My Journal / Reviews

Although it’s a bit late in the game I thought I might go ahead and post my reviews. I came up with a scoring system that is pretty simple and only takes my personal enjoyment as part of the equation (the game might be awesome but I just not like it). The scale is:

Game Difficulty (GD) - Is the game at a decent difficulty range in that it’s not too easy that the puzzles are a joke or too hard that I get absolutely no where on one puzzle?
Puzzle Originality (PO) - Are the puzzles unique or original, or at least make me think in such a way? Note that CYOA games are assigned a standard score of 5. Not sure there’s much puzzles one can do in CYOA.
Setting and Prose (SP) - Is the writing good and for the most part free of obvious errors? Are all my exits described (and in the correct place)?
Control and Coding (CC) - Is moving around the world logical (in that if the hall is to the east and I go east I end up in the hall and not the bedroom)? Are the verbs known or logical or do I have to play guess the verb?
Enjoyability (E) - Simply put, did I enjoy it? I’ve set up the system to factor this value in twice.

I’ll give the calculated score for each game, though I’ll have to round that score when I enter it in the site.

Puzzles are not as central or as well-suited to CYOA as they are to parser IF; but you can certainly make highly complex puzzles in CYOA. (Meanwhile is a CYOA in a very, very puzzle-driven mode.)

10/1 - Castle Adventure

[spoiler]While not the worse of games I’ve played this one has had me stumped at various points for little to no reason. So far there have been many locations but little happening in each location. From a realistic standpoint I can see it, but from a player’s standpoint it’s a lot of senseless mapping. There’s also been a few directional errors (I’m in the northeastern corner and told it’s the northwestern), and some parts might do with some better phrasing (like in the darkness with the torch, both finding and lighting it.)

NOTE: I guess for the first one I only posted my thoughts, later ones I would do a preliminary judging and then change those scores based on the second hour.[/spoiler]

10/2 - (Hour 2)

Beat the game. One of the harder parts was the labyrinth (does it really map?) and the panel. I knew it needed probably a knife but finding the knife was tricky. Turns out I missed a room in the huge map and had to search for it. There is supposed to be a happier ending if you are nice to the magpie but not sure when I’ll go back and actively play for it. Definitely will reuse the map though.
GD: 5 – Except for the prose at times the game was super easy. The game was meant to be aimed at beginning players but still I would even say it would work for beginners. The main difficulty was the map, or abundance thereof. Too many locations. A smaller, tighter map would have worked perfectly and been easier to navigate and enjoy.
PO: 5 – Nothing really too original in puzzles. The two that really showed any possibility of standing out were the guard dog and the dungeon guard. I originally though the dog would need to be drugged, but throwing the sausage in the right direction fixed that and got a funny scene. The indirect fix to the guard was nice though.
SP: 3 – Way too many rooms. A lot of details seemed to get lost in the general room descriptions (I missed an important room with a key item that way). And a whole lot of void and emptiness. Yes I’m saving the princess but why does the castle seem to be abandoned. I only encountered a dog and a guard in the entire castle. Just those two. Plus the torch was electric in a fantasy world. Perhaps calling it a flashlight would have helped instead, I tried to burn that torch until discovering how to turn it on (perhaps a better message that instead of telling me it’s dangerous to light it that it’s electric?).
CC: 4 – The controls were tight and rarely caused guess the verb problems. Noun guessing was another thing though, it can sometimes be very tricky to find the right noun to use. In the banquet hall the tapestries mention letters. You can’t examine the letters, but you can examine the tapestries (which would to me be the same thing). Also encountered two situations that made the game unwinnable from what I could tell, the cave and the dungeon cell. Perhaps there might have been a way out but if they truly were unwinnable then ending the game would have been better.
E: 4 – Conceptually I liked it, but the huge map and occasion rounds of guess the noun were quite trying. I’m keeping the map for this one, I might eventually try for the happier ending when I have an hour to kill.


