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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 1 hours about 2 hours IF Comp 2015 Infocom less than 15 minutes more than 10 hours Spring Thing 2016
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Tethered, by Linus ┼kesson

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
A smooth puzzle game with compelling backstory built with new language, April 21, 2019
by MathBrush
Related reviews: about 1 hour
This is the author's showpiece for a new language, Dialogue, that compiles to the Z-machine format.

Showpieces for new languages are a varied lot. Curses!, the showpiece for Inform, is one of the best games I've ever played: huge, puzzly, with deep connections to literature, religion, mythology and history. Ditch Day Drifter is sparser and smaller, but still pretty fun. Bronze and Floatpoint, showpieces for Inform 7, are both intensely detailed games.

This game takes a different tack. Instead of a massive adventure, it's a compact puzzle game in the snow. You play as a couple out climbing a snowy mountain, and must solve puzzles involving classic adventuring situations/items like darkness, ropes, and large pushable items.

I found the story in this compelling, as well as the puzzles. One of my favorite IFComp 2018 games.

Writers Are Not Strangers, by Lynda Clark
A complex sci-fi choicescript game that ponders the nature of writing, April 20, 2019
by MathBrush
Related reviews: about 1 hour
This is a complex game, which makes sense as it is part of a thesis. Unlike many IFComp games, it's less of a short story and more of a novella that should be played slowly, perhaps overall multiple days. It's not as long as a full-length Choicescript game, but it's still very hefty.

Such longterm playing is facilitated by the excellent save feature, one of many advanced design features. This game has been heavily modified from baseline Choicescript.

The main conceit of the game is that you are asked at several points to evaluate the quality of writing, and the game looks deeply into the relationship between reader and writer. The first few short stories are takes on famous writers, and some of these are just fantastic (I especially enjoyed the riff on Metamorphosis).

It also includes science fiction elements and some post-modernism.

Written in the Glim, by Mary Goodden, Failbetter Games
A pleasing monthly story involving 'astrology', April 20, 2019
by MathBrush
Related reviews: about 1 hour
This was an excellent addition to the Fallen London mythology. I played it several months ago, but forgot to write the review at the time, so pardon me if there are errors.

I strongly remember the 'astrological signs' in this story. Of course Fallen London is under the ground in a giant cavern, so the existence of stars and astrological signs is a somewhat contentious subject.

The story takes you into a strange world with insects and caverns. Very fun.

▄rs, by Christopher Hayes, Daniel Talsky
A gorgeously illustrated Rabbit game with puzzles, April 20, 2019
by MathBrush
Related reviews: about 1 hour
This game is really breaking new ground. Among Twine games, it's remarkable for both using extensive beautiful graphics, animations, etc., but for also being long and puzzle-y.

You play as a rabbit in a warren of other rabbits, but something truly odd is happening. As you explore more, you uncover an entirely new setting.

A few of the puzzles seemed fussy, and I wasn't completely emotionally invested in the story, but this is a Twine game I can strongly recommend to those new to Twine and those experienced in IF.

The Missing Ring, by Felicity Drake

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
Great twine mystery in an old house, April 19, 2019
by MathBrush
Related reviews: about 1 hour
I really enjoyed this game in Introcomp, and the finished version is even better.

This isn't a grandiose or intense game. This game is just like an Agatha Christie story, with great attention to psychology and detail.

It manages to have a lot of material you have to plow through without feeling too much like lawnmowering. The author has a lot of context-sensitive programming with inventory-based puzzles, and that's what gives this game a good 'choice feel', if that's even a phrase.

You are at a hectic Christmas Eve dinner and Grandma's ring turns up stolen. It's your job to track down the culprit before the police have to be called.

Overall, this was my favorite Spring Thing game. Well done.

Escape!, by Marnix van den Bos

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
A pleasing little puzzle game, April 19, 2019
by MathBrush
Related reviews: about 1 hour
I helped beta test this game.

This game is pretty simple. It's a series of locations (28, I think), many of which are connecting rooms like hallways. It has one NPC. The rooms are fairly plainly described. The puzzles are contrived a bit.

But it all works. The puzzles are supposed to be contrived; you are literally exploring a 'demo game' within the game that is unfinished, and you must take advantage of errors in the code to win (like IAG Alpha).

The puzzles are fun, including a modular arithmetic/Chinese remainder theorem type puzzle.

This is a game that fills its own niche of small puzzle-fest exactly well.

The Empty Chamber: A Celia Swift Mystery, by Tom Sykes

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
A pleasant little murder mystery in 1950's England, April 5, 2019
by MathBrush
Related reviews: about 1 hour
This game is a fine addition to the long tradition of murder mystery interactive fiction games.

This is a one-room game. You, Celia Swift, are aiding Inspector Land in researching the mystery of an orchestra member's death.

There are two phases: a puzzle-based investigative phase, and a deduction phase.

The investigative phase requires patience, and the deduction phase doesn't give too much away if you guess wrong.

The one thing that mars this game is the large number of unhelpful responses. If a second edition were released, or a similar game released in the future, I would wish for more custom responses.

Grimnoir, by ProP
A solid and enjoyable Twine mystery game with a fantasy noir setting, March 13, 2019
by MathBrush
Related reviews: about 1 hour
I love this game. I'm a big fan of mystery games in general, but they tend to have a common problem: how do you model the investigative process?

Some games have you collect physical evidence until you have enough to convict (the Infocom mysteries, for instance). Other games represent knowledge as individual clues that can be combined or traded (like some of my games and the excellent Erstwhile). Some games have you just guess who did it after you collect enough information (like Toby's Nose).

This game follows the latter path, and does it well. You're given quite a few cases (this is a big Twine game), and in each one, you read information about a monster causing trouble. You have a big encyclopedia listing different monsters' characteristics. Your job, as the player, is to read the encyclopedia, compare it to the monster's characteristics, and guess which monster it is, as well as its motivations.

This game wouldn't be nearly as good without its slick presentation. Beautiful intro, nice transitions and classy color use.

I beta tested this game, but it got a lot of work done after I did so. Very pleased with the outcome here.

The Forgotten Tavern, by Peter M.J. Gross

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
Smash vicious vegetables in a high fantasy setting, February 24, 2019
by MathBrush
Related reviews: about 1 hour
This is an interesting game; I had a ton of fun, but felt a bit deflated by my own ending (in hindsight, I should have saved!)

It's a homey game. You are on the run, but taken in by a sweet couple who run a tavern. They have odd chores for you...this game primarily consists of beating animate vegetables to death with a hammer. I found this very satisfying, and it even had an RPG-like element.

I got the ending faster than I thought I would, and I was specifically told I had picked the dullest ending, so I wish I had saved right before that or had an undo button.

Overall, it was an innovative concept and a game I enjoyed playing.

I.A.G. Alpha, by Serhii Mozhaiskyi

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
A brilliant choice game with a meta narrative and text input, February 3, 2019
by MathBrush
Related reviews: about 1 hour
This is a well-done IFComp 2018 game.

It runs in ITCH and is primarily choice-based. The conceit is that the author wanted to develop a big, fun sci-fi fi puzzle game, but didn't succeed.

Instead, he leaves the frame of his unfinished game alone, and adds author commentary. As the game progresses, the protagonist has more and more power to affect the game itself.

The styling is excellent, with several beautiful images and switches between different interfaces. The music is lovely and appropriate.

This is a game made with love, and it shows.


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