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Reviews by MathBrush

15-30 minutes

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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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Bogeyman, by Elizabeth Smyth

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
A gut-wrenching horror game with flawless execution, February 18, 2019
by MathBrush
Related reviews: 15-30 minutes
It's rare when an IF game is presented exactly right, every portion designed perfectly well to give a uniform presentation. Liza Daly's Harmonia is sort of the standard for this type of presentation.

I think Bogeyman has achieved that level of quality. The layout, fonts, sound, and color scheme give gravitas and a haunting sense of dread to the story.

And the storyline fits the presentation, with interactions that lead you to believe that you can identify with your character, followed up with choices that pit your beliefs against themselves.

An effect, but disturbing, game. One of my go-to games when introducing IF to people.

Dungeon Detective, by Wonaglot, Caitlin Mulvihill

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
A fun high fantasy mystery romp, February 12, 2019
by MathBrush
Related reviews: 15-30 minutes
This game has a lot going for it. Fun images, a strong character voice, and nice, descriptive writing.

The setting is similar to D&D, with gnolls and dragons. The main character gnoll has caveman-like speech despite his intense intelligence, kind of like the narrator in Lost Pig and exactly opposite of the birds in Birdland.

It's a mystery game, and relies on the 'notice clues then pick the correct answer at then end' method of mystery writing. This isn't my favorite method, but the game's writing suits this style really well, as the clues are all based on worldbuilding.

The greatest flaw for me was how short it is. I wish that this game had been significantly longer.

A Woman's Choice, by Katie Benson
A shortish, well-polished series of vignettes related to women's choices, February 3, 2019
by MathBrush
Related reviews: 15-30 minutes
I found this game touching. A short game (5 chapters or so, each with 5-10 choices), it moves you through different phases of life and talks about women's reproductive choices, the expectations of society, and the consequences of these actions.

The styling is well-done and understated, a good backdrop to the ongoing storyline. As a man, it gave me a lot to think about.

Tower, by Ryan Tan
A meditative twine game with some puzzles, February 3, 2019
by MathBrush
Related reviews: 15-30 minutes
I beta tested this game.

This is a visually well-polished Twine game, with images, colors, and fonts used to enhance the presentation.

The game itself consists in a vertical tower. The player spends some time in each of the rooms, which are described in rich prose. Some rooms have puzzles, others are more poetic.

There is also an overall puzzle that ties everything together.

Stone of Wisdom, by Kenneth Pedersen

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
An old-school (in a good way) compact ADRIFT game, February 1, 2019
by MathBrush
Related reviews: 15-30 minutes
I beta-tested this game. This is the best ADRIFT game I've seen in a while. It feels like a nice little slice taken from a Zork-like universe, with lamps and stone dungeons and a troll and little people and so on. There's conversation, treasure, and a satisfying map.

A lot of time Adrift games seem to be trying to get you to do something specific but won't let you actually do it without struggling for the right command. Thankfully, that didn't happen here!

It's like a nice-sized slice of old-fashioned game, not too hard, not too easy. Worth downloading ADRIFT for.

Murder at the Manor, by Obter9
A classic-style murder mystery in Twine, January 30, 2019
by MathBrush
Related reviews: 15-30 minutes
This game is a straightforward implementation of classic Golden Age-style murder mystery. Each page has several paragraphs of text. You investigate 3-4 locations, 3-4 murder weapons, and 3-4 people, then guess the murderer.

The details are generic enough that they could fit in any detective story from Holmes to Poirot. If you like murder mysteries, it's worth playing, but I wish it had more spice to it. The author has proven they can make a complete and coherent game, and I'd be interested in seeing more work from them in the future.

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.

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.

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.


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