Mathbrush's 2024 Seedcomp reviews

I wasn’t going to do Seedcomp reviews this year, since I entered, but after talking to some authors and organizers I think I’ll do it! I’m pausing my Frenchcomp reviews on IFDB for now.

(In case people don’t know, seedcomp is a two-part, several month competition where one group of people submit ideas for games and then another group makes games based on the ideas).

I’ll use this post as a table of contents and post the reviews below.

1 4 the $ by Charm Cochran
A Collegial Conversation by Alyshkalia
All The Games I Would Have Made For Seedcomp If I Had The Time (Which I Did Not) (Oh Well There’s Always Next Year) by KADW
Dungeons and Distractions by E. Joyce
The Film by studiothree, LoniBlu, and precariousworld
Forward by Bez
Found Journal by Knight AnNi
Not Another Sad Meal by manonamora
Poetic Justice by Onno Brouwer
Sonnet by taciturnfriend



by Bez

I generally like Bez’s work, as my view on creative writing is that it’s a way to share parts of our experiences and feelings with others, and Bez’s work is generally very effective at communicating how they feel.

This is a shorter game, drawing on some of the cozier seeds. It uses a warm color palette and a background sound of (I think) a fire crackling.

It has you sitting and thinking about all the bad things in your life, picking over the negative thoughts with a fine tooth comb. I remember playing it for the first time, feeling like it was going to be a downer game, but then I was pleasantly surprised to see things turned on their heads.

Overall, a good game and one that had a positive impact on me. I do think I slightly prefer Bez’s longer games, but that’s about it.

Time: < 15 minutes


A Collegial Conversation

by Alyshkalia

This was an intricate and surprising game. It uses a seed for color palettes and another for ‘one click=one change in perspective’.

So the way it’s structured is that it has a setting and a list of dramatis personae. All of the people’s names are linked, and clicking on them gives you a view of the soiree from their perspective, as well as links to the three others.

So, I thought, ‘Ah, I get it. There are just four story passages, and you can pick what order to read them in.’ But, it was actually a lot more complex than that. Each link that you click takes you to another person’s perspective, like I thought, but it also advances the time. So there’s actually quite a bit of complexity in play here.

At first, I thought there were 8 or so people, until I realized that every person had a first name and a last name and that which one was used in the text depended on the familiarity of the person who was speaking. This introduced an almost puzzle element for me, as I had to go back and forth between the dramatis personae list and try to fit together the different perspectives into a unified whole. It made me feel like this was a lot of worldbuilding for one game, so I checked the ‘about’, and saw that this tied in with the author’s earlier game Structural Integrity.

Overall, the writing felt natural and the scenario was interesting enough that I played through 4 or 5 times (unlocking the ‘faster read’ mode). The basic concept is that you’re at a work party and two male/male couples that have beef with each other bump into each other with a combo of flirting and veiled insults.

I felt like the ending didn’t really end on a satisfying, conclusive note; it felt like there was either something missing left to be told or that room was being left for a sequel hook.

I also think that the extensive worldbuilding and the ‘one click = one viewpoint change’ concepts had tension with each other, because with such fleshed-out characters I would have liked to have more time with one character to learn names from their point of view and get a feel for them and their worldview before hopping over to the next character.

Finally, the styling looked nice, with well-chosen colors and backgrounds, and a fancy dramatis personae list. I thought early on ‘I wish I could just bring up the list of people more easily’, and then I realized there was a button that does exactly that, which was good design.

Time: 15-30 minutes to explore all paths


All The Games I Would Have Made For Seedcomp If I Had The Time (Which I Did Not) (Oh Well There’s Always Next Year)

This game has a genuinely funny title, which I like.

In ATGIWHMFSIIHTTWIDNOWTANN, you are provided a list of game seeds the author was interested in. You can click each one to see the seed itself, either visual or text, which honestly was great; in the actual seedcomp planting round, you have to download the text prompts individually which can get really annoying, so copying the structure of this game to make a ‘hub game’ could be really nice.

Anyway, once you select a subset of these, you can push a mysterious-looking ‘alchemize!’ button. Now, there are a lot of seeds here, so there would be hundreds of combinations. But the game automatically culls things to combos the author thought of, so clicking one box deletes most others.

