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Reviews by MathBrush

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Beautiful in His Stasis, by Hannah Nyland
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
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.

composites, by B Minus Seven

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
Classic B-Minus. A short, surreal poem in Twine format, April 5, 2020
by MathBrush
Related reviews: less than 15 minutes
B Minus makes what I would describe as anti-games. Just like Ryan Veeder likes to do counter-culture things like making very elaborate set pieces that are useless in the game or giving anti-climactic climaxes, B-minus likes to have functionality that's not all that functional.

In this case, it seems like the links might have some kind of strategy or purpose, but instead it's more like file folders, with the game ending if you get too deep.

The writing is opaque and symbolic, with elaborate language and constructions. I learned the word "aubade", a poem appropriate for dawn or morning.

B-Minus is an author that either pleases you or puzzles you, but I feel pleased.

GUNBABY, by Damon L. Wakes

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
A madcap baby-mecha twine game, April 4, 2020
by MathBrush
Related reviews: less than 15 minutes
This game consists of the following elements:
-Custom graphics and animations
-Custom sounds
-4th-wall breaking goofy storyline
-A baby in a robot suit destroying things

These elements are all good in themselves, but this could have used a few more pass-throughs. The sound is loud and has no visible controls. The choices imply freedom without granting it or even, after choosing, the illusion of freedom. It implies strategization while taking it away.

The concept is funny, and I laughed, though, which is what the author wanted. So I believe that the author has been entirely successful in their goals.

States of Awareness, by Kerry Taylor

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
A short, pleasantly surprising short zombie Twine game, April 3, 2020
by MathBrush
Related reviews: less than 15 minutes
This short Twine game has you play as a young character surviving alone after some time of zombie-style apocalypse. You have to make some critical decisions regarding an old acquaintance.

I thought at first that this was just a heavy-handed riff on the coronavirus, but then it took a turn which pleasantly surprised me and which I'd like to see more of in Twine. Thoroughly enjoyable.

The author's conent warnings include profanity and a non-consensual kiss.

Assemblage of Angels, by Els White

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
A short fantasy love story about invention and angels, April 2, 2020
by MathBrush
Related reviews: less than 15 minutes
This is a shortish Twine game by Els White, author of the popular Twine game To the Wolves and writer/designer under Spider Lily Studios.

This game isn't meant to be epic, just a simple love story, but it has fairly heavy world-building done through implications. I felt like it explored class politics, transitioning, gay relationships, theology, etc. all in ten minutes.

There are some nice visual effects that add to the play (you literally assemble a visual angel), and I enjoyed the time I spent playing.

Another Love Story, by Hélène Sellier

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
A charming and chilling story of nature, photography and love, April 2, 2020
by MathBrush
Related reviews: less than 15 minutes
This is a Ren'Py story that uses beautiful photography with a mostly linear story broken up by binary choices.

These binary choices always have an immediate effect, but I don't know if their influence lingers later on.

I love the type of story. It's almost like a romantic version of the Turn of the Screw. The hero is confused, foggy--possibly non-neurotypical. They have someone at home--sister? caretaker? spouse? And they encounter someone in the woods. But who and what are they?

The answers are never fully revealed, but gradually hinted at more and more. I found it effective.


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