10/3 – Lunar Base 1

While somewhat short game for a while I was wondering what the plot the game would be. The mysterious apparitions gave the game some plot to look forward to, but ultimately at the beginning I wasn’t sure how routine this game would be. Overall for a small game quite enjoyable, it wastes no time delivering a nice little plot and then wrapping it up before it can become too dull. The multiple endings based on what you did and didn’t do was nice, but it did take a bit to get to the last ending and for a while I actually wondered if all the mysteries would be explained in as much as they were.
GD: 8 – Most of the puzzles are simple to overcome and usually the difficulty is caused by me not paying attention to some part I was meant to overcome. This game seemed more intent on story than puzzles.
PO: 7 – The whole idea of the box that you can test samples in was nice, the only downside being that going in or out of the base was a four step process, so it did get a little taxing there. One had to pay attention to see how to do the final test on the obelisk.
SP: 7 – The game was nicely written and atmospheric, I even enjoyed the chapter breaks. The only down side was that after I knocked John out and had him hogtied in a bunk I still couldn’t look out the window due to him being in the way (despite him not being in the way). Also, if some reason besides regulation could be given for putting the suits on the hooks (and maybe not carrying them in the base) would be appreciated. Perhaps that they need to recharge? And if more information on the monitors could have been seen that would have been nice (even if my character wouldn’t understand it just seeing it would be good). Otherwise quite nicely done.
CC: 7 – The four step process of entering and exiting the base was annoying, but overall the only time I had to guess the verb was when I was trying to tie John up and possibly more my fault than the parser’s. The fact that killing John would result in losing was nice (at least the game could be lost then). The biggest grievance was that I could see the shining object but the game wouldn’t let me investigate until the end. While logical in the sense of plot, annoying to someone who likes a sandbox and not rails.
E: 8 – Definitely a nice game that was fun to play. More depth would be nice but for a short lunch time game it’s perfect.


10/4 – Last Minute

And extremely short “Choose you own adventure” game that delivers jokes and puns left and right. Every ending gives you a chance to undo or restart from another position, making saving or dying irrelevant. Not bad for a coffer break game, finished it within maybe 10 minutes and another 10 to explore all the possibilities.
GD: 7 – No puzzles, just choosing the right path to find the best ending. Gets a high rank due to the nature of CYOA, but did feel the links to undo or restart do rather cheapen death in a sense. Perhaps forcing a player to click a back link manually instead of just providing one?
PO: 5 (CYOA) – No puzzles.
SP: 8 – Humorous and witty, would possibly been better with another hero or villain so there would be more than just four eventual stories.
CC: 9 – What can I say, it’s CYOA and I don’t remember any bad links.
E: 6 – My only complaint is that it’s still just too short, needs more. The eventual stories are over too quickly but finding your way to them is too easy. Still, excellent humor.


10/4 – The Lift (FINAL)

I’m starting to think that Web games are all of the CYOA type. Two in one day and oddly not very hard ones, but then again I do tend to restart and replay when I hit an ending. This one doesn’t attempt to explain why you’re there or who did this to you, but in the end it’s not necessary.
GD: 8 – Again not much on puzzles, but just finding the right weapon and basement of monsters to fight. Make a wrong choice and you’ll die and have to restart. In this case you do have to restart, not just click a link under the text.
PO: 5 (CYOA) – No Puzzles, just making the right choices
SP: 7 – While somewhat gritty and dark, I could have gone without the “Adult Reading” choice, though using those to defeat a ghost was interesting. I do wonder why that only works with one weapon though (it says that you just start throwing things at it, why wouldn’t that work on the bowie option too?).
CC: 8 – Again, no bad links but one ending did end ambiguously (Shotgun => B3). I reached the lift but that was it, no info on what happens, whether I died beforehand or actually succeeded.
E: 5 – Not bad, but still wonder about what effect using the “Adult Reading” has on your character (for the most part it didn’t seem to affect me at all, and the walk through doesn’t mention any effects).


In retrospect, should have been posting these all during the comp instead of saving them up for now :-\

10/4 - Sunday Afternoon

Boyah! Three games in one day, and not even a Saturday. This game was interesting as it plays off the classic theme of little boy vs adults. Yes the adults have the best intentions but the boy don’t care, he wants to go play. Actually restarted the game at one point due to thinking I had made it unwinnable, but later discovered my solution idea was wrong to begin with.
GD: 7 – It can be hard to figure out how to start, but then I fell into just pumping Emma for information. And at the end just before the final puzzle I did think I had made the game unwinnable, but then when I went back and fixed the issue turns out my solution wasn’t right to begin with.
PO: 9 – Having the player grill Emma for details on the ornaments so she’ll look away is nice, and I especially liked that half of the puzzles were not of the “Get X to clear Y” variety. Final puzzle was a bit tricky and had me on the wrong path, but eventually using the in game hints I was set straight.
SP: 8 – Seeing the victorian world from the eyes of a little boy is nice. However, the game description on the site led me to think that the main character was a servant, not a little boy.
CC: 6 – The two most glaring issues is that when Emma is in Stephen’s office and the stick is in the closet the text is off, and the fireplace though being described as large enough to enter can’t contain things. Perhaps this should be a custom message instead?
E: 6 – I think what hurt this game the most was when I thought I had lost and had to restart the game. My solution was to make a fire and then close the flue and smoke them out of the room, but I had left the matches in the office and couldn’t reenter due to Emma being in there. Had to rely a bit more on hints than any other game so far, so perhaps that’s why I didn’t enjoy it as much (not that it’s really hard, I just might have been a little thick last night).


