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Tough Beans

by Sara Dee


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Reviews and Ratings

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Number of Ratings: 18
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1-18 of 18

- Catalina, October 22, 2017

- Laney Berry, May 16, 2017

Could be so much better, March 17, 2017

I get the concept of this game, I get what the author was trying to do, and I like it, I do.

But all in all it requires a good amount of lenience on the player with the slightly forced & sometimes almost absurd solutions to most of the puzzles, the small but manifold technical faults, and just the lack of anything that could make this game into something special, impactful or even truly enjoyable. A classic first-game, I would say. Ambitious but underperforming.

Ultimately, I don't feel like I got a huge deal out of playing it. But I do appreciate the effort! It's a good idea and the implementation is creative and the writing is really good! It just could be so much better.

- Mr. Patient (Saint Paul, Minn.), December 27, 2016

- hoopla, September 18, 2016

- E.K., August 28, 2016

4 of 5 people found the following review helpful:
A babied woman comes into her own, July 31, 2016
by verityvirtue (London)
In this mid-length work, you play as Wendy Little, secretary in Pickleby, Otis and Meyer, a position your father got you. You’re engaged to Derek, and, well, everything… is peachy.

Tough Beans is, on the surface, a going-to-work simulator – go to work, perform menial errands and so forth – but the story stands out. It highlights how women – especially those who fit the archetypes of femininity – are so often belittled and infantilised. The game opens with an extended musing on the names that people call you – in fact, barely anyone apart from the PC herself calls her by her given name:

Baby. Babe? Babe?

For as long as you can remember, you’ve never really had a name–never needed one. For 22 years people have swaddled you in epithets, letting you know that even though you’re not quite on the right track, the world is there to hold your hand. Your father, your friends, your boyfriend. Gas station attendants.

This game is heavily reliant on cutscenes (do I hear accusations of “not interactive enough!”?) to tell the PC’s account of a lifetime of being put down. Given that the game focuses on the story of an established character, I’d argue that it works, just that it can look daunting sometimes.

What would have made the game better would be work on the technical aspects and hinting actions that I needed to do to progress were not always obvious. The choice of verbs is not always intuitive (for me, anyway). If it were not for the walkthrough, I would have missed a puzzle altogether. Changes in location were not always clearly indicated in the text.

The story arc reminded me of Hedda Gabler’s play A Doll’s House, with the PC’s progress palpable through the story and contrasted clearly at the end. And I liked that (Spoiler - click to show)the asides, too, were written in a way that foreshadow troubles in the PC’s relationship (in response to examining the PC’s boyfriend’s books, you get “You’re trying to get moving, not put yourself to sleep.”

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
A mid-length game about a babied woman standing up for herself, February 3, 2016
In this game, you play a young woman who has constantly been babied her whole life, and who is sick of it.

Your boyfriend leaves you a note in the morning with a job to take care of, but first you have to get dressed and out the door after some obstacles, including a hungry dog. Then you have to go to work, etc.

I liked the message of this game about standing up and not letting people keep you down. The puzzles weren't bad, with multiple solutions, but sometimes relied on extensively searching. Also, if people are visible from far away, then the description can change depending on where you are when you examine them.


- DJ (Olalla, Washington), May 9, 2013

- Sam Kabo Ashwell (Seattle), April 4, 2012

4 of 6 people found the following review helpful:
Great game, August 5, 2010
by Celestianpower (Gloucestershire, UK)
As someone who likes puzzles, I really enjoyed this game. In terms of implementation, it's pretty sound, with many unexpected objects and actions being accounted for, although I did find a few bugs, particularly with pronouns. The puzzles are well-clued and perfectly solveable; I particularly enjoyed the shoe puzzle at the beginning, and was incredibly satisfied to complete it without resorting to hints. What's more, I felt I really identified with the protagonist, and some of her comments really made me laugh, although I didn't really need the textdump flashbacks in order to feel this way. Sara really captured the paranoia of a woman in her situation well.

All in all, a solid, entertaining game. Nothing spectatular, but definitely well worth playing.

- Grey (Italy), December 25, 2009

- Mark Jones (Los Angeles, California), March 31, 2009

- GDL (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania), March 8, 2009

- Jeremy Freese (Evanston, IL), November 25, 2008

- Linnau (Tel-Aviv, Israel), October 31, 2008

- tfbk, January 10, 2008

- Wendymoon, October 26, 2007

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