Ann Hugo's Reviews IFComp 2022

A little slow on the get go, but I’ve started playing this year’s IFComp games (university exams and moving house slowed me down). Anyway, that’s to say that reviews will be soon to come.


I started by playing Use Your Psychic Powers at Applebee’s since it was short and I was already up quite a bit too late. I expected that I might have fun playing through it once, and then I’d get to bed. That’s, of course, not how it actually went. Upon playing through the game once I found myself feeling the need to figure out how to successfully use my psychic powers on everyone, and then I had to figure out the fire, and by that point, well, I just had to learn all I could about every character. So yeah, I was up quite late.

I’m thinking I’ll go with a 7 out of 10 since I very much enjoyed it. I may up it to an 8 later on, dependent on its memorability.


As I begin my second review, I feel the need to note that my ratings for the games made with Texture are going to be slightly different, specifically lower. I’ve noticed there’s a quite few this year, which is cool. The problem for me is that I find myself somewhat frustrated by them. Trying to select an option feels slow and I struggle a fair bit even making that selection. Because of this, I end up very much distracted from the game itself, which means that I end up rating the game lower, having not been quite so engaged.

The first Texture game I played was To Persist/Exist/Endure, Press 1. Given how much I struggled to select options, persisting was definitely accurate. But it was worth it. I liked the game. It was frustrating at times, beyond the selecting of option, but given what the game’s about that would of course be intentional. It really portrays the frustration of calling agencies and the like. In the end, I gave it a 6 out of 10.


Next, I played The Tin Mug, probably. I don’t actually know the order in which I played these next few games. I enjoyed it quite a bit. I think I’ll have to play it again sometime when my mind’s not so stubbornly focussed on my education. It did seem rather endearing, very cute. I think I’ll give it a 7 out of 10.

Another note, or rather a reminder from last year, I only really review games that I quite liked. That’s to say that if liked a game alright but not a whole lot, then I probably won’t review it. After all, I’ve got to prioritize school. So, I’ll be playing more games then I’ll be reviewing, probably pretty exclusively the hypertext and choice based games. That being said, feel free to recommend parser games to me on Twitter @AnnHugoWriter if you think I’d like them.


I then played Death By Lightning, which I didn’t plan to review at first, but then I found myself playing it a few more times to try different things. And you know what, I quite liked it. The format’s fun. The opening scene was definitely a lot for me, but I appreciate the boldness of starting with sexual content. To be honest, my only critique of this game is that I wish there was more of it, not the sexual aspect but the rest of it. I’m not in that into spy stuff generally, but gay spy stuff, now that’s another story. I mean, Spies are Forever is my favourite musical. Anyway, I rated this 7 out of 10 as well.


Next was CHASE THE SUN, and it’s got the same critique. I wanted so much more of it. That being said, I’ve still got a lot more that I can probably do with it, but it being in Texture has slowed me down from trying more things. I did really like it though, especially Bird. I actually ended up giving it an 8 out of 10, which is impressive for a Texture game. Really won me over despite the format.

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Then there was Esther’s, which I absolutely loved. So adorable. Reminded me of being a little kid reading books in school, like Geronimo Stilton (give the brightly coloured words). I loved the characters and the story. Absolutely lovely. So, I ended up giving it a 9 out of 10.


The first 10 out of 10 game that I played is Glimmer. It won me over immediately. It’s just so powerful, so sweet at the end. Having gone through some rough times and being someone’s who’s generally very anxious about the world, I related a lot to the game. Actually, it specifically reminded me of when one of my friends showed up at my place with veggie hot dogs this summer. It feels so wonderfully complete and self-contained. It’s dark and sad but also sweet and hopeful. Anyway, I absolutely loved it.

Edit: I convinced my friend to play this game as well (she’s never played any interactive fiction), and she also very much liked it.


Man, that was intense. I just finished The Absence of Miriam Lane, and wow. One, it’s amazing. And two, just wow. That was quite an experience.

So, the story is super powerful, kind of dark but mostly just real, which almost makes it darker, I suppose. I really felt like I got a sense of Miriam, somewhat her family as well. But more than just getting a sense of her, I felt like I was feeling alongside her, which is some impressive writing.

Making it even better, I love how the game was designed, the use of imagery, everything. I liked the mystery solving sort of aspect. That’s not generally what I seek out, but it was intertwined so closely with the story that I think it was a real asset. There wasn’t a single moment that I wasn’t completely engaged.