10/8 – Guilded Youth (FINAL)

An interesting game split between two worlds, a BBS for a roleplaying group and the real world (though for the most part the real world is still seen though the vision of the roleplaying world. You play a thief sneaking out at night to loot a condemned house, and somehow recruiting people from the BBS to help you. A very interesting idea of having the two intertwine, and the blinking ASCII art is pretty cool (wasn’t expecting that much interaction on a web game either). The ending though did feel rather linear.
GD: 8 – Not terribly hard and perhaps maybe just a touch too easy, but still fun and enjoyable. Figuring out who can be recruited for each raid and with what was interesting. Having each character capable of overcoming obsticles once recruited was nice.
PO: 8 – First game I can think of that requires you to recruit characters for a party. Would have been more interesting though to be able to recruit the wrong character and not be able to find out until after you’ve made it to the manor, but still.
SP: 8 – Everything was rather fleshed out and characters did their parts, quite nice. Some more explanation at the end would have been nice, but still you get the general idea implicitely.
CC: 7 – Despite not being slightly railroaded (in the end I wanted to head for the dining room but Maximus wanted to go to the wine cellar, though mainly for story reasons), the controls were tight and simple. Never had to play guess the verb.
E: 8 – Enjoyable but did find myself wanting to explore the manor more to find more treasures.


10/9 – A Killer Headache

Everyone loves zombies these days, and this game is just another zombie apocalypse game though in this one you play the role of a zombie. Your goal is to eat brains and do other stuff. The game talks about being violent and mature, but so far I’ve only had to kill one thing and eat three brains (one of which was offered to me).
GD: 7 – Maybe I’m slower than the zombie but some of the puzzles are very tricky, like the opening door puzzle. The dog puzzle was also interesting, but I failed due to impatience mainly.
PO: 9 – Your inventory is limited until you find the head, then you have a place to put extra things. I do question just how bit that hole and head are though.
SP: 8 – The flashbacks are interesting, usually I’m a little lost as to what to do in them at times though. Most of the prose is simple and direct, little flourish (thankfully, especially when you’re eating brains).
CC: 9 – Controls are tight and everything so far has been in place. Working the siphon was a challenge, but still logical and hardly guess the verb quality.
E: 6 – A bit too challenging with the first puzzle, and I’m just not into zombies that much.

10/10 - (Hour 2)

Finished the game. I liked the fact that you have to pray to find inner peace (though not being Catholic I didn’t know you had to “pray the rosary.”) While not a huge zombie fan still not bad for a game.
GD: 6 – Some of the puzzles I just didn’t find the hints to apparently. For instance I didn’t think that bending a key would be the answer, or that just walking into the dining room with the dogs would work (last dog pack I faced didn’t care if I was standing or not). I did eventually figure out the order of events for the end, but only after multiple failures.
PO: 9 – Might not have succeeded in solving them very well but still very creative.
SP: 8 – The spiritual ending was a nice touch. Also liked that I could play Ghostbusters theme for a pack of undead children.
CC: 8 – A hint about how to pray in Catholicism would be nice for us Protestants, but all the other guess the verb issues was me not knowing how to solve the puzzles.
E: 6 – Final puzzles were extremely challenging, a hint on the key and how to pray correctly would have been nice.


10/11 – Murphy’s Law

Some games can be summed up by their titles alone. You read the title and they do exactally as predicted. Murphy’s Law is no exception but it’s execution is dead on perfect. All you have to do is make the last payment on your mortgage. With a title like Murphy’s Law you of course expect something to go wrong. And the game doesn’t fail to deliver. The first major obstacle (after figuring out how to get the payment ready) can prove lethal if not solved within so many turns, but once you’ve figured it out there’s little else that will flat out kill you.
GD: 9 – The hardest puzzle in the game was the roach puzzle. My initial thoughts were wrong, but still the puzzle is logical and makes sense in the end. All other puzzles you’ll encounter and either a little light exploration will show you a solution or you’ll remember an item that will work.
PO: 7 – I would say slight railroading as you have to try and mail the letter before you go to the bank, but overall the originality isn’t much. One point does involve you just typing wait over and over, but it’s understandable.
SP: 9 – Didn’t see any grammatical errors, was simple and direct. I didn’t test everything but from what I did examine everything in the description is examinable.
CC: 9 – Maybe a little guess work on how to fill out a check to start, or maybe I was assuming something more in depth, but otherwise the controls are tight and rarely leave you guessing for a verb.
E: 9 – Except for getting stuck on the roach problem a great game, loved it and was on the edge of my seat wondering what disaster would happen next. Think I’m still missing five points though in the final score.


