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Reviews by MathBrush

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Sirens in the Distance, by Astrid Dalmady
A short mermaid story with layers of duality, July 2, 2019
by MathBrush
Related reviews: less than 15 minutes
This game only lasts for about 1000 words, so it's a quick read.

It was made for MerMay, so it makes sense it would be about mermaids. But the title has multiple meanings, and the game itself deals with ambiguity and feeling.

This is a slight snack of a game, but it left a good feeling. It reminded me of my time living in Hawaii, in many ways, although I imagine it more as a cold Atlantic ocean than the Pacific.

Living Will, by Mark Marino
A will that can change in real-time. Short choice game, June 26, 2019
by MathBrush
Related reviews: less than 15 minutes
This game features an old man who made a fortune in the Congo. It's set in the near-future, with a variety of corporations mentioned.

It is a short game, with the bulk of interactions taking place near the end of the game. Basically, you can pick which character you are, and raid the shares of the others.

It reacts quite pleasingly. But I noticed that the interactivity was fairly opaque, and the story hard to grasp. Marino's later games feature detailed and exciting stories with clear interactivity, which is a development I'm very happy with!

Sam and Leo Go To The Bodega, by Richard Goodness
Munchies simulator, June 26, 2019
by MathBrush
Related reviews: less than 15 minutes
This game portrays two stoners with a friendly relationship grabbing food to eat. There are four aisles in the grocery store, and most of the game involves selecting different foods and seeing what comes out.

It's weird, it's short, but it works. Scattered strong profanity.

The Challenge, by ViRALiTY
A simple CYOA with now-gone graphics, June 26, 2019
by MathBrush
Related reviews: less than 15 minutes
I played the archive.org version of this game, which now lacks the original graphics, which I understand were simple 3D graphics.

All that's left is the choice structure, which is meager. You are in a 3d area, and you can turn left and right and go up stairs. I played another game recently using Unity that had similar mechanics, but I can't find it now. (Maybe from Introcomp 2019?)

The game ends after a few moves. Pretty disappointing.

PTGOOD 8*10^23, by Sartre Malvolio
Short and stupid, both on purpose, June 26, 2019
by MathBrush
Related reviews: less than 15 minutes
Sometimes I find purposely bad games charming, and others have found this one so in the past, but I think it's just dumb. Especially since you have to open a window in the first room to make a later exit work, for no reason at all!

All you do is explore a lab to find and kill Slan Xorax (an alias for Jonathan Berman). Not much else here.

Wumpus Run, by Elfindor
More fun than I thought it would be, June 26, 2019
by MathBrush
Related reviews: less than 15 minutes
Wumpus is an old game, and Andrew Plotkin had long since done an amazing remake of it by this point (Hunter, In Darkness). But this Adrift game was surprisingly fun.

You wander through a pretty bad maze (although you can find a nice, hand-drawn map), avoid obstacles, and try to kill the wumpus and escape.

I won on the second try after about fifteen minutes or so.

Simple Adventure, by Paul Allen Panks
A regular old Panks game with the same old stuff in it, June 26, 2019
by MathBrush
Related reviews: less than 15 minutes
Paul Panks made one pretty cool game, and then made a ton of little games which are all very similar.

When I started this up, I thought, "I wonder if I'll be in a village with a 2-floor tavern and a church." Lo and behold, I started in a two floor tavern next to a church. Is my first enemy a hellhound? Yep. Then I fought a dragon. That was new. But the game was over after that.

Not much here, but at least it all works together as long as you're familiar with Panks' style (GET, not TAKE, and WIELD weapons and WEAR armor).

PTBAD6.5: The URL That Didn't Work or Have You Seen the Muffin Man? He Is Quite Large, by Jonathan Berman

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
Fails at being a horrible game, June 22, 2019
by MathBrush
Related reviews: less than 15 minutes
In the PTBAD series, which is generally an ill-conceived series of intentionally terrible games, this one manages not to be too terrible. It has generally smoothish implementation, not-too-hard main puzzle, and a poem that has crosses the line from awful to sublime.

Uses Adrift 4.0.

The Storm, by Stephane F.

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
Brief, unusual existential horror, June 20, 2019
by MathBrush
Related reviews: less than 15 minutes
I played the French version of this game before. I like this game, it calls to my exact sort of tastes in games. But it may not call out to everybody. It's like Cannery Vale, which is one of my top 10 games of all time but which didn't win IFComp, or Creak, Creak, a tiny game by Chandler Groover.

In this game, you wake up in the middle of the night to strange sounds in the garden. You can explore your house, but everything seems off.

Great for fans of existential horror. Very short parser game.

SCP-3939 [NUMBER RESERVED; AWAITING RESEARCHER], by Croquembouche
A short self-referential narrative describing an anomaly, June 13, 2019
by MathBrush
Related reviews: less than 15 minutes
This game is short but satisfies all of my requirements for 5 stars:

Polish: This game has a custom format with well-designed buttons and overall CSS and layout.

Descriptiveness: There are several characters who are described in exquisite detail (or not, with good reason), and the location and item descriptions were evocative.

Emotional Impact: I could really identify with the researcher and the anomaly. The final description complemented the main narrative in an excellent way.

Interactivity: This game allows quite a few paths, but is self-deprecative. It says: (Spoiler - click to show)This may be a multiple-choice story, but there's no multiple endings. If you pick the wrong options, the story has to pretty much drag you to me so we can have this little chat. You see, fundamentally, this just isn't a good multiple choice story. That's not what it is. It was never supposed to be that. A good multiple choice story has decisions, it has character development, it's got different pathways to get to different goals and most importantly it's got replayability. There just has to be at least one ending where you die. It's a game, and there's a different way to play every time. This is not a game. These are special containment procedures. And these procedures make a very bad game, but they do a very good job of containing me.

Coincidentally, I disagree with the game's self-identification as a bad game and with its overall design philosophy. The material in the spoiler is only one way of doing things.

Replay: I enjoyed this both times I replayed it.


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