Mathbrush's 2023 Ectocomp reviews (Done reviewing)

I’ll try that! Thanks!

Thank you! There is a risk of that one becoming a white whale, but your words encourage me to keep going! ^^

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El último Baile

This short Petite Mort ectocomp game features a branching narrative written in 4 hours.

Despite its short creation time, it manages to be interesting. You are at a party where things are getting pretty dangerous.

As you explore more, you discover a dangerous group of individuals who have taken over the building. If you can only figure out a good path, you can survive!

This game mostly is a kind of gauntlet structure where there are dead ends at each stage (although it’s not totally a gauntlet because you get multiple chances for some things). It can be thrilling at times or disturbing at others. Overall, I found the story effective, but would enjoy if more time was spent adding different connections between paths and variable tracking (which would obviously take more than 4 hours!) Great work for the time it was written in.


Bruma Roja

This is one of the more serious Ectocomp games I’ve played. It can be hard to write interactive fiction that has gravitas and purpose to it, as giving players agency can take away from overall arcs.

This game handles it well. You are in a hotel room, a haze filtering in through the curtains. War is going on, bombings and violence. And you are confronted with the memory of someone who is no longer there…

The game is short, so there isn’t much to say, except that this is written well and was poignant.


El Fin de la Historia

This game was entered in the 2023 Spanish ectocomp.

This game has you sitting at a computer, typing away, when your computer program ruptures reality!

As a strange figure announces to you, you must try to restore this timeline.

This game managed to hit all of the things I like. I enjoyed the fantasy style setting, I didn’t encounter any bugs or typos, I liked the polish of the different presentations of text (computer, tile, etc), and I enjoyed the small puzzles.

It’s a small game overall, but I enjoyed it while it lasted. I may have enjoyed it more because it’s in Spanish, with translation adding to the fun.


This game is a bit different to my last Ecto entries so I’m glad it worked for you. Thanks for playing and reviewing!

There’s an English version which takes advantage of the extra Grand Guignol development time and looks a bit better (in exchange for the translation enjoyment).



This is an Ink game entered into several competitions; I saw it in the Grand Guignol ectocomp competition.

This game is fairly long and has some nice, rich structure. There are parts where you can walk around a house, examining different things.

The plot is mysterious and frightening. You follow a friend to a town, hearing vague rumors about his past, until you enter his family home and discover his awful secrets.

The setting and concept were, I thought good, and much of the writing is good. However, I felt for the first third of the game like I was constantly grasping for threads of plot or action. So much was vague, it was difficult to see what direction things were going in.

That’s a recurring theme with the writing, that it becomes so descriptive it almost becomes undescriptive. For instance, in a library, it says ‘You wonder if the hallway’s actual walls are the most-likely peeling drywall or columns of thick tomes covering them.’ I get what it’s going for here, with rich figurative language, but I think that hedging the metaphor with ‘I wonder’ and ‘most likely’ lessens its impact.

However, there are also very strong moments; I especially liked the arrival of the Brother, which was a tense scene and written very dramatically and descriptively. So this isn’t badly written, it just has highs and lows.

Overall, I like this story and would like to see what happens next.


The Revenant’s Lament

This is a long Twine game entered into Ectocomp, Grand Guignol.

You play as what I interpreted as a trans man, someone born as a daughter, raised as a son, who killed his father and took his name and identity. I may have misread it, though.

You have quite a few options in the game. In your life, you come across the devil, who makes a deal with you, which you get to pick.

Near the end, you get to choose between four different endings, some shorter, some longer.

The world setting is a dark and unhappy version of the wild west. Towns are dead or dying; men are jealous and violent; women are suffering. The Devil stalks across the land, doing as he pleases with no mercy.

While the opening didn’t grab me, being a bit too rich for me (like thick, bittersweet fudge), the endings grabbed me, being strongly written. I had a love ending, and I liked it.

The timed text was obnoxious; when the game trusted to the text to provide the pacing instead of some html code, it worked better, IMO. I eventually discovered that you can speed it up a bit by clicking, but that meant that for both my endings I missed the finale, which is timed text where a single click skips it all with no way to get back. But the fact I wanted to read those endings was a tribute to the strong writing of the finales. A good game for those in a lonesome mood.


Thank you for reviewing The Revenant’s Lament! I really appreciate your review, and I’m taking the feedback into account when making my final edits for later - particularly the timed text lol. I’m looking into a method to toggle it on and off past the introduction section because folks have mentioned to me that it’s either too fast, too slow, or fiddly and leading to sections being skipped. Thank you again for the review!!


Thank you for the review, Brian! I appreciate your notes on what worked for you and what didn’t. I agree with the lack of direction in the beginning and the problem with the descriptions.

I think the plot in that first third of the game, especially with the intro conversation, could have utilized more “push-and-pull” game-play wise (if that makes sense).

If it helps, for the descriptions I grimaced when I realized the same thing you noted here about 3/4 of the way through development. I may go back and tidy up some of the language, if I remember to.

Glad to know that the Brother’s arrival hit well! That was probably the part of the dream I remembered the least so I guess creative freedom helped a lot here. And noted on the interest for what happens next.

I didn’t realize it was based on a dream! I didn’t read the info on itch. That actually improves my opinion of the overall writing, because what weirded me out was that it was so dreamlike, shifting from topic to topic in a fluid way. If that’s the goal, then you succeeded, so I’m going to bump up my ifdb rating.