10/15 – J’dal

I had no clue what to expect from this one as there’s not a description given. However, over time I figured out what’s happening. You play J’dal, a female drow in a fantasy setting. You and your party (all surface dwellers) are tasked with entering a mine and retrieving an artifact. It’s fairly simple in premise and execution, though it seems to hint at a more in depth world than is explained. Hopefully Ryan will flesh out the rest of this world, or at least explain the nature of a Beart.
GD: 7 – The most really difficult puzzles was the underwater tunnel and the final one. The underwater tunnel was good in that I did one solution only to find it would work, so I had to do another. That was refreshing that even though they were about to follow my initial solution they then pointed out it’s flaw (even if it wasn’t a flaw to me). Still, some of these solutions may been easier if the prose was better.
PO: 9 – Again, having to rethink a puzzle to make it work for all the NPCs was nice.
SP: 3 – This is where J’dal is lacking. I don’t expect the room descriptions or character descriptions to be prose, but it also seemed that they were oddly lacking at times when it’d be nice to know more. I’m not sure if when confronted by the gate had I gotten a description of Roderick it would have mentioned his mace, I’m pretty sure at the pool it didn’t mention his rope. Knowing more about what items are available at different times does help.
CC: 4 – While all the exits were covered, I did run into some issues. Trying to examine the dead beart was useless as it never seemed to actually manifest as an object, just a mention in the room description. And even through J’dal was supposed to be equipped with night vision, I couldn’t see to find my sword after leaving the pool at one point (had to carry a light with me), and until the pool I had to carry the light at all times.
E: 8 – Despite the errors in writing and coding I did though enjoy the game and truly hope to see another episode featuring J’dal in the future.


10/18 – In a Manor of Speaking

This game takes it’s puns over the top. The enter game is pretty much centered around puns and mannerisms. Some have been pretty funny though.
GD: 6 – The game is very easy it seems, though at times some of the puzzles can be very tricky. I was actually lost as to what to do earlier on, but used a few hints to send me on my way.
PO: 6 – While the use of puns is more or less the norm, it does seem that the puzzles can easily be traced to a “X for Y” variety. Sometimes it’s a bit obvious, other times a little less so. Most of the time though it’s been obvious.
SP: 8 – Game’s got a theme and sticks to it, can’t fault it there. Knowing your puns and verbal mannerisms is the only way through it. So far nothing’s been obscure.
CC: 7 – Controls are mostly tight but there was one instant that I needed a hint to get a verb and another where the game required precise phrasing to be correct. It did keep saying that, so at least it let me know what it wanted.
E: 8 – It’s humorous and quirky and up to date. I have a feeling that this might be finished in the next hour though.

10/19 – (Hour 2)

I actually only had two more puzzles left before the finale last time. Beating the first puzzle required a hint in the right direction, and the other was super easy. Didn’t think there was much left in the game.
GD: 6 – Some puzzles throw me for a loop, others way too easy. Sometimes it can even feel like you don’t know what you need to do to win. Yes you have a package to deliver, but is that your mission?
PO: 6 – Final two puzzles were much like the others, so little else to say here.
SP: 8 – The final scene is pretty lengthy and epic, and it’s nice to have someone supply an amusing bit at the end.
CC: 7 – Nothing new here.
E: 8 – Tried a few of the amusing bits and they are fun.


try to post some of these together…

10/22 – Kicker

I actually played through this game twice to make sure I experienced everything. I don’t know if I did or didn’t, but really after the first play I wasn’t too caring really. I’m not into football, so playing a game that is nothing but football is annoying, much less one about the only football position I would even care to play. It’s not a long game but tiresome in it’s content to a non football player.
GD: 4 – Really, it’s very annoying how simple this game is. Most of what you need to do is given in bold text (thankfully), and even then most of the time you’re not needed so either you try to talk to people who aren’t interested in you (apparently kickers are at the bottom of the football totem pole, just above water boys), practice or watch the game. However, I think that might be the idea of the game, so give it a point for being story driven.
PO: 2 – No real puzzles to speak of. The closest was being told to tackle a guy but maybe I didn’t type the response in time or something. Didn’t happen on the second play through so I wouldn’t know.
SP: 5 – Split on this because it uses a LOT of football terminology. So if you know the references and vernacular than you know what’s going on. Me, no clue.
CC: 6 – If this is a slice of real life for a kicker than spot on I guess. To me it was really dull. I do like that events are different on each play through, though like normal football I’m apathetic. Controls are pretty tight though, be nice to flirt with cheerleaders though.
E: 2 – Yawn. A game where in character I stand around and watch a football game, only occasionally I run onto the field to kick a ball a few times. Personally I’ll pass, and just like in real life reach to change the channel.