I was delighted to see that the function of ‘alchemize!’ was to make a fake ifdb page for the game! It comes complete with summary, reviews, and votes on those reviews.

It was really fun seeing what someone’s perception of IFDB was as expressed through the various voices they invented. It was pretty funny seeing things like two-word negative reviews that got a single 0/1 helpfulness vote.

I found it interesting that the fake reviews quoted or summarized large portions of the game explicitly. I know the reason for that was to communicate to us, the people reading this, what the games would have actually been like. But actual reviews tend not to include so much stuff (like a ranking of characters in a game), probably because people read reviews before playing and don’t want to get spoiled. It made me wonder, what if we did include more stuff like that? In spoilers, of course.

The one thing I didn’t really like was the color choices. The fake IFDB page had black text on a dark grey background (I tried two browsers just to check). I could read it but only barely, so I went into the console and edited the text to be easier to see. Might just be a me-getting-old thing, though.

Very fun to see IFDB represented this way.

Time: 15-30 minutes


The text color changes depending on whether your browser is in light mode or dark mode but the background color doesn’t—since it’s unusual for a Twine game to inherit light mode/dark mode from the browser settings (and the non-IFDB parts of the game don’t seem to), my guess was that the author copy-pasted IFDB’s actual CSS and ended up including some stuff they didn’t intend.


Thanks! I’ll include that when I move my review to ifdb after the comp!


Poetic Justice

by Onno Brouwer

This game uses a seed where you have to stand on trial before four famous poets.

It’s written in Dendry, one of the first Dendry games I’ve seen not written by Autumn Chen, making this pretty unique.

The game presents each of the four poets (Sappho, Tagore, Milton, and Khayyam) as characters each having themes, virtues, and vices.

The concept is that you are on trial for plagiarizing their work. Each one accuses you of having plagiarized certain themes of theirs. Your own identity is kept secret.

At first, I thought the game would have very little interaction, since clicking on each poet gave me three pages of non-interactive text.

But then, I found out that that was just the intro! You then reveal your own identity which was a powerful moment for me (I got mild chills on my arm hair).

Then there follows a combinatorial puzzle. I found it tricky; I just randomly clicked for a long time and didn’t understand the mechanics. After about 10 minutes I started thinking more about it, and finally came up with a solution. It was pretty complex; it reminded me a bit of an Andrew Schultz puzzle.

The game inspired me to look up more about the poets. Due to my inexperience, it was hard at times to see the differences in their themes and their values, so I had trouble distinguishing between them. I look forward to learning more about them and am glad for Onno and Rovarsson (the seed author) for bringing them to my attention.

Time: 15-30 minutes


Not Another Sad Meal

by manonamora

This Adventuron game was pleasant to play. I was able to grasp what was going on, make a plan, carry it out with some exploration, and get a satisfying conclusion. It relies on the central core of parser games: take, drop, examine, open, close, etc.

You’ve had a bad breakup with a woman and she’s taken a lot of things, and you need to break out of your depressed languor and feed your very hungry stomach. Unfortunately, some of the food you have left is a bit weird.

I ended up making the tuna and tangerine pizza, which is pretty weird but not too weird (my favorite food when I was a missionary was green beans, tuna, shredded cheese and noodles).

Overall, short and satisfying. I did have some parser struggles, which I’ll DM the author as the particulars don’t matter for the review, but they were pretty similar to ones I’ve gotten reports for for my own game (little synonyms and such). It didn’t really detract from the enjoyment, and fortunately the game offers several layers of help to ease any friction with the parser, up to a full walkthrough, which thankfully I didn’t have to consult.

Time: 15-30 minutes


Dungeons and Distractions

This game consumed a lot of my attention and thought process.

You are a dungeon master/game master having a night with a classicallly-sized 4 person party, complete with fighter, rogue, cleric and mage.

All of the participants, though, are magical (well, mostly), including a fox spirit and a golem. Also, many of them are neurodivergent in different ways (including you).

