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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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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.

A Crimson Spring, by Robb Sherwin

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
A gritty and vulgar but descriptive superhero game with battle system , July 30, 2019
by MathBrush
Related reviews: 15-30 minutes
This was Sherwin’s second IFComp game. It toned down the sexuality, but there are still quite a few inventive vulgar descriptions throughout the game.

This is an intense story (using a menu based conversational system) about superheroes in love and revenge. There are quite a few superheroes in this game, including some old familiar ones (an ice-guy) and also some innovative ones.

Outside of the vulgarity, the story is intriguing and even touching.

Chicks Dig Jerks, by Robb Sherwin

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
Sherwin's earliest IFComp game. Sordid shallow life simulator, June 30, 2019
by MathBrush
Related reviews: 15-30 minutes
According to my rating system, I'm giving this game 2 stars. Here are my criteria:

-Polish. This game has several holes in implementation, enough to be annoying.

-Descriptive. This is where this game (and all of Sherwin's games) really shines. The game puts as a shallow gravedigger who only thinks about picking up women and digging up graves. You are extremely shallow and the game depicts that well.

-Interactivity. I think the game does well here. I felt like I hide control.

-Emotional impact. I didn't like all of the sex, and it made it harder to enjoy the rest of the game.

-Replay. I don't intend on replaying.

Kicker, by Pippin Barr

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
Intentional boredom simulator--football edition, June 26, 2019
by MathBrush
Related reviews: 15-30 minutes
This game shows the life of a football kicker. Which is super boring. You are on the sidelines for about 120 turns, and you are called on to kick a few times. In the mean time, no one wants to talk to you and you can't do much.

It's supposed to be that way, but that doesn't make it any more enjoyable. The game is really well polished, though, which makes sense given its constrained play area.

Desert Heat, by Papillon
An early CYOA dealing with a medieval Arabic setting and femininity, June 26, 2019
by MathBrush
Related reviews: 15-30 minutes
This game contains erotic themes, but you’re told you can avoid anything explicit. I found that to be true, and played to two pleasing endings without encountering anything shocking.

Papillon was a prolific author around this time, producing several excellent games before moving on to visual novels.

This game involves you, an Arabic noblewoman, experiencing violence and oppression in the city. You are required to enter a brothel in the game (although one early ending doesn’t require this), providing most of the opportunities for erotic choices (which, again, you need to choose).

The main drawback I felt was that the game felt like it could have developed more. It would have done better as a Choice of Games novel, but such tools were limited or unavailable at the turn of the millennium.

The Bible Retold: The Lost Sheep, by Ben Pennington
A small comedy biblical game about a sheep, June 26, 2019
by MathBrush
Related reviews: 15-30 minutes
In this game, you experience a biblical scenario: one of your sheep has escaped.

The game consists entirely of chasing the sheep, with a couple of puzzles.

The map is small, with 5 or so important rooms and then a sequence of minor rooms. The main puzzle is pretty hard to guess, even if you think of the old-testament related clue.

The Sealed Room, by Robert DeFord
A very small game with extensive conversation, June 26, 2019
by MathBrush
Related reviews: 15-30 minutes
This game has two characters in locked room. You have a few items around and you can talk to them. There is one puzzle, with multiple stages.

It’s not a bad concept. A problem that arises is that the number of topics is large, and they are all dumped on you at the same time (well, most of them are). If it was gated at the beginning more, I’d give this another star.

But the whole game is bloodless. What makes it all tie together? Nothing, as far as I can see.

I believe the author went on to make some other, great games.

Caroline, by Kristian Kronstrand
A dark religious romance game with constrained parser, June 26, 2019
by MathBrush
Related reviews: 15-30 minutes
This game is completely CYOA. However, to make your choice, you must type it in.

This is obnoxious and wasteful. But, on the other hand, it makes choices more meaningful as you must type them out.

I went through 5 chapters, and reached some white text that faded out after a fairly-explicit romantic scene. My game didn't work after that.

I didn't really connect with this game, and the interactivity left something to be desired.

Nowhere Near Single, by kaleidofish
An in-depth look at entertainment life and multiple relationships, June 26, 2019
by MathBrush
Related reviews: 15-30 minutes
I avoided this game for a while because I thought it was just a polyamorous sex simulator. But, trying it, I found that sexuality played a very small role in it, and even less if you chose not to.

Instead, it depicts what life would be like in a polyamorous lesbian relationship. I can honestly say that it made me feel like that kind of relationship would be a ton of work and not worth the intense cross-connections.

Secondly, it was very satisfying dealing with the work-related portion of the game. I spent the first half as a workaholic obsessed with my career, and eventually realized that fame as a singer was crushing my life, so I purposely torpedoed my job to find freedom from the old ball and chain.

Polished overall. A lot of pages in linear order, but mixed in with enough choices that it didn't feel overwhelming. I don't plan on playing again, as I'm satisfied with my choices.

The War of the Willows, by Adam Bredenberg
A poem combined with a combat simulator, June 26, 2019
by MathBrush
Related reviews: 15-30 minutes
This is an odd little game, and the lowest-ranking game of IFComp 2015. In its own sphere, it's great and wonderful, but it's just not what most people are looking for.

What it is is epic, obscure and symbolic poetry about trees planted over ancestor's graves coming to life to take revenge on their descendants for blasphemy. There is an intentional emotional distance between the listener and the author.

The battle system is similarly opaque. You can attack. You can pray. What do these do? Is not knowing an essential part of the experience?

It starts with Choice of Games-style choices establishing stats before diving in.

Interesting game. To get it to run in modern python 3, open all the python files and change raw_input to input.

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