10/24 – The Sealed Room

The game promised to be short and it did not fail to deliver. Your goal is to escape from a room in which there is a unicorn and a dragon. It’s not hard and is mainly based on conversations and not so much physical actions.
GD: 6 – Conversations in IF games are usually quite tricky as (in my case) you usually have to guess what to say. This game takes a bit of guess work out by reminding you of what topics you haven’t asked about when you make an invalid choice. It also at times gives blunt hints on what to do like saying you should show an item to the NPCs. I kept expecting this tutorial like design to go away, but it never did.
PO: 6 – NPC conversations are not usually too deep and while this never felt like the NPCs were learning and growing it did require more interaction with NPCs than most games. Still, not many puzzles.
SP: 8 – Both NPCs have unique personalities that are evident in their responses. More room description might have been nice but I think the NPCs were the main focus so it’s ok.
CC: 8 – There wasn’t much to do besides chat with the NPCs. That in itself was nicely done with many topics.
E: 7 – Seems like this game could be expanded some more into a lengthier easily. For a short story length game it works, but feels like it ends much too soon.


10/25 – Valkyrie

Another web based CYOA. This one is a little odd to me though. You have an initial choice of how you’re trained be it a thief, wizard or fighter. However, the introduction is about three funerals that occurred and all seem to have a red haired girl at each funeral. Sadly it would seem only two of the three class paths actually address these funerals.
GD: 7 – Most of the choices are pretty simple, though in the warrior path you can find that the story was all a dream. In the thief path you can actually die too. But for the most part just clicking the back button undoes it so you can continue on.
PO: 5 – CYOA, no puzzles
SP: 7 – Noticed a few spelling and grammatical errors, but except for the jump from introduction to story most of it fit together with some fluidity.
CC: 9 – No bad links
E: 6 – While I liked the idea of visiting Norse mythology and such, the introduction didn’t feel like it completely fit, only one path addressed fully the funeral scenes, and it felt linear in nature.


missed one

10/16 – Shuffling Around

When I started this game I thought it’d be more slice of life, but then it got a little odd. Then I realized this game wasn’t slice of life, but more word games in the style of Nord and Bert. It’s a very interesting game and so far this one is very well done I must say. There seems to be many areas to start with from a strip mall area, and I do hope to explore each one of them.
GD: 10 – Like I said, it’s word play. I’m not a huge word nerd, so I know this is going to be tricky. But even despite the threats of letter shuffling and the madness that follows, I’m so far pleased with the difficulty. And I took a moment to check, there also seems to be two difficulty settings based on if you get the gadget or the slider. I initially got the gadget but from what I can tell the slider might be easier so I might restart so I can use it.
PO: 10 – Maybe I haven’t been playing enough IF, but the only other game I can think of like this one is Nord and Bert. And even better this one seems to so far be very well written as well.
SP: 9 – So far the writing is superb, and the best part is that for the most part I can tell what words need to be tinkered with.
CC: 9 – Nothing broken so far, had a guess the verb at one part but don’t recall why.
E: 9 – How can a word game be so fun? I don’t know but I do look forward to trying it with the slider, it’s “supposed” to be easier. I’m just hoping the solutions I have so far will get me back to where I saved so I can figure out that cheese puzzle.

10/17 – (Hour 2)

I finally encountered a game that I couldn’t beat in the allotted two hours. Of course, being a word puzzle game rather meant I’d be spending most of my time trying to deduce words than looking at my inventory. I want to finish and beat the game, however rules are rules and I must rate the game at this point.
GD: 9 – Okay, a few of the puzzles were rather odd. I didn’t think creases would indicate a paper needed to be folded, or that a wall would need to have hay put in it. I can see most of the word puzzles, but the non word puzzles did throw me off a bit to where I needed some hints.
PO: 10 – Still loving the word puzzles!
SP: 9 – It’s hard to determine in this game where grammatical errors and stylish prose meet and where they fail. Still, most of the game is guess the noun so I have to read the descriptions even more closely
CC: 9 – Don’t recall any major control issues, most of the controls are tight and seem logical once you determine what to do.
E: 9 – Solved the cheese puzzle and got through that area, very glad to see that I returned to the store fronts to experience the other levels. This one I’ll try to finish independently of the competition.


three more posts today after this one, and then I’m up to date. definitely will need to post better next year.