The gameplay loop is that you advance the campaign a bit (which seems like its own fun story), and then an issue arises either in-game between characters or in-person. You have options to resolve it, which vary but often include taking gentle action, taking firm action, or doing nothing.

There are three ‘negative’ things that can pile up (or, occasionally, go down) that I found: you can get more and more distracted; the individual people can feel hurt or disconnected from the game; and time can progress.

I wasn’t sure what each of my actions would do or what the consequences, if any, of the above would be, but I had some idea and formed a strategy. It was very similar to a real-life stressful situation; it reminds me of my day-job as a high school math teacher (do I continue the lecture when everyone’s bored and the only topic left is really obscure but has a 5% chance of appearing on the end of year exam and ruining their life? Do I focus on the engaged students and let people talking in the back keep going? etc.)

I ended with time running out in the climactic fight, and that seemed just fine to me. I didn’t feel a need to replay, as there aren’t any perfect TTRPG sessions in real life, and ending without any major meltdowns seemed a big plus.

The characters were very distinct and their individual personalities mattered, making this work well as a character piece.

Time:15-30 inutes


1 4 the $

by Charm Cochran

This game is about someone experiencing the worst the world has to offer: isolation, hunger, infection, homophobia, perpetuating cycles of abuse, and, worst of all: cryptocurrency.

It’s a short game, well-designed with animated background transitions and varying fonts and colors.

You play as a recluse without stable unemployment who has recently fled a discord server where they were picked on and called various slurs. They find hope in a new discord for a cryptocurrency.

While all of this is happening, their house becomes increasingly moldy.

I didn’t put it together until now, because while playing I thought these two storylines were disjoint, but the spread of mold and the cycle of crypto’s crash and boom have a lot in common and those parallels must be what the other was on about.

There are several kinds of creepy moments here, from strange questions to plenty of physical horror. The slurs made me most uncomfortable; it was clear, though, that their use was not positive and was reflective of the ill mental state of the character.

Overall, a thoughtful game. Reminded me a lot of when crypto first got really big; I looked up how it worked and couldn’t figure out how it would be sustainable due to the need to keep long lists of past transactions in each interaction, so I tried to code up my own and got it to work, and my dean decided to use it as fake currency for his econ class (we made proof of work really easy so that it wouldn’t destroy the environment). I thought it would make it clear to the students how silly crypto was, but they got really into it. But the mining was annoying so they eventually abandoned the crypto part and made it fiat by putting it on the dean’s spreadsheet, which pretty much sums up the usefulness of crypto in real life (it’s not).

Anyway, a good horror game but definitely check the trigger warnings.

Time: < 15 minutes


Thanks for the review! :mushroom:

Probably a good sign



by taciturnfriend

This choice-based game is inspired by Shakespeare’s Sonnet 128, as well as the Reverse a Poem prompt (and the surprisingly popular Color Palettes prompt, which has been used in at least 3 of the games I’ve seen.)

I enjoy Shakespeare (although his sonnets and other poems are the works of his I’ve studied least), so I was interested to see where this goes.

It’s split into 4 pieces, each reflecting part of the sonnet, and inviting you to compare the storyline with the sonnet itself as you go.

You show up at a Valentine’s party for older singles, some of whom your friendly with and others less so. Interaction comes from choosing who to talk to and how to interact with them.

I tend to immerse myself in characters as I play and to suspend disbelief, imagining me to be the character myself. Obviously characters sometimes do things that I wouldn’t do, like theft and murder. But I had to pull myself out of immersion in this game, as I was presented with a woman, told that she is married but separated, and given a chance to put my hand on her thigh. An extramarital affair is something I’ve seen happen multiple times in real time and they have cause the majority of pain I’ve experience in my life, so I had to eject my immersion and puppet the character like an astral projection the rest of the game. I don’t think that was the author’s intent at all, and they certainly can’t anticipate every person’s reaction to different themes!

Fortunately, I could simply just not click on certain options and the game came to a satisfying conclusion. I found myself intrigued by the drama and drawn into the action.

The best parts of the game to me were the characters who are painted in vivid detail. I felt like I already knew Jack and Henry and Aline, like I had met them before and could picture them in my eye (I saw Henry as a younger Robert Redford).

