Felicity's Very Biased Reviews of IF Comp 2021

I plan to review “Recon” (done), “The Library”, “An Aside About Everything”, “Universal Hologram” and “The Golden Heist”—in that order—IF I’m able to make them go (I’m shockingly tech-limited).


This is an intensely confusing game. The language is sufficiently mistake-filled that I sometimes can’t tell what the writer is trying to say. But an even worse thing, for me, is that the game is filled with puzzles. It’s not the writer’s fault that I hate puzzles with a fiery passion (to their credit, the writer provided a walkthrough—which I did use), but there should have been an indication of the game’s puzzly nature in the blurb.

So I’m inclined to give the game a failing mark of 3 stars (out of 10)… except it’s not the writer’s fault that I hate puzzles so much. So then I’d give it a 5. But despite the extremely flawed English, it’s clear that the writer is actually very very good.

It’s an interesting and fully-realised setting, and there are lots of glimmers of brilliance here and there (in my first play-through I thought the black colour of the hyperlink on a certain page was an error and in the second I realised there was a plot reason to hide the button—neat). So in the end I’ll give it 6 for a brilliant but fundamentally broken game. Hopefully the writer will keep improving their English because they’re a valuable addition to the IF world.


It’s always great to get more reviews, but given this thread’s title I have to confess being just a little bit disappointed that this wasn’t a panegyric to Fine Felines. :smiley:


Oh, you mean the greatest and best game of all time? The one that fixes depression, makes you more attractive, and soothes a troubled soul? The one with pictures so cute your reproductive organs immediately shut up shop, knowing that no child could be as cute as the selection of kittens within the game? That one?

Yeah, it’s pretty good.


The Library! I can’t wait! Thank you for your interest in my game (and I apologize in advance for the confusing navigation system that I silly use in the game).

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Hi Felicity!

First of all, thanks a lot for taking the time to review my IF. I’m sorry to read that you didn’t like the puzzles that much, otherwise I intended to make the game heavily based on that.

When you talk about a poor level of language, I don’t know whether you mean misprints and spelling mistakes or a low level of vocabulary and sentence structure. I am a non-native English speaker and this is a translation of the original language, but I am working on fixing the typos to update the IF.

Once again, thanks for the time and the tips.

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Hi Carlos, the main issue with the language in the story is the sentence structure. English is messy, with a range of grammar and spelling from so many languages that barely any of it makes sense—but that also makes it a great language with a lot of flexibility and range. (Obviously, I’m biased.)

In my opinion, if you had a native English speaker working closely with you on the story to make the English smoother (they would have to be paid or your co-writer because it would be a big job), it would be worth an 8 or higher (especially for people who like puzzles, because I could see from the walkthrough that the puzzles were neat).

Well , the thing is that I’ve worked on it with my native English teacher, that’s why it sounds strange to me.

Review of “The Library” by @Leobos67

For the second time, I found a game that…

  • described itself as choice-based but was parser at its heart (in my opinion).
  • I was unable to finish due to technical issues in the game.

I love a magical library, and this one is great. I wouldn’t describe it as a “nightmare”. I mean, sure, you’re asleep—and you might commit a murder if the situation calls for it—but it was definitely funny and playful rather than scary or horrifying.

Unfortunately, the language isn’t flawless. This is probably another person writing in their second (or third, or very possibly fifth or more—being multilingual is SO COOL you guys) language. It’s ALMOST right most of the time (and I noticed that the first few adventures are slightly more polished than later chapters), and it’s usually easy to tell what the writer means and what is going on.

So it’s a significant flaw, but all it needs is a couple of intense drafts (probably by paid English speakers) to fix.

As I keep saying, I am allergic to parser. It makes me cry. And this game is parser trying very hard to feel natural. It doesn’t always succeed, but a big part of me appreciates the attempt—having buttons to choose instead of needing to type directions made things a lot easier for me.

But still, it’s parser, and my brain does NOT like that. I’m all about the story, not the puzzles. So I quickly headed over to the walkthrough, which worked really well for ALMOST the whole game. I hit a game-breaking bug quite early on, and restarted—but when I hit another one very close to the end I wasn’t willing to risk it happening a third time. Plus I felt I had a pretty good grasp on the game.

Game breaking bugs get a fail mark, and frequent language errors get another two points off. So at this point it scores 3.


The central concept—taking items from one famous book to fix problems in another—is utterly brilliant, totally hilarious, and charmingly done. I can see the writer put a lot of thought into how the game works and what goes where. It made me wish I’d thought of the idea. I really enjoyed it.

So I’m giving it a 6, just like “Recon”. Two games that showed genuinely amazing potential but failed in both language and execution. This writer is definitely one to watch in years to come.