11/5 – Andromeda Apocalypse

I remember playing a little of the first game in this series, Andromeda Awakening. I don’t recall beating the first one, but so far this one has been pretty interesting. It starts with flashbacks of you and your mentor talking, then after a bit you find yourself in a huge spaceship. I had to change papers so my map didn’t run out of room, and it looks like I might be doing that again. But it’s a good game so far, a little sparse but not as bad as Castle Adventure.
GD: 6 – I’ve not really noticed much challenge yet, but I might still be early in the game too. Also, I think someone’s been playing too much FPS’s, I keep unlocking achievements. [emote]:-)[/emote]
PO: 7 – I don’t think it’s been too original overall, but perhaps the alien environment is making it seem more original.
SP: 8 – Haven’t seen any errors but the bit with the train tracks was a little confusing. Probably need to reread it.
CC: 8 – I’m not sure if I was stuck playing guess the verb or not, but at one point I tried sticking a disk in a slot. It failed, but that could be me trying to shove stuff where it doesn’t belong.
E: 8 – It’s like entering RAMA, I keep waiting to encounter alien life with answers or encounter a monster. So far there was something breathing on me (possibly) and whales (in space). But I’m enjoying it.

11/6 – (Hour 2)

NOTE: At the point of writing this entry I thought the game was unwinnable. This was later proven to be wrong.
OK, despite my enjoying the game I seem to have hit a major snag. I opened a case early on, didn’t think anything about it, and now the game is unwinnable. Great. And I really was having a good time. I finished exploring the ship, activated the computer and even found a way to blow everything to kingdom come. Good times, eh? The I ran into the nasty monster, ran from him and eventually had to resort to a hint. The hint sadly pointed me to the labs to unleash something I had unleashed before. Great. Luckily my map is good enough I could possibly replay to that point, but I’d probably go over the 2 hr limit. So we’ll score it and move on, probably finish it later tonight.
GD: 7 – Had to resort to a few hints, especially when I first encountered the computer and making it speak my language. Still, the puzzles are pretty good.
PO: 8 – Finding a bar was tricky, then having to recharge it? Nice touch. And finally having someone to explain the ship after you calibrate them is nice.
SP: 8 – Think I notice one error, but overall great prose.
CC: 8 (see update) – I’ve asked on the boards about that final puzzle, but if it can’t be fixed then I’ll have to give it a major deduction. It’s not fair that something innocent can come around and bite me later (even if it’s true to life).
E: 8 – Still like the game, just not the unwinnable state part.
Update: Asked on the message board and there is a way to kill the beast if you’ve already released the monster. I actually was on the right track at one point, just forgot to touch a panel and retract a ledge. So I’m restoring the CC score to 8.


11/7 - Transit

Traveling to another country must be rough, especially if you don’t know the language. Transit is a game where you find yourself abandoned at an airport with no way to communicate. While an interesting idea, it does get a little messed up in execution.
GD: 7 – The hard part is navigating the choices, especially since after you make a choice the other options gray out. That’s a good idea, but it doesn’t always work.
PO: 5 – CYOA
SP: 8 – Solidly written, I never was confused as to what’s going on.
CC: 2 – And here is where it fails. Again, while the idea of making earlier choices void is nice, it fails in that sometimes a later choice will somehow try to send you to an area you’ve already be at. Then you find yourself in a loop that you can’t escape. Most of the endings are bad save two, and finding yourself unable to advance towards any of the endings forces you to have to restart.
E: 6 – It’s not the worse game, but having to occasionally restart due to the loops was annoying.


11/7 – Living Will

I’m a little confused as to this game. Apparently it plays as a living will from a man to his heirs. By clicking links you write more and more of the document. Most of the time previous links are not clickable after a new section has been written. And when it comes time to divide all the goods, you can choose to take goods away from someone else. Also, apparently depending on how much of the will you read if the legal fees are less than the medical fees then you have a chance to try and save the writer.
GD: 5 – I really didn’t see any challenge here, or even figure out what the goal was. Do you want to try and grab everything and still be able to save the writer? The ultimate goal is beyond me.
PO: 5 – CYOA
SP: 9 – I will give it a good score for prose, you do kind of get a story about a man’s life from it, but it also loses a point for being just a tad dull.
CC: 9 – The way it makes the document seem like an actual living will, constantly changing and expanding is great. Still not sure how to read the Final Tally though.
E: 5 – It’s not bad, but it’s a little dull and confusing as to what the goal is.


