I whipped through the games pretty quickly. Here are some brief reviews, in the order I played them. There are no spoilers.
This is a ChoiceScript game, set in a climate change-induced post-apocalyptic desert. It’s Dirtworld, essentially, and you’re Kevin Costner, saving villagers from roving gangs, at least in the intro.
I felt like it was more of a NoChoiceScript game than ChoiceScript. There are a few decision points of the type, Do you want to check out the obviously important thing, or ignore it? Even if you choose the latter, you encounter the thing, of course. There’s also a point in a flashback sequence where you’re presented with three clearly differentiated choices. All three lead to the exact same outcome.
In the credits, the authors deliberately misspell a word as a joke when thanking their testers. They then go on to make about two dozen actual spelling errors.
Do I want to play the completed version? No.
This is another ChoiceScript game. Your PC is unexpectedly tabbed to be a sort of regional honcho in a fantasy empire with the typical trappings: elves, swords, etc. The intro takes you through meeting a few NPCs, establishing your backstory, gender, and sexual preferences, and receiving your first mission. Most of the NPC-related choices are, Do you want to to be a jerk to this person, or not? Naturally, I tried both, and it didn’t change the course of the story that much, but I’d expect that the ramifications would be much greater in the full game. There are also a number of choices where there wasn’t enough context to understand what I was deciding. For example, what color armor would I like? Still, there was more choice here, and more meaningful choice, than in Wasteland.
There are also a great many spelling and formatting errors, including several pages where there are no spaces after periods. I’d recommend that the author enlist some testers and proofreaders.
Do I want to play the completed version? Maybe.
This is an experiment in using hyperlinks for the interface. On Gargoyle, it defaulted to an unreadable color scheme: the links were dark blue on a black background. I changed the links to yellow using the ini file, and it was much better after that, but still clumsy. Playing on a small screen, I had to hit the space bar multiple times after each click so that the links at the bottom were re-displayed.
The game is “An Interactive Genecide [sic],” but there’s not enough here to say what it’s really about. You awaken (actually he or she awakens – the text is in third person) in a dark room, attached to some menacing contraption. The player clicks a few links, and the game ends. It was not beta-tested.
There may be value in replacing the standard IF parser, but GENESIS doesn’t show enough to say why.
Do I want to play the completed version? Probably not.
A very short intro. You’re a recently-dead soul in a waiting room, trying to make your way to your final destination (or any destination, really). The intro is an escape-the-room scenario, made a little more difficult than it needed to be. I found the objects I needed in very short order, but had no idea how to make them go. Eventually things just happened and I escaped.
As an aside, this is at least the third game released in the last year to feature Charon the boatman, and probably the tenth or fifteenth time I’ve seen him in IF overall.
Do I want to play the completed version? Yes, I think so. The writing – what little I saw of it – was clever.
The Bafflingly Casual Adventures of No One of Significant Import
This is a My Crappy Apartment game, combined with some RPG elements and monster fighting. I found it aggressively unpleasant most of the time. The writing is conversational in a sort of asshole-buddy mode, substituting attitude for wit. I found it a chore to read.
The gameplay involves poking around your filthy apartment for a few items, heading to your bog-standard degrading workplace for a bit, and then returning to your apartment, where you fight a not-well-described monster using menu options (wait, attack, jump out of the way, etc.). Your PC’s health is tracked through happiness points, which you can lose either by being struck by the monster, or by having a sad (discovering you’re out of Mountain Dew). If you manage to defeat the monster before your happiness hits zero, the intro ends.
Do I want to play the completed version? No.
This is the most substantial of the IntroComp entries, and one of the more frustrating. The game advertises itself as An Experiment in Sound, and the ABOUT text strongly discourages you from playing without sound enabled. Normally, I don’t care much for sound/music in IF; usually I listen for a little bit to get a feel for it, and then turn it off. The audio in Compliance was pretty effective and creepy, though, and I kept it on the whole way through.
The game involves penetrating some evil corporate or government headquarters to find a secret file involving a missing loved one, and then escaping. I was immediately hooked; it’s a good setup.
The problem is in the implementation. Interactivity, in general, is pretty low. Most objects can’t be manipulated in any meaningful way. The one object I found which could be manipulated offered no clues as to how to do so. In fact, I’d go so far as to say it was anti-clued: the description actively discouraged the necessary action. There’s tons of unimplemented scenery, which makes for frustrating play, especially since so much of that scenery appears to be important. Exits are frequently not described. The main object of your search is not even mentioned once you find the room. You just have to guess it’s there. The ending that I found (maybe not the only one) was accessible through a dirty IF trick, one that was arguably unfair in 1976 when it first appeared in Adventure.
Do I want to play the completed version? Maybe. I liked the setup and the music, but the gameplay needs work.