Unsurprisingly, I’m giving The Absence of Miriam Lane a 10 out of 10.


Just finished playing Let Them Eat Cake, and I quite liked it. Somehow it’s cute and absolutely dark and morbid at the same time. I think it’s the lovely art and how it feels like you’re just going around doing errands in a little town. There’s of course a fair bit more to it than that, which is I think part of why it works so well. The characters were quite interesting too.

I ended up giving it an 8 out of 10. Initially, I was thinking 9 out of 10 with my only real complaint being that some of the choices could be a bit more fleshed out. After a few playthroughs though, I noticed that some things didn’t seem to be linked properly, got myself into something of a loop at the church. Really enjoyed the game.

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I’m rather estranged from the ways of navigation. -Moondog

Same, Moondog, same.

I just finished playing The Counsel in the Cave, and I really enjoyed it. Not sure I quite grasped all of it, but it was definitely good. It very much felt like I was taking in a bunch of life wisdom, all while feeling a bit like Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland or The Phantom Tollbooth. I enjoyed the characters, the main ones as well as the other folks throughout. I definitely understood May better than Jason though. And I admittedly got a little lost switching from May to Jason, but I think I sort of got the hang of that by the end of the game.

In conclusion, I rated it 8 out of 10.

Just finished playing Under the Bridge. Pretty sure I got all the endings, I was quite into it.

First of all, the creepy, fantastical vibe was amazing. That won me over immediately. The graphics for the font and the audio are excellent (although the audio doesn’t seem to consistently play for the amount of time it took me to read all the passages, so it could be a little smoother in that regard). Further, I love all the choices and endings, and our protagonist. Pretty much I love it all, to be honest. Oh, and the art was awesome too.

I rated it 9 out of 10.

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Finished playing The Grown-Up Detective Agency, and man, I’m up way too late at night. It was fun though, so while I may regret this choice tomorrow morning, I’m perfectly happy with it at the moment.

It’s a wonderful game. I wasn’t immediately super interested since I’m not really into detective stuff, but I was won over quite quickly. Kid Bell reminds me of reading kid detective books back in elementary school, which was fun and nostalgic. And the gayness had me super keen. Kid Bell and Adult Bell’s dynamic was great. And just having a queer detective interact with the young queer detective version of her is amazing. Loved the graphics and writing. Story’s just lovely. Can’t actually think of any critiques.

Rating this one a 10 out of 10.


Just finished playing Elvish for Goodbye. I was quite enamoured with this game. The writing is beautiful. And the story was great as well, especially the ending. I think I’ll need to play it again sometime, get a better idea of what I just experienced. Anyway, it’s another 9 out of 10.

Nearly done playing games for this year’s IFComp. Apologies that my reviews are rather short, even now that I’m on a study break, I find myself quite busy.

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And now, I’ve finished The Archivist and the Revolution, which I was saving for last since I was especially hyped about that one from the beginning. It was great, definitely lived up to how hyped I was to play it.

It took me a little bit for me to really get into it, just the first round of datasets, but once I was accustomed to that, I was very engaged. I’m not sure what more to say, to be honest. It’s rather depressing, somewhat in how real it all feels. It’s excellent at building such a tense atmosphere. The writing’s great. The characters too. I’ll probably play it more so in the future, get some of the other endings (I’ve just got the 2nd ending so far). I’m definitely very much curious about the others.

Unsurprisingly, I’ve given this game a 10 out of 10.

And that’s the last review I’ll be doing for this year’s IFComp.


My top ten games from IFComp 2022 (with updated ratings):

  1. The Absence of Miriam Lane (10 out of 10)
  2. Under the Bridge (10 out of 10)
  3. The Grown-Up Detective Agency (10 out of 10)
  4. Glimmer (10 out of 10)
  5. The Archivist and the Revolution (10 out of 10)
  6. Esther’s (9 out of 10)
  7. Elvish for Goodbye (9 out of 10)
  8. The Counsel in the Cave (8 out of 10)
  9. Use Your Psychic Powers at Applebee’s (8 out of 10)
  10. Death by Lightning (8 out of 10)
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My newly updated official list of my favourite interactive fiction games:

1(tied). Bogeyman and Filthy Aunt Mildred
3. The Impossible Bottle
4. The Absence of Miriam Lane
5. You Are Spam Zapper 3.1
6. Under the Bridge
7. The Grown-Up Detective Agency
8. Congee
9. The Uncle Who Works for Nintendo
10. 9:05