A Bitterly Indifferent thread of reviews, writeups, and thoughts articulated with varying degrees of quality

Turbo Chest Hair Massacre is a real piece of work by Joey Acrimonious.

The main character’s insecurities prevent her from leaving the house, and you must deal with this by removing her chest hair. Although the razors are missing, useful substitutes can be found everywhere. There’s just one question: What price will you pay for perfection?

I went into this entry expecting a weakly implemented joke, and instead I found smart writing in a parser-based exploration of what it means to be in a relationship. Yes, it contains coarse language and erotic themes, but they’re artistically justifiable coarse language and erotic themes. Without them, the Turbo Chest Hair Massacre experience would be incomplete.

A wide variety of tools can be applied to the main problem, and they are uncovered by exploring the environment and interacting with the main character’s roommate. I enjoyed their different observations and reactions; they are clearly defined through sharp writing.

I was also entertained by how Turbo Chest Hair Massacre nudges the player towards obviously terrible solutions that are easy to attempt. Some of my worst ideas were smoothly executed without having to guess any verbs. After some quick early failures, I thought, “I need duct tape.” Dear reader, the game provided duct tape. After discovering more details about the roommates, I resorted to a method of hair removal that was suitably horrifying.

If I have but one regret, it’s that I didn’t spend more time exploring new frontiers of personal hygiene with Turbo Chest Hair Massacre. It was fun as hell.

8 Likes

this rules and i’m definitely trying this. there’s very few games i like more than ones that reward you most fully for making bad choices. life should be similar imho

4 Likes

Hi, Peter. Thank you for playing and reviewing RRR. I’m pleased you enjoyed the story, and your feedback is much appreciated. The respawn feature was added to take the player back to before the mistake was made, allowing a different choice, rather than replaying from the start, so it’s a shame that players have been a little muddled by this. In future games, I may remove this checkpoint feature or better explain it, as it clearly needs some attention. Thanks again!

1 Like

Desolation is a parser-based horror entry from Earth Traveler.

I had a difficult time engaging with this story, and I’m not convinced that a parser was the best format for delivering it.

2 Likes

Tavern Crawler is a choice-based, screwball noir fantasy by Josh Labelle.

Too much dramatic tension might have cramped the interactivity and left me feeling like an observer. Instead, I had enough slack to play around inside the story and enjoy myself.

3 Likes

Passages is speculative fiction by Jared W. Cooper.

I wondered whether I should try to piece together its chronology on my own. Then I decided to follow the narrator’s example and accept things as they are.

2 Likes

Quintessence is a choice-based science fiction work by Andrea M. Pawley.

The choices in Quintesence were less about deciding how my character acted, and more about choosing which actions would affect it.

3 Likes

Savor is a choice-based horror entry by Ed Nobody.

My inability to enjoy the story might have been a personal failing.

3 Likes

Fight Forever describes itself as a white paper. It describes a lot of ambitious things.

3 Likes

@vivdunstan recommended Captain Graybeard’s Plunder, and she’s absolutely right that it should not be missed.

Honestly, you can ignore my review. Graybeard’s Plunder, by Julian Mortimer Smith, is short enough that your time would be better spent just enjoying the work itself.

2 Likes

Seasonal Apocalypse Disorder, written by Zan and Xavid, is a parser-based mission to save the world from fiery destruction. (Xavid is also credited on Vain Empires.)

I appreciated how the challenges were designed, and I was entertained by its understated absurdity.

3 Likes

Accelerate is a choice-based multimedia project credited to The TAV Institute.

This story is set in a future world where nations have already been remade by violent conflict, but political and economic actors are still engaging in familiar behavior that divides and controls the public. It’s quickly apparent whether this experience will appeal to you.

2 Likes

Big Trouble in Little Dino Park was written by Seth Paxton and Rachel Aubertin, using Ink.

I enjoyed exploring the question at the heart of this entry: “What if Jurassic Park gave summer jobs to disaffected teens?

1 Like

#VanLife is a choice-based entry by Victoria from Stimsims math games.

The main character publishes daily inspirational quotes, experiences cravings for avocado toast, and makes money from freelance photojournalism and product reviews. Are we laughing at their expense, or is this something today’s hip youth can relate to?

2 Likes

Doppeljobs is a choice-based story from Lei.

The narration of this story fits the perspective of a naive magical creature trying to survive as an entrepreneur in the City of Sand — it’s exactly the kind of blank-slate optimism that you would expect from an entity that knows nothing about humanity.

3 Likes

The Copyright of Silence is a choice-based entry by Ola Hansson.

The blurb for this entry hints that it’s like Elsinore or Varicella, where you are expected to fail many times and learn from your mistakes.

2 Likes

The Cursèd Pickle of Shireton is a choice-based fantasy adventure by Hanon Ondricek.

This entry’s greatest strength and biggest weakness is that it’s a sprawling assortment of wonders.

4 Likes

THE PICKLE ENDORSES THIS REVIEW HEARTILY AND REMINDS THE READER THAT THE PICKLE ONLY WANTS TO BE GOOD FRIENDS. THERE IS NO REASON TO DEFEAT THE PICKLE.

2 Likes

I’ll tell you what, one of my favorite moments in the game was when the pickle took care of the raider in the bakery. Whatever else you want to say about the pickle, you can’t fault its priorities.

2 Likes

“You Will Thank Me as Fast as You Thank a Werewolf” could have put more helpful information in its blurb – calling it “an experimental story about a lifelong romantic relationship” is insulting. (EDITED TO CLARIFY: Trying to present GPT-2 output as a mimicry of other IFcomp entries is an insult to even the weakest, most poorly crafted work submitted by actual people.)

From its in-game About section:

“This work is a collaboration with GPT-2, a neural network model designed to predict the next word in a block of given text based on its study of eight million web pages. In this application, I input a text file of my own prose from the past twenty years into GPT-2. It then generated new writing in a similar style. I selected, arranged, and lightly edited the resulting output.”

I’d be entertained if somebody collaborated with GPT-2 to generate a review for this entry, but otherwise I’m giving it a 2.

2 Likes