, due to your not being a big enough threat for him to notice (like Lord of the Rings).

The main idea of Enchanter, and the entire focus of the game, is the spells. Unlike the wand in Zork II (which is described as unreliable and old-fashioned here), scrolls are copied into your spell book, and then can be cast over and over again.

There are well over a dozen spells. It was designed to give you a feel of more power than in Zork. The things you can do feel amazing.

I got up to about 150 points before consulting a walkthrough. I couldn't solve two key puzzles. One I knew what to do, but wasn't clever enough to figure it how. The other came out of left field, although I later realized that your dreams are a clue to the puzzle.

Which brings me to the one point that may be most divisive: your player's bodily needs. You constantly have to satisfy hunger, thirst, and sleep! You have a replenishable water supply, but you're toast when your food is gone.

I recommend reading the manual on NPC conversations, or one puzzle will be far too difficult.

I played this game on the iOS Lost Treasures of Infocom App.

Trinity, by Brian Moriarty
How Lewis Carrol learned to love the bomb, February 3, 2016
Trinity surprised me by being a fantasy game about nuclear weapons. I expected the game to have a sci-if feel like Jigsaw or Babel, but this game was very similar to the feel of Moriarty's other Infocom game, Wishbringer. In both games, you travel from an opening, normal world to a parallel world, where helpful animals, witches, cemeteries and grim birds await.

I loved exploring the main area of Trinity, and accessing several of the mini-areas. Brian is stunningly creative; I didn't realize until recently that he also wrote Loom, one of my favorite graphical games of all time. The sheer ingenuity of it all is wonderful.

I began running out of steam forward after visiting four of the sub areas. I went to a walkthrough, and discovered that I had forgotten to revisit some area with new equipment, and hadn't searched some scenery items that I didn't know we're searchable. This opened up two more mini areas, which I explored a little bit more before using a walkthrough the rest of the game.

The final area was a beast, although everything is fairly well hinted at. Or not... In any case, I loved this game. I can't help but enjoy this author's worldview.

Wishbringer, by Brian Moriarty

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
Infocom game for beginnners with a light world/dark world concept, February 3, 2016
This Infocom game is directed towards younger players but is appropriate for adults; in fact, the game is still very challenging. The fantasy elements are charming and fun (and sometimes pretty creepy): an army of boots, a witch who steals cats, ghosts who murder you...

All the puzzles can be solved with sufficient exploration and minor logic; I missed a few areas and items in my exploring, though, because the world is rich and beautiful.

As far as I can tell, the game is for beginners because there are only the n,e,s,w directions (no ne, se, nw, or sw); most puzzles have multiple solutions; most items are easily visible (except for the most important one); and death won't come unless you have been repeatedly warned.

The game is split into two sections; one where the player explores a quaint village with minor annoyances (such as locked gates and a poodle); and a second section where the village has turned dark and evil (with murderous ghosts and a hellhound).

As many have stated, this is a memorable game, more so than most of the Infocom games I have played, or interactive fiction in general. As usual, I played this game on the Lost Treasures of Infocom app on the iPad.

A Mind Forever Voyaging, by Steve Meretzky

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful:
Explore a simulation of a giant city 10, 20, 30 and more years into the future, February 3, 2016
by MathBrush
Related reviews: Infocom
In this Infocom game, you play PRISM, a sentient computer who has been designed to simulate the future for planning purposes.

This game has no real puzzles until the end. You simply explore. First, you explore your interface, which is very large (having 30+ distinct files you can open). Then you explore the actual simulation, which is a large downtown city, with what felt like 30-50 locations. Once you explore it long enough, the simulation accumulates enough data to simulate another decade into the future.

You must record interesting events and places in the future to bring back for planning purposes. I somehow missed out on a simple mechanic, and got very stalled in the game. (This is not a spoiler, because it is not a puzzle or a surprise, more of a guess-the-verb): To present your recordings, you must tell people "look at recording".

The developer has stated that the game was intended as a criticism of Reagan's policy.

The game is fun. You need to explore; don't just rush through, trying to do what they say. You need to record a lot of each decade to win, so try and get a mental map of the game.

I played this game on the iPad's Lost Treasures of Infocom app, which provides most of Infocom's games (except Nord and Bert, and the already-free Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy).

Zork III, by Dave Lebling, Marc Blank

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful:
A haunting and evocative finale to the Zork series., February 3, 2016
The finale in the Zork series is a big change from the first two games. The game is smaller as to puzzles and map, but much bigger on ambiance. This game feels like a refining purgatory, with a chance to demonstrate your courage, mercy, trust, and bravery. The setting is dreamlike and thoughtful. The puzzles are very difficult. For all of them, it is easy to try to solve them, get part way through, and have no idea if you succeeded or failed. Almost all of them are time-based, requiring you to wait, do several actions in succession, or to return frequently to a given place. Some places (like the land of shadow or the viewing table) will stay in my mind for a long time.

The Royal Puzzle breaks up the gameplay a bit, but I loved it. I first solved it in MIT Zork; as a mathematician that is terrible at most IF puzzles, it was fun to have a puzzle that I could finally solve on my own. I literally used a walkthrough on every other puzzle in this game.


Previous | 21-26 of 26 | Show All