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Reviews by MathBrush

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I Should Have Been That I Am, by E. K. Wagner

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
A short game about autonomy and robots with one big moment, January 7, 2019
by MathBrush
Related reviews: less than 15 minutes
Zarf/Andrew Plotkin has said before that he thinks about a certain interaction he wants players to experience in a game, and then builds the game around that.

This game was built around one interaction at the end. Itís a cool interaction, but the rest of the game doesnít do enough to build up to and support this special interaction at the level it deserves. Itís like having a small 1-tier cake with a huge crystal wedding topper that it canít quite support.

The cards were a nice visual feature: this is set in a futuristic Vegas casino, and you can see the cards being dealt.

Overall, this shows a high level of craftsmanship, and I anticipate that a longer game by this author would be great.

Bi Lines, by Naomi Z (as Norbez)
A shortish, nice-looking Twine game about bisexuality, January 6, 2019
by MathBrush
Related reviews: less than 15 minutes
Norbez has written quite a few games over the years now, including several IFComp games, and itís clear that their style is progressing, adapting, and improving. This is the best Norbez game Iíve seen, and definitely one of the best ďPSAĒ games Iíve seen. Just like Depression Quest for depression or Hana Feels for self-harm, Bi Lines is meant to help you consider what itís like to be a bisexual man in an unacceptably society.

What made this piece work for me was the presentation. Nice chalk/like effects when you click on choices, smooth writing, and a supernatural setting with a reporter talking to ghosts make an excellent frame over the deeper charcterization choices and the central narrative.

This game takes place over three days, but is still fairly short. It contains some strong profanity in a scene or two. I recommend this game.

Campfire Tales, by Matthew Deline
A campfire tale with randomly generated elements, November 24, 2018
by MathBrush
Related reviews: less than 15 minutes
This game isn't bad in it's own category, it just happens not to be what satisfies my criteria for stars, which is why it got a low score from me.

This game uses randomization of elements taken from some sort of database (so that figurines might be of monkeys one playthrough or of dogs on another).

The player has some text input, and there are images, but overall it seems like you just get a story to read that you don't have much effect over or investment in.

The game shows a great level of skill, though.

And You May Find Yourself, by VPC
An incomplete texture game about a surreal world, November 24, 2018
by MathBrush
Related reviews: less than 15 minutes
In this game, you wake up in the world described in Talking Head's 'Once in a Lifetime' song. You have a beautiful house, a beautiful wife, and none of it makes sense.

This is a texture game, and has great promise. Unfortunately, it is not complete at all.

If you experiment with it, note that it has some sensuous scenes.

Linear Love, by Tom Delanoy
A demo for Glyffe, an engine where you physically move through text, November 19, 2018
by MathBrush
Related reviews: less than 15 minutes
This was a game meant to show off a particularly interesting engine, but which may not have been the best choice to show it off.

Glyffe lets you navigate (using arrow keys) around a text on screen, with interactions happening when you run over something. There are interesting Glyffe 'worlds' with red FIRE and grey WALLS and DOORS that you can physically interact with.

But this game is just a long text, where running over a paragraph makes the next pop up. The text is interesting, but the interactivity of this example wasn't sold to me.

Awake, by Soham Sevak
Part 1 of an AI sci-fi story, November 9, 2018
by MathBrush
Related reviews: less than 15 minutes
This is a short, incomplete science fiction story.

This game has excellent worldbuilding, you can really get a feeling for the kind of place that you're in. It's a high-tech sci-fi scenario.

However, it feels more like a good first effort than anything else. Formatting is kind of off, with no spaces between paragraphs. The clinical tone isn't quite nailed, with first names being used for researchers (like Dr. Sarah and so on).

I believe a further game by this author, with practice and polish, will turn out great.

Dance in Blood, by Intudia
A short branching teenage camp horror game, November 6, 2018
by MathBrush
Related reviews: less than 15 minutes
This game is in the Intudia system, which was also used for Addicott Manor in IFComp.

This game is quite short, as is appropriate for the Ectocomp competition. It's also a widely branching game. You are a counselor on a bus trip to a camp. You have about 2-5 choices on any branch.

The story is about murder, supernatural violence, etc. and relies on several stereotypes and tropes of teenage slasher films.

The Magistrate's Chambers, by Stewart C Baker
A Chinese literature-inspired short Halloween story, November 5, 2018
by MathBrush
Related reviews: less than 15 minutes
This fairly short Twine story has us playing as a magistrate's assistant, reviewing three different accounts of ghosts by three different characters.

The characters are inspired by the Chinese novel Di Gong An.

I found the setting interesting and the writing well-done. The only real choice was the order of the stories, but there was a bit of a puzzle at the end which I was pleased with.

Please Help Me, by Phillip J Rhoades
A promising first entry in the Ectocomp competition, November 4, 2018
by MathBrush
Related reviews: less than 15 minutes
This is the second Ectocomp game I've played by howtophil, and I have to say that it's not as good as his other, and I actually think that's a compliment.

This current game was, as far as I know, the author's first completed work. I remember testing it in the forums. It implements several clever ideas/puzzles, one puzzle in each of four rooms.

However, it sort of attempts too much at once, not leaving enough time and space for careful implementation.

The author's second game in this competition, Wake Up, was written in less time but with more skill. It had a narrow focus, excellent implementation, and a great overall structure. It's clear the author is learning by leaps and bounds.

So I can't strongly recommend this game, but I can recommend Wake Up, and I believe the next games to come from this author will continue to increase in quality.

ZOINKS!, by Elizabeth Smyth

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
An entertaining short Twine story based on a classic kids' cartoon, November 3, 2018
by MathBrush
Related reviews: less than 15 minutes
This is a feel-good game, which, as the author pointed out online, is very different from their last game, Bogeyman:

"my entry for ifcomp, which is genre-neutral: "extremely disturbing", "relentlessly horrible"
my entry for ectocomp, which is specifically halloween-themed: light-hearted family-friendly HIJINKS"

This game is based on a classic kids' cartoon, and it holds up well. You have a big, lawnmowery exploration phase looking for supplies before setting up a home alone-like defense.

The game feels slight and smallish, but polished; this makes it perfect for a casual competition like Ectocomp.


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