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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 2 hours IF Comp 2015 Infocom less than 15 minutes more than 10 hours Spring Thing 2016
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Limerick Night, by Pace Smith

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful:
A limerick-styled short horror game, November 20, 2019
by MathBrush
Related reviews: less than 15 minutes
Another Smith limerick game
But this isn't more of the same.
Instead of a jolly
heist or other folly
You're seeking to kill or to maim.

Who then is your target, your foe?
A vampire's the one who must go.
Or 'wampire' I mean
(since that's what my screen
displays as the name of the foe.)

But to my surprise there's a twist!
I had guessed the genre, and missed.
It's truly perturbing
This game is disturbing
So keep it right off your kids' list.

If you liked the Heist game, here's more
That also deserves a good score.
The writing's well done
I found it quite fun
So I'll give this short game a 4.

(Edit: improved with suggestions from A. Schultz).

The Village, by Helene Vitting

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
A story about a terrifying small town, November 19, 2019
by MathBrush
Related reviews: less than 15 minutes
This game has you travelling to live in a small village where electronics are banned, church is every night and the rules must be enforced.

This is a common theme in horror (like Midsommar), and this pursues a lot of those tropes.

I found the story interesting and exciting. The formatting threw me off, since the paragraphs sort of ran together. All in all, though, it was a fun short horror experience.

The Reptile Room, by Elizabeth Smyth
A short speed-IF twine game with a surprising amount of worldbuilding, November 18, 2019
by MathBrush
Related reviews: less than 15 minutes
This game is very small, smaller than almost all the Twine games in IFComp. Made in 4 hours for the speed competition known as Ectocomp, it seems the author spent most of the time working on polished writing and world building.

I think it was very successful. I found myself repeatedly surprised as I read, each time realizing how the surprise connected with proceeding material. The author does an excellent job of choosing what to reveal and what to imply. I'd give more details, but it's better to just play it yourself!

There's some violence and brief strong profanity.

O Verbo, by Janos Biro
A charming short creating tale with a difficult puzzle in it, November 16, 2019
by MathBrush
Related reviews: less than 15 minutes
This Portuguese game is a nice, compact Twine game about creating something when you are an omnipresent, solipistic being. There are a lot of options, and the consequences of them can be unexpectedly amusing and spot-on.

Many options lead to a sort of puzzle, which gives you more and more hints. I had difficulty with this, especially due to the language barrier.

Overall, the writing and the interactivity was very satisfying.

American Maniac, by TechChips
A bloody and violent short Twine game, November 14, 2019
by MathBrush
Related reviews: less than 15 minutes
In this game, you are a maniac who shoots all of their enemies with a shotgun at a party.

Half of the game is devoted to saying why you hate people, and the other half is devoted to gruesomely describing the blood and guts that come out when you shoot them.

Their are numerous typos and errors. Given its poor taste, I cannot recommend this game. Even if it's somehow a parody, a non-American's perception of Americans, I think it could have been done less offensively.

Crumbs 2: The Will of the People, by Katie Benson
A short Twine depiciting a near-future Brexit scenario, November 12, 2019
by MathBrush
Related reviews: less than 15 minutes
Katie Benson has a specific genre of games she makes that work pretty well. They are Twine games with some light styling and multiple endings, with a branch-and-bottleneck structure.

Structurally, they're all very similar, but Benson has done a lot of exploration of controversial topics, innovating in the subject matter portrayed rather than in the mechanics.

This game is a sequel, and has the player working in a food kitchen in a version of Britain where the British Jobs Act has given subsidies to companies hiring British citizens (I think).

I found two different endings. There was one encounter that occurred twice in the game with identical language (Spoiler - click to show)(talking to the cop), but it was otherwise a smooth experience.

The Crimson Terrors of Delamay Manor, by Logan Noble
A short Lovecraftian Halloween tale, November 12, 2019
by MathBrush
Related reviews: less than 15 minutes
I've rated this game on my 5 point scale:

Polish: The red color on the choices is a nice effect, but typos and grammar problems drag this point down.

Descriptiveness: Very good! Lots of vivid images here.

Interactivity: The available choices felt pretty satisfying, especially for such a short game!

Emotional Impact: The shortness and over-the-top-ness limited the emotional impact for me.

Would I play again?: I tried all the options, and I think I've seen everything I need to here.

Edit: Overall, I would say that all of the problems could be fixed by having more time. As a Speed-IF, this is good!

Wild Party, by kunludi

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
A bilingual javascript game with some inventory management and conversation, November 11, 2019
by MathBrush
Related reviews: less than 15 minutes
This one was a hard one to score. One of its main features is language. It's bilingual, and part of a project that produces multilingual games, which is something I support.

This means that many of its language errors come from incomplete translation, which means I'm more inclined to go easy on them. The most egregious error I saw was an entire passage in Spanish included in the English version (I'm sorry, I don't remember which passage it was!) There are other errors as well.

The system is interesting. Functionally, it's very similar to Ink: text continually scrolls downward, instead of replacing like Twine, and you either click a 'more' button or select from a menu of choices.

However, it's not actually Ink, I think, and seems to be a custom system that needs some work. Ink and Twine have me used to lovely little transitions between text (not slow fade-ins, but quick scrolling animations and so on). This game just adjoins the new text quickly.

Similarly, punctuation (like ---) are used for line breaks instead of nice horizontal lines. These are all things that can be added to over time.

Storywise, there's an interesting plot about abducted Russian scientists and bizarre experiments. But I was so caught up in the new system and multilingual aspect that I didn't have a chance to immerse myself in it as much as I'd like.

Whole Souls, by Drumclem
A space horror tale with great elements that don't blend well, November 10, 2019
by MathBrush
Related reviews: less than 15 minutes
I've played this game 4 or 5 times now, trying to find if I've missed something important (and if I have I'll update this review!)

You are in space, having a family dinner on Halloween through a videocall. You can guide the conversation as your family clashes with each other over things like religion and politics.

Then something happens, and the game takes a more linear turn, then ends.

The twist involves several elements, and I just don't see how they all connect together. I'm a fan of leaving the most frightening parts of horror as mere suggestions, but we have so many things here: (Spoiler - click to show)a time loop, suggestions of being an android, government conspiracy, mind control taken from Bioshock. Each part is great, and the writing is good, but how does it all tie together? The simplest explanation is that (Spoiler - click to show)you are an android and your 'family' has always been fake, and your programming gets reset. But then why change the clocks? Isn't accurate timekeeping important in space? And why have the elaborate video call setup at all?

Mindful, by Ian Michael Waddell

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
A short Ectocomp game about a heart warming cooking blog, November 10, 2019
by MathBrush
Related reviews: less than 15 minutes
This Twine game has an interesting accretive feature: you build a blog post paragraph by paragraph by making different selections (such as for the name, etc.).

It's all fairly mild stuff, but the fact this game has content warnings should let you know it can't last forever.

Presentation is nice and smooth. Good for a quick bite.

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