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Thak you very much for your review! You pointed out issues different from the other reviewers, so I have more suggestions to consider. I was surprised that no one until now was complaining seriously about my English. Unluckily I’ve lost all my time in programming the interface and planning a passable story, so I couldn’t find in time a native English speaker to fix my last texts.
Your final considerations make me hope for a possible partecipation in the next year ifcomp and I’m going to avoid a lot of mistakes thanks to the wonderful experience of this edition.
Thank you again!


“An Aside About Everything” review:

I feel. . .

Melancholy. Confused, but serene in my confusion—a little bored, perhaps. Defensive. Trapped. Freed. Lost, but on a familiar path. Not the same path I’ve been before, but similar enough that I feel only wary rather than afraid.

This is a strange one, but not because the game sucks. It’s meant to be trippy, and it most definitely is that.

Earlier today, I attempted to set up an app thingy online so that I can accept credit card payments on my phone (eg when I’m selling my novels at a festival). This is something that has been on my “urgent” list since May, but I’ve been too afraid of facing it. And today, when I finally faced it and failed over and over again…. that’s exactly how parser makes me feel.

So when this game has the teensiest hint of parser stylings (in the sense that you walk around and choose which location to go to) I was afraid. But since you go to all the locations anyway, and there’s never more than three to keep track of (really one central hub with two or three locations to explore from there) I was quickly reassured. This game is truly choice-based in the end, with two flaws: one is that there are no obvious branches, so it’s not VERY interactive (in my interpretation of the term). Two, you sometimes have to negotiate (a teeny tiny bit) through a ‘hub’ location (eg Main Street), which is the second thing I hate about parser: I hate EVER having to re-read a paragraph. But that secondary hatred is really minor, in the end.

I’m going to give this game a 6. It seems unfair in many ways to give this fundamentally competent and functional game the same score as two somewhat broken games, but although it’s solid and even lyrical in style it ultimately feels fairly average. There are quite a few minor typos or grammar things but I feel like the point it’s making about the selfishness/self-absorption of the main character contradicts itself because there are no plausible options to be better.

As always, this is 100% my opinion and I don’t claim to be fair.

The atmosphere of the story is good, with above-average writing.

Edit: Review of “The Golden Heist”



But yay!

But nooooo!

This game is really, really good. I reckon it will outrank mine, and mine is really good too. So rather than pretending to be all classy and professional, and purely celebrating this excellent achievement, I’ve decided to admit to that worm of jealousy eating at my insides.

Dear Reader, this game is EXCELLENT.

It is funny, with great characters, neat branching, compelling writing, and an exciting plot with plenty of twists and turns.

I found a few extremely minor typos, and some very minor continuity errors (we never searched for extra loot but somehow my companion had some at the end). None of them were a big deal. The story is so good, and the characters too. Ooh, and the setting.

Yes, I’m basically just listing the elements of a game and saying that every single one was excellent.

I even liked the PUZZLE (partly because it was fundamentally voluntary) you guys.

I’m giving this game a score of 9. Seriously good AND seriously fun.


I’m guessing this is about The Golden Heist? Sorry, I didn’t see a title here…


Oh! Yes it is. That’s what I get for copying and pasting from my blog. I’ll go add a title…

“Universal Hologram” Review

Last but not least…


. . .

I’m a little leery of scifi and of anything artsy, so let’s see how we go!

. . .

Ah, the writing instantly draws me in. Within minutes I’ve lost my sense of reality so thoroughly that when the test gives me an option to “look down” I don’t click on it. I physically look down at my lap.

This is gonna be quite a ride. . .

. . .

“…the energy signal of your soul blooms like a fiber optic flower…”

This person writes beautifully.

. . .

Aaand I’ve finished the game.

That was a TRIP you guys. The art and animations added greatly to the discombobulation and for a while I was happy to just mooch about here and there, feeling weirder and weirder. I had juust enough time to wonder if there was a point to it all when the game noticeably steered me towards a plot, which I followed for the rest of the story.

A lot of the time I only had one thing to click on, and I’m pretty sure all roads lead to the same main ending. It definitely made me feel things, though. There was worldbuilding, and humour, and decent characterisation.

I’ll give it an 8.


Like many reviewers (especially those who are also authors) I feel quite uncertain about my ratings, so I decided to lift several. My final scores are:
Recon - 6 (unchanged—I stick to my diagnosis of “brilliant but badly broken”)

The Library - 7 (I really did like it despite finding a serious bug)

An Aside About Everything - 7 (it’s a decent game and deserves respect)

Universal Hologram - 8 (Wasn’t to my taste, but was more interactive than I realised on one play-through, and the writing and art deserve a bonus bump.)

The Golden Heist - 10. Even a week later, I can’t think of any flaws. Plus it was a seriously fun and professional game. I did find a few very minor typos, but let’s call it a 9.6 and round up.


Thank you very much and… I apologizes again for the bug :cry:

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