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Reviews by MathBrush

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Party Foul, by Brooks Reeves
A difficult 4-room parser game set at a cocktail party, August 23, 2019
by MathBrush
Related reviews: about 1 hour
This game took 4th in the Jay is Games Casual Gameplay Competition #7, a competition which produced more good games than just about any other competition I've seen outside of IFComp.

You play as a woman who has been stuck talking to a bore at a cocktail party for two hours. Once he's out of the way, you have an explicit list of 3 things you have to do to escape.

Conversation plays a vital role in this game, making the characters more fun. Puzzle solutions are off the beaten track. Logical in hindsight, but difficult to come up with. It does, however, have an extensive hint system.

Victorian Detective, by Peter Carlson
Long choice-based Quest game with a Holmes feel, August 21, 2019
by MathBrush
Related reviews: about 1 hour
You are not, in fact, Sherlock Holmes in this game, but you are pretty similar.

In this game, you read several paragraphs of text, then make a deduction based off of it. You have to read carefully, and may require occasional google searches, but most of the choices are deducible through logic. Some, though, just seem like guesswork, which I suppose increases the replay value of the game.

You are investigating the murder of a man after being pulled off of a big bombing investigation.

I played online, and it became slower and slower until it crashed near the end.

P. Mason und der Schlitzerhans und die Busenkathi, by Sophie Fruehling
A goofy German game about Perry Mason in a resort, August 20, 2019
by MathBrush
Related reviews: about 1 hour
This game is in German, and it's not just regular German, it's very joke-y German with many allusions and in-jokes. My German was not up to the task, and I only completed with google translate and the built-in walkthrough.

Still, I could see how funny this game was. It's presented as a TV show with intermittent ads and other such artifices. You start the game in a hot tub or something and have to find your clothes while investigating a murder at the resort. There are some entertaining characters and a few tricky puzzles. The game isn't quite as big as it seems at first, as many potential areas are closed off.

I enjoyed it, but I often enjoy games not in my native language, as it adds another layer to the gameplay.

First Times, by Hero Robb
A creepy, surreal Quest game with music, August 18, 2019
by MathBrush
Related reviews: about 1 hour
This game feels fresh despite being a surreal game with deeper-meaning imagery, an amnesiac protagonist, and a lab/medical setting, all of which are overused tropes.

But this game seems like something new anyway. It uses Quest and only requires the verbs USE, TAKE, LOOK, and directional commands. The parser is extremely fidgety if you try and do anything else. Even if you think you ought to do something else, you should not do something else.

Basically, you are alone in a symbolic hospital with a lot of dolls and blood and spiders, and you try to enter new areas. Near the end, there is an extended sequence of strong profanity. The whole game is pretty gory and/or disturbing.

This is one of those games that breaks all of the rules for 'good games' but gets an effect anyway. Worth trying if you like horror.

Heated, by Timothy Peers

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful:
A frustrating game about frustration, June 26, 2019
by MathBrush
Related reviews: about 1 hour
I usually take a star off of most annoying games precisely because they are annoying. But this is a game about a man where anything at all can set him off.

The game makes UNDO act differently, and tricks people who thought of other solutions to puzzles. Its puzzle solutions become increasingly unfair, although some of the most unfair ones are optional.

Sort of like 9:05 played straight, you wake up before work, worried about getting their on time, and have to go through your daily tasks before work starts.

I found it more frustrating than enjoyable. But isn't that the point?

Signos, by Mauricio Diaz Garcia a.k.a. "M4u"
A Quest game with graphics and sound about meditation, June 26, 2019
by MathBrush
Related reviews: about 1 hour
This game, in Quest, has you navigating a mostly-symmetric area apparently seeking for wisdom.

You have a book depicting the 7 deadly sins, which you can slowly fill out by various actions. In addition, there are many religious figures here, including a monk, a fakir, a buddah, etc.

Each room has an image, and many have sound.

However, the implementation is odd, cumbersome, and often interferes with the player. The pictures vary widely in quality, and the game is frankly frustrating.

I didn't finish it, but I did appreciate the symbolic quest.

Building the Right Stuff, by Laura Mitchell
A graphical windows game about exploring space, June 26, 2019
by MathBrush
Related reviews: about 1 hour
This is a graphical game where you click on text buttons to control a spaceship. You find planets and see if they support life.

I've rated the game on the following 5 criteria:

-Polish. The game relies heavily on a graphical interface, but I feel that interface could be tuned up, especially with faster transitions and back buttons that only go back one step in a menu.

-Descriptiveness. Most of the descriptions are fairly plain.

-Interactivity. The slowness is frustrating, and the game's overall pace drags out.

-Emotional Impact. The pace lessened any impact I would have felt.

-Would I replay? No.

I'd love to see a new game from this author, though.

Search for the Ultimate Weapon, by Sharon Lynn Chu Yew Yee
A fancy windows game about chinese martial arts, June 26, 2019
by MathBrush
Related reviews: about 1 hour
This game has an overly-cluttered windows GUI that is very reminiscent of the time period it is from. The top row is cluttered with a row of icons that whose meaning is opaque and whose use is questionable.

The game has side bars, command prediction, and other such features, but they often end up hindering more than anything else. There is a time feature and changing background colors.

The story itself is interesting, but could be better. I think this game is a good example that reinventing the wheel isn't always the best.

A Martian Odyssey, by Horatiu Romosan

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
An adaptation of a famous sci-fi story with a lovely soundtrack, June 26, 2019
by MathBrush
Related reviews: about 1 hour
This game is an adaptation of A Martian Odyssey, the short story, and one which I liked quite a bit before starting this game.

This game takes a long time to download (and can't be played online) because it's 50 mb, most of which is a truly lovely space soundtrack. I really liked it, and it's context-sensitive.

The game itself suffers terribly from adaptation-syndrome: content not from the actual story is not as good as the original, and you have to guess the correct action to advance the story.

Dracula's Underground Crypt, by Alex Whitington
A poorly implemented vampire hunt, June 26, 2019
by MathBrush
Related reviews: about 1 hour
This game has a vote for it on the 'worst IF ever' poll, but I don't think it's there. It's just problematic. I evaluate games on the following five categories:

Polish: Not here. The game's bugs are numerous.

Descriptiveness: Well, it succeeds pretty well here, to be honest.

Interactivity: Problematic. It's very hard to guess what actions you are supposed to do.

Emotional impact: Dampened by the obnoxious jerk professor and the overly objectified Eva.


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