11/8 – Howling Dogs

I’m sorry, but this game made very little sense. First, where do you start the game? Is it something futuristic or a sanitarium? I couldn’t figure out what or where I was. Every time I use the activity room I wind up in some new reality or dream. Usually they made little sense in the grand scheme to me. According to the spoilers there’s supposedly two endings, but when I tried to find it I didn’t see any difference. Oh well.
GD: 4 – It’s not difficult in figuring out what to do, but in understanding what you did.
PO: 5 – CYOA
SP: 5 – I’m sorry but it really never seemed to make much sense.
CC: 7 – The controls are tight, but the ultimate puzzle (if you want to call it that) involves a needle in a haystack hunt, and when I tried that hunt I didn’t find any difference in endings.
E: 4 – Just way too confusing to be any fun for me.


This past weekend’s marathon results:

11/10 – Escape from Summerland

A game with an interesting approach much like the game Suspended, you play three characters simultaneously changing characters whenever you need to. However, I ran into problems probably early on. I have an idea of where I need to go, and probably where to get needed items to go there, but I couldn’t get said items.
GD: 6 – The main issue is the cupboard problem. As a ghost I can’t open it even though I know how. The monkey won’t push or hit it, and the robot also fails to apply any pressure to it. I understand it’s a puzzle, but getting past was just beyond me.
PO: 10 – I will give it kudos for having different characters who each see the world differently. Very nice.
SP: 6 – Main issues with the prose were a few grammatical errors and also sometimes an exit would be listed as being west when in fact it was east.
CC: 8 – The controls were pretty tight, but lots of guess the verb. The command to change characters is given, but I don’t think the robot’s commands were fully explored.
E: 5 – Hitting that cupboard puzzle and not having any clues as to how to beat it really annoyed me.
Update: Checking the hints on the site it would seem that the robot needs to get the branch in order to open the cupboard. I know I tried having the monkey give the robot the branch. That monkey won’t drop it either. Why would something that should be easy like that not work?


11/10 – Changes

Another game that also stumped me. It starts with a flashback of you crashing, then next thing you know you’re a fluffy little rabbit in a valley. Despite not beating it the game felt more interesting.
GD: 7 – There were some clues but the last one said I was missing a resource from the valley. Still, it seems easy to manipulate the other animals (after a few deaths).
PO: 9 – Being a rabbit is interesting and since you have no attacks you’ll have to run from the fox often. There’s also probably some relationships I’ve not figured out yet.
SP: 9 – No errors that I saw and all exits seem to be accounted for.
CC: 9 – No control or coding errors that I seen.
E: 8 – While I haven’t beaten it yet I don’t find it half bad.


11/10 – The Test is Now READY

This game is mostly a series of moral dilemmas. You have to play through each in turn, and find the ending you best like in each. At the end the game gives a description of your results and even suggests a career.
GD: 9 – Not hard at all though some of the tests may be offensive. Usually what you need to do is shown and not hard to figure out.
PO: 9 – Not really puzzles as much as moral problems.
SP: 9 – Didn’t see any grammatical errors.
CC: 7 – While I understand where the author was going there are many times that I really wanted to do something not covered in the scenario.
E: 6 – Very interesting if at time some the problems were possibly offensive.


11/10 – Eurydice

While this game’s description says it’s about dealing with grief, it seems to take a different approach and allow you to interweave classical myth elements into a simple story of death. The game says that there’s supposedly four endings but I only managed to get two of them.
GD: 8 – Initially I was clueless as to the goal of the game. It wasn’t until I got to the ferryman that I had a real reason to explore the world so I could find a coin. Also, kept getting stuck at the gates.
PO: 9 – The main problem of getting to Caroline has three different solutions, very nice.
SP: 9 – I may have seen one issue, but that might have been just British English though.
CC: 8 – No guess the verb issues and map traversal is easy. Never figured out those gates.
E: 8 – Was rather depressing at first, didn’t know if she had left or died, and everything seems to be rather sad or odd. Still, good game.


