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Reviews by MathBrush

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Instincts, by Madison Vassari
A short branching Twine game about a ritual and your child, August 4, 2020
by MathBrush
Related reviews: less than 15 minutes
This is a fairly-well put together Twine game with background sounds. You are driving down a road late at night, and you need to abandon your child in the woods.

The writing was descriptive and the game was fairly polished, but it felt a little short for the heavy themes being developed, and many choices lead to early deaths, making it more of a gauntlet structure.

As a small, self-contained Twine game, though, I think it's successful. Maybe I just wanted a longer and more involved version of the same story?

"Do Not Meddle", by Teaspoon

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
A clever speed IF about resisting standard parser tropes, July 18, 2020
by MathBrush
Related reviews: less than 15 minutes
This game, made for a Speed-IF and never fully developed, reverses standard tropes. It may not even work as a longer game; as it is, could just use a little polish.

You play as one of/a series of young boys applying to be a household servant. As a 'test', you must resist several things tempting to an adventurer: a key in its lock, a partially-open door, a covered dish, etc.

It's cute and short. There are some bugs and it is not polished, but I enjoyed it.

The Voodoo You Do, by Marshal Tenner Winter

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful:
A well-put together Speed IF with a surprising amount of detail, June 22, 2020
by MathBrush
Related reviews: less than 15 minutes
MTW, the author of this short speed IF, has always had a talent for putting together locations and NPCs. Speed-IFs are usually very sketchy, but this game manages to have a large map, responsive items, good error messages, and even a conversation (which I know from experience is difficult to implement in a short time).

It involves the Voodoo or Voudon religion. While one part of it revolves around the use of (Spoiler - click to show)Voodoo dolls, which just tonight I discover actually originated in European druidism, most of it seems to represent Voodoo beliefs in a fairly accurate and respectful way, the kind of accuracy you'd expect in a game where you visit the Christian heaven.

I think Speed-IFs would be much more enjoyable to play if more of them were this well put-together. I'm not giving 5 stars, though, because even as a speed-IF it still has to compare to longer games.

Please Answer Carefully, by litrouke
A short but effective horror game, June 12, 2020
by MathBrush
Related reviews: less than 15 minutes
This game is centered around a survey and uses various literary and programming techniques to establish a creepy atmosphere.

I found it inventive and effective. My ratings are adjusted to the length of a game, so I consider this a 5-star game for a short, under 15-minute work.

Otherwise, I don't want to give away too much. Very fun!

Tallest Trees, by Peter Bates

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
A short fantasy tale with good worldbuilding and the promise of sequels, June 6, 2020
by MathBrush
Related reviews: less than 15 minutes
I rate games on a five point scale. This is a shortish but broad Twine game where you are being hunted by something magical and must use your equipment to survive. It branches heavily, enhancing replayability.

Polish--The art is good, the game seems well-thought out and designed. Pretty good.
Descriptiveness--Very good. I could picture it all in my mind vividly.
Interactivity--It's hard to play without learning by death, so I struggled a bit with this one. And widely branching games are a bit frustrating at times because you have to replay the beginning over and over to see all the different ends, but it's totally a valid stylistic choice.
Emotional impact--I felt moved by the story. I like fantasy, especially TTRPG-adjacent fantasy like this.
Would I play again?--I've already played it a few times, so yes.

Beautiful in His Stasis, by Hannah Nyland

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
An unusual experiment in place and time; horror, June 1, 2020
by MathBrush
Related reviews: less than 15 minutes
This game was interesting.

In initial appearance, you are in a house and have several options for exploring it, with no option allowed twice in a row but otherwise full freedom.

Over time, the game changes in both subtle and overt ways.

It works well technically, and the idea is good, there's just not much of it, and I feel like the concept needed a bit more time to come to fruition.

In any case, the author is clearly good at both writing and programming, so I'd be interested in further games.

Investigative Journalism: A Welcome to Night Vale Fan Game, by Astrid Dalmady
A polished and stylish Night Vale-style game with investigation and danger, May 28, 2020
by MathBrush
Related reviews: less than 15 minutes
I grade games on a scale of 5 stars, in the following criteria:

*Polish. This game is very polished, with custom sounds, varying backgrounds and images, complex menus and text input.
*Descriptiveness. This game nails the Night Vale voice and has vivid non-descriptions of real things and real descriptions of non-things.
*Interactivity. I felt like my choices mattered and had consequences. The game wasn't quite linear and not quite lawn-mowery, and I felt good.
*Emotional impact. I felt amused.
*Would I play again? I think I would.

This is a game in which you have to track down The News, a wild beast which has escaped in Night Vale, a town where every conspiracy theory is true.

silences, by beams

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
A '2-command' game in texturewriter, April 16, 2020
by MathBrush
Related reviews: less than 15 minutes
This is an odd game. I was excited to see it used texture writer, a system that often produces unusual games.

In texture, you slide 'action' blocks onto 'noun' blocks. This game switches that around a bit, more just sliding one of two nouns (eye, shoulder) onto adjectives and nouns.

It took me a while to figure out the functionality (which is (Spoiler - click to show)'eye' provides a description using several adjectives while 'shoulder' adds the word to a sentence, except at the very end where you get one or more endings.

I didn't really know what to make of it all, but it worked for me, the discovery of the use of the nouns providing the same kind of feel that solving a puzzle does.

My favorite insight was realizing (possibly incorrectly) that the game provides insight into the author's feelings about themself.

Catch That Kitty, by Rohan

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful:
A kind of confusing Twine game about gangsters and...stuff, April 8, 2020
by MathBrush
Related reviews: less than 15 minutes
This seems like a first-time Twine author's game, with at least no broken links.

The writing is rushed and seems untested. Here's a sample:

"He pulls out a big rotten fish and throws at you, it hits at at the head and knocks you unconcious."

There is some funny humor, but a lot of it didn't make sense even as nonsensical humor.

I think this just needs to be heavily revised. At its best, it could end up like the madcap game Escape the Crazy Place, but at its worst it still represents a step forward for the author.

The Golden, by Kerry Taylor

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
A very short Twine story with allusive worldbuilding and implied relationships, April 7, 2020
by MathBrush
Related reviews: less than 15 minutes
This short Twine game about some disaster making people not want to go out (at first seeming like Covid, later not so much).

It satisfies my 5 requirements for stars:

-Polished. This has great understated use of color and is organized neatly, with an interesting mechanic at the end.

-Descriptive: The house, people, and items and even mood were palpable to me as I read.

-Emotional impact: I could really feel the emotions the game was pushing out, maybe just because of my quarantine experiences.

-Interactivity: The card game was a nice change, and I felt like my choices in general had some kind of impact, if nothing else than in my roleplaying.

-Would I play it again? I already did. I like the feel of it. Might play it again.


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