Mathbrush's 2023 Ectocomp reviews (Done reviewing)

I’m doing French first! Starting off with a strong entry in La Petite Morte:

In the Blink of an Eye

This was the first Ectocomp game I played. I played the French version, then later ran through it in English.

It’s very extensive for a 4-hour game. It’s an Ink game, and you have quite a few different choices throughout the game. The author has used several interesting techniques, like branching and bottlenecking choices, choices that allow users to lawnmower through items in any order, and choices where you have a limited number you can select.

The story is a bit haphazard, as would be expected in a speed game. It had so many elements…there was a jaded romance which I found quite interesting, and then more chance for romance later. But there are also competitive game aspects, and some mystery. To me it felt like three ideas for great games, all rolled into one small game, and so it didn’t gel. But I like each of the ideas! Impressive for a work of 4 hours.


Thanks for the review~!
The original plan was 3 times as long, where the game aspect/mystery was going to be explored a bit more in depth, which ended up not possible to make under 4h as it turns out :joy:
But I got to learn how to use variables in Ink this time :partying_face:
there’s definitely no romance in the future tho.


In Girum

This game isn’t the usual sort of thing I review. While it firmly falls into the category of what I think of as interactive fiction (due to being a story mostly told through words where you take part in it), it contains a lot of graphical and auditory elements as well.

It’s in the genre of ‘lost game’, one I’ve enjoyed in the past; I liked the NES Godzilla Creepypasta before and stories like Lavender Town and Ben Died are all over the internet. More recently I’ve been introduced to Pets Cop.

This game primarily features Binksi, which is a combination of Ink, the scripting language, and Bitsi, which is used for making minimalistic pixel art games that trigger text when you walk into objects.

But, unlike most Binksi games, this is all set within a CRT screen inside the page, so it looks all warped and weird. Also, there is excellent French narration with captions. Usually, timed text is annoying because I read fast and it’s too slow; here, I struggled to read it before it moved on, due to being a non-native speaker.

Like most found-lost-games, the game in the game is unfinished, and you have to experience it through a variety of different levels created at different times. The different levels provide insight into the creator’s mindset as he deteriorates over time. Different game elements are specifically pointed out as symbolising certain aspects of the creator’s life.

Levels vary; they include an interrogation in a Russian-themed prison; a confrontation in a castle; and a pretty annoying giant invisible maze (but which is solvable fairly quickly). At one point I thought the game had glitched and restarted, only to find that I just hadn’t explored enough. The ending was a dramatic shift and seemed to be a suiting climax that brought the whole game together.

I would give this game a 4/5 as it is well made but has many elements that don’t suit my interests. However, I am giving it 5/5 solely due to the chunk of English Inform 7 code that was found in the game, since it reminded me of a game I once had to write in a similar format. It was well done.


30 Dreams in 31 Days

This Spanish game was made in conjunction with Inktober, which means the author made one part of it every day of the month of October. So there are 30 different ‘mini games’ put into one.

The game starts on a dark and spooky night. Alone in the house, you have to do chores. Once you do, you have such nightmares…

The bulk of the game consists of the 30 nightmares. In each one, you play as a Binksi character (a system allowing you to walk around a minimalistic pixel graphic world with limited 2-frame animations and selective color palettes).

The nightmares have a lot of variety in types, but some are more represented than the others. The most common are ones where there are several copies of the same object scattered on the screen, and you have to pick them all up, each one producing some text which is at first random then eventually repeated, before you can move on. This was good, but became a bit tedious over time. I preferred the large animals who had deep conversations, and I liked a graveyard with ghosts.

The writing is self-introspective, open and refreshing with self insecurities, kind of like the lyrics to Joni Mitchell songs.

The ending caught me by surprise, and I thought the game had broken. I’m still not sure if there’s anything you can do on the final screen, but it was effective and different.


Meurtre dans la Station Spatiale (both versions)

This is a pretty complex game entered in Ectocomp, in both Grand Guignol and Petite Mort editions. The Grand Guignol version was polished more (since Petite Mort has a time limit).

In this game, you are going up to a space station with two others in the shuttle with you. You all are identified by your roles, yours being the Inspector.

You are quizzed on an old case study of law, where an astronaut died on the ISS when their module was released too early.

Interestingly, the game features real life astronauts like Shannon Lucid and Léopold Eyharts, who are still alive, and is essentially fan-fiction about real life people. It’s an AU, as the events take place in a fictional 1998.

You read everyone’s journal entries then decide on whether the accused is innocent or guilty, and, if guilty, how guilty they are.

Perhaps due to the language barrier, I was confused about one mechanic. Before reading the case studies, you have to decide where the case was tried at. This seems to retroactively make the case have been tried there and limits which journals you have access to. It also changes what the actual verdict was, so it’s kind of hard to tell what really happened, although I swear (again, can’t be sure because my French is mediocre) that two of the journals literally confess to the crime.

The Petite Mort version has a lot of weird issues with whitespace and links appearing before they should, all of which were fixed in the full version.

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I read it more as there was a special covert mission which led to the death of the astronaut, whether this was intended or not wasn’t clear to me either.

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Hmmm, very interesting! I was also surprised by the links to real life documents at the end, it made me wonder if maybe the murder had happened in real life lol

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Thankfully it didn’t :joy:
If the credits hadn’t confirmed it was purely fiction and the names were just borrowed I would have probably gone on a deep dive about the whole incident after playing the game :joy:


Esbozo de feto investigando crimen

This is a bizarre little game.

