This will be the place to evaluate the entries for IF Comp.
Warnings: there will be spoilers. This is from a first-time IFComp reviewer, so there will be the Good, the Bad and the Huh?
Note: I will start out with those that I am more familiar with (both authors and language medium).
Remark: There seem to be many nautical and murder-mysteries this year. Perhaps it’s a common theme?
Updates to come soon!
20 Exchange Place (done)
All Hands (done)
All Hands Abandon Ship (done)
All the Troubles Come My Way (done)
Antony & Cleopatra: Case IV: The Murder of Marlon Brando (done)
Artful Deceit (done)
Bali B&B (done)
Barcarolle in Yellow (done)
Beat Witch (done)
Bright Brave Knight Knave (done)
Citizen Makane (done)
CODENAME OBSCURA (done)
Creative Cooking (done)
Death on the Stormrider (done)
Detective Osiris (done)
DICK MCBUTTS GETS KICKED IN THE NUTS (done)
Dr Ludwig and the Devil (done)
Eat the Eldritch (done)
The Engima of Solaris (done)
Escape your psychosis (done)
The Finders Commission (done)
Fix Your Mother’s Printer (done)
For Eternity, Again and Again (done)
Gestures Towards Divinity (done)
The Gift of What You Notice More (done)
Hand Me Down (done)
Have Orb, Will Travel (done)
Help! I Can’t Find My Glasses! (done)
How Prince Quisborne the Feckless Shook His Title (done)
In The Details (done)
Into The Lion’s Mouth (done)
LAKE Adventure (done)
Lake Starlight (done)
Last Valentine’s Day (done)
Last Vestiges (done)
The Library of Knowledge (done)
The Little Match Girl 4 (done)
The Long Kill (done)
Magor Investigates… (done)
Milliways: the Restaurant at the End of the Universe (done)
My Brother; The Parasite (done)
My Pseudo-Dementia Exhibition (done)
One Does Not Simply Fry (done)
One King to Loot them All (done)
One Knight Stand (done)
Out of Scope (done)
Paintball Wizard (done)
The Paper Magician (done)
Please Sign Here (done)
Put Your Hand Inside The Puppet Head (done)
Ribald Bat Lady Plunder Quest (done)
The Sculptor (done)
Shanidar, Safe Return (done)
The Ship (done)
A Thing of Wretchedness (done)
To Sea in a Sieve (done)
Trail Stash (done)
Tricks of light in the forest (done)
The Vambrace of Destiny (done)
We All Fall Together (done)
The Whale’s Keeper (done)
The Whisperers (done)
Who Iced Mayor McFreeze? (done)
The Witch (done)
Xanthippe’s Last Night with Socrates (done)
Running Total: 75/75
Bali B&B (Felicity Banks)
What it is about: the adventures of running a Bed & Breakfast in Bali, Indonesia. No animals or humans were harmed (of course, it’s a slice-of-life thing).
I did run things quite efficiently. I usually go in prepared.
The good: Nice cast of characters, your family members are not annoying, there are plenty of things to do. And food. And cats (four of them). And seaside (keeping with the nautical theme).
The bad: ‘Skills’ and ‘Attitudes’ were not clearly delineated. Some characters may end up getting too little screen time.
The Huh: What’s with the monkeys? And the cleaning inspection?
One Does Not Simply Fry (Stewart Baker, James Beamon)
What it is about: participating in a baking, er I mean frying competition a la Masterchef, but chock full of Lord of the Rings puns, as with their other game The Bread Must Rise (I read that demo). You can cook the regular way, or try underhanded methods. The goal: to fry the ultimate On(e)ion Ring.
The good: The humor (chock full of Lord of the Rings references), the eclectic cast of characters, the still-realistic ingredient list.
The bad: The preset characters. It would be a good idea if we had a way to determine or were asked about our frying prowess, charisma, etc.
The Huh: I’m surprised that there was no major scheming afoot- I’m not counting bribery. And why no alternative ingredients (other than potatoes)?
Help, I Can’t Find My Glasses! (Lacey Green)
What it is about: trying to find your glasses. Another slice-of-life, with some degree of mystery.
The good: various locations you can search, it’s relatively easy to actually get your glasses back.
The bad: with only two suspects and many locations, there are obviously plenty of red herrings, but also so much more you can do with these locations- it may need more characters. Which means that this game is a little on the short side (for a mystery).
The Huh: as with One Does Not Simply Fry, what’s with the secret society called Red Alert? And the endgame feels a little too … sudden?
Fix Your Mother’s Printer (Geoffrey Golden)
What it is about: A conversation with your mother about fixing her broken printer, your future plans, what your dad is up to, amongst other things.
I normally go with the friendly, sometimes humorous approach.
The good: Explores various ways you can fix the printer (though not always successful), nice inclusion of pets, lighthearted and humorous (talking to your not-so-senile mother wasn’t too bad).
The bad: Could have included more scenes that dealt with family tension. Relationship troubleshooting matters, too.
The Huh: I guess there was no mention of your siblings, but not that it was needed anyway? The graphics were a little distracting.
Into the Lion’s Mouth (Metalflower)
What it is about: An encounter with a lion in a safari. You don’t get to do the thing mentioned in the title (unlike another entry).
The good: The are options to be a pacifist, or resort to all-out violence, or to be underhanded, etc.
The bad: Neither end well. Not even being the master species can save you. There is a lack of a realistic and appropriate ending or resolution.
The Huh: There are options involving animal cruelty, and yet there seems to be some sort of dry humor to it- not so appropriate I guess?
Escape Your Psychosis (Georg Buchrucker)
What it is about: People in a psychotic state.