11/11 – Spiral

A very interesting game. You start as one of two people bound and gagged on a train car. You also have no memory of how you got there. But by sleeping and entering one of two dream worlds you can find bits of memory and piece the two characters’ lives back together. Plus you bounce back and forth between characters at will.
GD: 8 – Until I found out the two dream worlds were connected I was stuck. Had to check the walkthrough a few times.
PO: 10 – Recovering memories, dual dream worlds that are connected. This game was a lot of fun. Plus the door that can be moved around was a nice puzzle.
SP: 10 – Don’t remember any errors and the use of remember and think verbs was nice.
CC: 9 – A little bit of guess the verb but not too much, usually me not thinking.
E: 9 – A very compelling story with good puzzles. Might go back for that other ending someday.


Last two games below. Only three games remain to be played, Signos, Irving Quik and Body Bargain (so no more reviews today).

11/11 – The Island

Played until I hit a puzzle that I couldn’t solve despite reasonable attempts. The whole work though feel weak.
GD: 5 – Most of the puzzles are way to easy, but that’s not where most of the challenge is coming from really.
PO: 6 – No really new puzzles, very linear as well. The puzzle I got stuck on seems to have no hints about the correct solution either.
SP: 5 – Lots of grammar errors, writing feels very week. Plus in looking for help turns out many items are left out of the descriptions (hence my issues with sovling the puzzle).
CC: 3 – One puzzle involves killing a man, but just saying “Kill man” doesn’t work. There’s no explaination as to why it wouldn’t really work either. Plus many objects are not described at all.
E: 3 – It says it’s trying to be an old style horror game, but it feels worse than a B rated one.
Update: I’m getting the cheat commands and will try again probably during lunch break at work or something.

11/12 – (Hour 2)

Checked the cheat commands and walkthrough, probably was thrown off by some things having descriptions and other (sometimes obvious) things not. And this rather possibly led to some laziness on my part, but never the less the game still has a certain unpolished feel to it.
GD: 5 – Still a very easy game, barring having to search for implemented objects.
PO: 6 – Puzzles are still not very interesting, but will give it points for hiding things in object descriptions.
SP: 4 – Errors and weak feel to writing. Plus if you are going to hide things in descriptions then have everything be implemented. I still recall trying to examine the temple and finding nothing (could have at least run a look command).
CC: 3 – Final command was to enter the jetty. I tried “enter” and “get on jetty” to no avail, eventually found that I had to go west to get on jetty. Could have told me that.
E: 4 – Not much has changed, though the ending was sufficiently creepy. Would have been cool to make that interactive as well.


11/11 – Fish Bowl

A very odd game. I keep finding a lot of dead creatures but no reasons why. Checking walkthrough shows I might have found an odd state for the game.
GD: 7 – The game seems to keep goals and motivations for your character close to hand and not reveal them very often. I’ve exlored the beach, buried the cat and experienced some weird stuff, but no seem to be stuck. Not even sure my ultimate goal.
PO: 7 – Some games it’s easy to tell puzzle from story. This one I can’t really tell at times.
SP: 8 – Some errors but the atmosphere makes up for it.
CC: 6 – Checking the feelie shows that some of my verb guesses were already covered, but the dead fish is still showing up at times and I can’t grab it (and no text is shown when I try to grab it).
E: 6 – A very odd game, not sure what to make of it yet.

11/12 – (Hour 2)

Still an odd game. I replayed from the start but still not sure if my game at home got into an unwinnable state or not.
GD: 7 – Some of the intended actions don’t make much sense, like putting a dead fish in a fish bowl? I understand where it’s coming from but still, maybe a clue that I’d want to do that would be nice.
PO: 7 – Still have trouble with the difference.
SP: 8 – No change from ealier.
CC: 6 – By putting the fish in the bowl earlier on I found no issues.
E: 5 – Just a really weird game, some of the things make no sense or have a given reason.


One for today, hoping to play the last two tonight or so.

11/13 – Signos

Not sure if this is a game with deeper meaning or a test of patience. I fiddled around with it here and there, but today I really devoted myself to playing it. And probably good that I did. I couldn’t figure out half of it. I’d fall asleep and couldn’t figure out how to wake up (which was the command, but not awake or wake). Random things would knock me out. I also am unsure if the point was to get the fewest points (by apparently committing sins) or get all the points. I went with all the points.
GD: 6 – This is probably more do to the Quest parser and the oddness of the game. The hints were not really helpful and eventually I found that typing walkthrough was the best help (although to be fair, I still had trouble with some problems).
PO: 6 – There were a lot of odd things in this game, but most of the puzzles were straight forward.
SP: 5 – Way too sparse to be of help most of the time.
CC: 3 – Maybe it’s the Quest parser, but I had the awfullest time with this game. I have to type Wake Up to be awake, and felt like there was a lot of guess the verb.
E: 4 – Just way too frustrating to be enjoyable. The images were nice, but couldn’t save the game.