You are a fetus who is superintelligent and a detective. You have a very low opinion of your mother.

Unfortunately, you cannot move or talk. All you can do is kick your mom and crawl around inside her.

This game has a lot of endings; I found 3 and watched several more on a youtube video.

There is wild stuff in this game, lots of using body parts in inappropriate ways, and for some reason a ton of very advanced talk about ontological things and philosophy…I had to use google translate a lot.

Pretty funny; could use some more synonyms for actions.



This is an excellent Twine game…for a little bit. Then it ends, unfinished.

This game places you in the role of a detective in the 1800s, travelling to a region to try to help solve a series of disappearances.

Children are going missing in a grove of trees, and adults as well. The townfolk are fearful, and there is a too-powerful landlord hovering over everything.

The writing is good, with distinct characters that you can interview. It takes place over several days; unfortunately, it ends after the first day.

Excellent start; it only remains to finish.


Billie Night

I played this game in Spanish.

It’s made for the Spectrum platform, and is designed with a ton of retro graphics, many of them consisting of images from the music video to Michael Jackson’s Thriller.

You replay the events of that video in choice based form, but with a lot of changes and additions. There are weapons and items to use and the special power of Bollywood.

The story was zany fun, and the images very well done.

The two main problems I had were both related to the game structure. First, the game is ‘gauntlet’ style, so it’s basically ‘make the right move or die and start over’. I got very frustrated until someone pointed out that the emulators have a ‘save’ feature.

The second is that you have to fight Michael a few too many times, it gets a little repetitive.

Other than that, I enjoyed this and found it well done. The trailer is actually even fancier than the game!


Thank you for reviewing. The game is part of a larger adventure I am working on and it will be from the point of view of Mother instead of the detective fetus, or maybe both.

Singularité is the metropolis of the Puzzletic Empire. They believe everything has an (specific) purpose which is a fascist idea I am not fond of. In the future I would like to explore new mechanics to undermine that concept in funny ways.

About the lack of synonyms: yes, several players told me they struggled to solve some of the puzzles, so I will have to check that. This is my first game, but anyway, if we can improve things there is no excuse to not do it.

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Have you read “Second Coming Attractions” by David Prill? IIRC (it was published 25 years ago) it features a “Fetal Detective” as a movie character.


No, I didn´t know about that but now I need to read it! I am very curious to look for differences and similarities. Is it good?

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I remember it very vaguely - but this is more than I can say about a lot of the stuff I read in the 90’s…


El Virulé, segunda parte: Padre

Last year, when I played El Virulé (part one), I had a lot of trouble understanding it. It was written in what I would consider advanced Spanish, with very rich descriptions and realistic dialogue, about a guy with an ill-looking eye who sang for money but concealed more.

I rated it lower, but it ended up winning the Outstanding Spanish game award in the IFDB awards. So I reconsidered it.

I approached this sequel with new eyes. It has a lot of neat features, like a food bar you slowly fill up, but the real draw here is the relationship between the child protagonist and his father. Every aspect of the game shows how this child (the past version of the first game’s protagonist) is influenced by his father’s choices. Left alone, locked in the house, forced to feed himself, getting threatened, handling dangerous items…

I really liked this game. It’s not too long, and while I had to think hard at times, most actions were natural and most commands made sense for me as a foreigner.

I especially liked the ending scene, and found it powerful. I didn’t get to see the full ending poem because I was hitting enter too fast, but I liked this overall.


Hmmm sounds cool! It’ll be fun to see how it plays out. I’ve told several people about your game concept and they found it amusing and intriguing.

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Monte de las Ánimas

This is one of two games entered in the Spanish Ectocomp Grand Guignol that use a ZX Spectrum emulator to make CYOA games controlled by the Q and A keys and Enter. I thought they were both by the same author, but apparently not.

This game is actually an adaptation of the Legend of the Mountain of Spirits, an older short story. However, it has been substantially expanded. In the original, a girl and her cousin get lost on a haunted mountain, with disastrous results.

In my playthrough, we left the mountain almost immediately, and had an adventure late at night in the city, although there were symbolic elements similar to the original story.

Overall, I found the writing good and the quality high. I don’t really like playing ZX spectrum on an emulator (I use FUSE and it’s tiny and can’t be expanded), but as a game this was enjoyable.


I recommend to set the emulator to 200% speed emulation. Text adventures, and Mucho games run a lot better at double speed.

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Travesuras de Estudiantes

Every year when I play Spanish Ectocomp I encounter a game by this author and it’s always wild. They usually have 3d models that are in the uncanny valley, as well as choice-based gameplay where you can move around. The stories are always wild, often about crime or insanity.

This game restricts the 3d models to profile pictures, and they actually look pretty good. But the story now is some kind of procedurally generated thing, where 4 students have kidnapped and are verbally abusing and torturing a professor. Every action gets a reaction by everyone in the room (even actions you don’t take), and you get the same choices over and over (my character drank at least 7 cups of a mixed drink of three heavy liquors with no ill effects). There are a few more dramatic choices, but overall this is mostly just seeing a wide variety of Spanish profanity interspersed with torture and the decision to drink or not. It’s full of drama and mechanically interesting to observe but narratively a little weak.