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Road of Liches

This game was entered into Ectocomp 2023, in the Grand Guignol division.

It is a wordplay game, centered on the idea of rhyming pairs where you swap the first consonants.

I always enjoy this author’s wordplay gameplay, but I often find the words used too abstract or obscure to fully enjoy, or have difficulty knowing what to do.

This game is much more concrete than usual, with vivid imagery: animals, mountains, machinery, buildings, ravines, etc. This made me more invested in the game.

I also liked the symmetrical structure, with a neat trick where paths diverge and converge and you have to approach each problem from both sides.

I got stuck on a few of the parts where you had to use an item elsewhere, and I think I ran into a bug where someone will pursue you once but seemingly (?) won’t pursue you after that. But it was only a slight thing in an overall nice game.

The difficulty level was just right for me, with many easy things to do, some pretty easy things, and only a few really challenging problems (I used the treat chunk a couple of times and peeked at the walkthrough for one ending thing).


Oh, thank you! That’s my bad for not communicating its inspiration better- I’ll update the IFDB entry with the info.

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Good Bones

This game is a sprawling and varied horror comedy twine game about trying to use the toilet at night.

The style is kind of like a gauntlet but with more branching. You can select between multiple paths, but along each path, there is often only 1 choice that lets you live, while others let you die. The deaths give you many, many different endings, with comedic names and which are listed on the main page of the game after you unlock them.

The story draws on a wide variety of horror tropes, from witches and imps to shadow-creatures and eldritch horrors. It’s low on continuity and high on amusing moments and subverting expectations.

The writing is descriptive and funny.

Overall, this game has a lot to like; however, I think for my personal preferences (that do not reflect all players!) I would have preferred some more coherence in the storyline, or more unity in the themes.


Thanks for your review of my game! I appreciate the time you took to play it. I’m glad you found it funny. As for continuity, well, in my next game I am thinking about getting away from the early “Choose Your Own Adventure” style of choice narrative where all sorts of random things happen for no discernible reason leading to lots of dead ends. :sweat_smile: Thanks again for your feedback!


Thanks for making it! I noticed that besides me enjoying it, it has very high ratings on IFDB. I’m glad you made something so many people enjoy!

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I played this game on BlueStacks, an Android emulator.

This is a short game with a few options, each of which seems fairly strong. It uses a variety of Japanese words, often with explanations. There are several points where it seems like the game gives you freedom to make big choices; I didn’t replay to verify.

It’s hard to explain the story or to check the interactivity, because the game was really hard to understand. Usually a game is hard to understand because the author struggles with grammar or the story was written by AI and is bland, but this story seemed like it was written by someone with perfect English and unassisted by tools. It just is…weird. There’s a lot of elaborate high language interspersed with random curse words. The language used is full of metaphors that didn’t quite make sense to me. I think there was an experiment involving reviving someone in a relationship, but beyond that…I’m not sure.

An impressive amount accomplished in 4 hours, but it remains a mystery to me.


The Haunting of Corbitt House

This glulx game was entered in Ectocomp.

In it, you play a classic noir-style detective (who has, I believe, appeared in other games by the same author, as Castronegro was mentioned) who has been commissioned to investigate a haunted house.

The bulk of the game consists of investigating, first at places like libraries and courthouses and then at the house itself, which has more action pieces.

The writing is elaborate, fully leaning in to both noir style and early cosmic horror style. For instance:
‘The house, wrapped in an aura of faded elegance, evokes a
bygone era through its windows and timeworn architecture. As the
wind stirs the leaves, a sense of mystery lingers, hinting at the secrets
hidden within its walls.’

At times it becomes a little too descriptive, where it can be difficult to piece together what’s important and what’s not.

The implementation is solid along a critical path but sketchy off that path. A lot of unimportant scenery is left unimplemented, but conversation is indicated fairly well through the use of a topics menu and bolding.

I struggled a bit in some of the actions scenes of the game, although the final results made sense. I believe the very end of the game has some randomization.

Overall, this was fun to play, although it could implement some more things.


Huh, that name is familiar, so I took a quick look to confirm – this game actually seems like an adaptation of a classic Call of Cthulhu tabletop scenario, The Haunting (link goes to the free quickstart, which includes the scenario). Looks pretty faithful, the research excerpts are verbatim from the handouts – the ABOUT text doesn’t seem to mention it’s an adaptation which probably would have been nice to include (in fairness, the title definitely isn’t trying to conceal anything).

I’ve played this scenario myself – it’s certainly memorable! Did the “haunted” bed try to push you out the window? That almost got one of our party, and the undead-sorcerer-plus-knife combo came very close to killing us all, but the slightly overpowered nature of CoC’s shotgun rules let us pull out the victory.

EDIT: I forgot the other funny thing about this scenario, which is that there’s a separate, entirely unrelated CoC scenario of the same era called Mr. Corbitt, which has absolutely nothing to do with the Corbitt from The Haunting!


Yes, everything you described happened verbatim, including the bed and knife thing. That would also explain the randomized combat.

That would also explain why a lot of the prose felt like actual Lovecraft’s writing (not just lovecraftian), which would make sense if it were written by a game setting trying to be faithful to his work.

Edit: Also, I agree that that should be mentioned. Adapted works are pretty common, and can be good (I hope, since I’ve made some), but I think attribution is important.