A few times I felt like the pacing could have slowed down a bit to explore some of the more interesting moments, like a certain violent moment with a bottle. This is an author who I think would do equally well with long form fiction as with short form fiction.

The styling was well done and the overall presentation looked great.

A relevant meme

Why am I not affected by games like Eat Me and Boogeyman but this one affected me? We may never know.

Time: < 15 minutes


The Film

by studiothree, LoniBlu, precariousworld

This game starts off very strongly with a nice animation of tv static, good styling choices and a creepy intro. I was ready to be scared and felt a bit nervous/excited going in.

Four friends are going to watch a famously bad movie that has previously been edited, but now they find the original director’s cut.

Unfortunately, one of them is killed. Even worse, it’s the friend that was keeping the whole group together, the leader.

The game then takes a quick turn and opens up to the main gameplay, where each friend must confront the death of their friend and what that means for the future. This was a unique and fun part of the game.

There are a ton of different endings, and I played through to see 8 of them, but after the first two you have to re-see a lot of the game so it petered out eventually. But the endings I got were very strong.

The beginning was a bit hard to follow; I thought they were going to a theatre, then to pick up something, then a concert, then they were at a gas station. I eventually realized it was all one story, but the jumps were a bit confusing. That’s my little nitpick for an otherwise very solid game. I like surrealish horror with two worlds/realities, so this was fun.

Time: 15-30 minutes


Found Journal

by Knight AnNi

This was a nice game to end the comp on. It’s a relatively brief and poetic Twine game that uses sound (which I believe comes from the seed being used) as well as line drawings to convey a story.

The idea is that you’ve found a journal that talks about someone missing someone else, and the journey it’s taken them on. I can’t tell if it’s metaphorical or literal, but either way it’s interesting.

The game is very short, but it serves its purpose well.

Time: <15 minutes


And that’s the end of the comp for me! I’ve previously reviewed Solkatt and (Not so) Strangers in the Night on IFDB. I’m not linking them here as they have numerical ratings and weren’t written from the perspective of a fellow comp entrant, but both are enjoyable and I recommend playing them. And Faery: Swapped is my own game.

Overall, this was a fun set of games. The number 4 seems like it showed up a lot:
-4 is in the title of Charm’s game
-A Collegial Conversation has 4 viewpoints and 4 colleagues
-Dungeons and Distractions has 4 people you have to manage
-The Film is about 4 friends.
-Poetic Justice has 4 poets you interact with.
-Sonnet has 4 named characters besides yourself.


This needs to be a t-shirt.


YAY :smiley:
Thanks for reviewing the entries, Brian!

Don’t forget to vote too :wink:


I’m glad you enjoyed the game!

A lot of my games are based on navigating quasi-realistic messy situations, so I don’t like to systematize or quantify things too much because then it starts feeling kind of… obviously fake? But of course then it’s easy for the mechanics to be too opaque. I’m always really happy to hear when people apply strategies based on similar real-life experiences and it at least mostly works.

Honestly, I think this is pretty common! Mundane, realistic bad things often have more of a visceral effect on an audience than more extreme but less realistic bad things—like, every so often when discussing a sci-fi or fantasy work, someone will be like “why does everyone hate the main character’s mean teacher/tyrannical boss/belittling parent/etc. more than the evil alien overlord who blows up entire planets?” and I’m like, well, one thing evokes personal baggage and the other generally doesn’t, so this doesn’t seem very surprising to me! And I’ve definitely seen cheating on a partner come up a lot as something people have that visceral reaction to.


Thanks Brian - very much appreciate your review. Sorry the game squicked you a bit - note to me I guess that gags in your content warnings are all very well but you probably should be more thorough about content that might bother people, as well. But I’m glad you still found some things to enjoy and particularly that the characters felt real, that’s very gratifying.

And I agree completely with E Joyce above - of course mundane unpleasantness can be more upsetting than extravagant horror, it’s so much closer to home (but that’s why it makes good drama, for me).


Thanks for responding! And yes, your character writing is in the top 10% of all games I’ve played, so I lol forward to any future work you have!