The good: The way in which a mental illness is portrayed. Step into the shoes of someone with this condition, and try to deal with said condition (or not).
The bad: The darker aspects of this are not explored fully and thoroughly, if the purpose of the author is to both inform and entertain, as this is a serious issue. and The second ending is also somewhat ‘leap-of-faith’.
The Huh: It’s alright if you want to do it CYOA-gamebook style, but it would be better to have a separate ‘bad ending’ that is the result of a vicious cycle, rather than get trapped. Would another medium, or even another approach or point of view have been better at explaining?
Thanks for the review!
We wrote One Does Not Simply Fry in under a month, starting in early September, which accounts for both the preset characters and the lack of any bigger, overarching plots. It’s definitely a much smaller game than Bread Must Rise. Glad you (mostly!) enjoyed it.
Hi there! Thanks for the review! I actually have more plans for the game, which is why it was so sudden I’ll take your review in mind when I add more to the game.
Although one thing I’m a little confused. I didn’t realize there was a Red Alert society in the game? Can I ask where you found it?
Thank you so much for spending time and effort reviewing my game. I am choosing not to make any specific comments about reviews until after the comp, but I assure you that I am grateful for any and all comments, which are so useful in improving my game and future games.
All the Troubles Come My Way (Sam Dunnachie)
What it is about: Being a cowboy from 1883 who is transported to the 21st century. And you have lost your hat (first glasses, and now hat?).
The good: Finding your hat isn’t too difficult, and there are some other things to do as well. Stereotypical cowboy features (sheriff, rodeo, etc).
The bad: The setup for getting transported to 21st century New York City takes up a little too much of the plot, in particularly finding your missing hat (it’s in the title, after all). This would leave little room for your other adventures in 21st century New York City. In fact, the circumstances surrounding your transportation need more elaboration.
The Huh: What else can we do to ‘that other cowboy in Times Square’?
We All Fall Together (Camron Gonzalez)
What it is about: Falling into the void with a group of people. No idea why this is fantasy.
The good: It’s somewhat surreal. Memory recollection is nice.
The bad: Somewhat short and not much plot, so most of the time it’s describing how you fall and what you think and feel. And most of all, you don’t know where you’re going. So much for falling.
The Huh: What is this Rock Star in the story?
What it is about: You and your best buddy compete in a game show. Only this time, whatever happens in-game happens in real life too. Good luck.
The good: So Much Metagame. The inclusion of rewind in the actual metagame part (playing a game about playing a game).
The bad: A vague reference to the trolley problem in a game where there is plenty of blood, gore and profanity- it doesn’t help that it’s a Battle Royale of all things, doesn’t help. Not enough romance (oh well). Personal preference, but I would love it had the game had taken more of the approach not unlike that of Galatea.
The Huh: Some of the commands in the actual metagame feel like they came out of a parser. Trolley problem in a parser would look fine though. (Then again, the Single Choice Jam not too long ago had a game that also discussed the trolley problem, so there).
Last Valentines’ Day (Daniel Gao)
What it is about: Celebrating Valentines’ Day, only that it turns out to be Groundhog Day instead. Did someone curse you? And who?
The good: The weather slowly but surely gets stormier and stormier. The death and destruction toll rises (not again). The letter is unraveled a little bit at a time. The Ghost of Valentines’ Future shows up, too.
The bad: Probably should have more references to the Orpheus myth. Then again, maybe, as mentioned above, a Charles Dickens Christmas Carol approach could have worked better.
The Huh: No way to be together again, I guess? And the title is indeed a pun!
Trail Stash (Andrew Schultz)
What it is about: A treasure hunt. Find and use various objects.
The good: The dry humor. The weird ingredients.
The bad: With 16 different locations (4 inner, 12 outer), most of the game is simply trial and error when it comes to using objects. I’m not sure what we get at the end, either.
The huh: Since this is mainly a treasure hunt, most of the commands could have been in parser format. I’m also surprised that there isn’t a map.
What it is about: A philosophical debate on the constitution and usefulness of meritocracy.
I did the pacifist approach.
The good: The message was brought across clearly and concisely. Oh, and the trolley problem returns. Of course.
The bad: A little too linear and too simplistic. Could have given more examples. The first section on fallacies not so relevant to the central discussion. Where are the definitions?
The Huh: Probably should have started off with a debate rather than a professor dialogue for a more interesting and unusual trigger. More on free will and meritocracy, please? Then again, how about free will and the ‘laws of robotics’ for a change?
The post-comp version will now have a map! Both a treasure map and a game map. Thanks very much for pointing that out. (I have the code written, but we can’t make big changes in-comp.)
For Eternity, Again and Again (TheChosenGiraffe)
What it is about: A hero and their lover realize that the Universe is dying and must find some way for both of them to be together.
The good: It’s still surreal. We have both perspectives of the story.
The bad: Most of the endings all end the same way- in destruction. Alas, there is no way for them to be together.
The Huh: If eternity ends, then why is the opposite reincarnation of both the hero and their lover? Why do they reincarnate in the first place?
The Enigma of Solaris (jkj yuio) (typo error?)
What it is about: Stopping a space station from crashing into the Earth (sounds familiar?)
Once again, I chose the pacifist approach.
The good: Interesting mix of parser and choice. The theme of balance between knowledge of the cosmos and preservation of humanity was well explained.
The bad: The climax needs to be better drawn out. A race to shutdown the AI would have made it even more high-stakes- in other words, the stakes weren’t high enough. The finale also made it more anticlimactic. And there are not many areas in the space station to explore.
The Huh: What happens when the AI really goes rouge? Since it is quite short, this theme was unfortunately unexplored. Perhaps in an expanded version.
Lake Starlight (SummersViaEarth)
What it is about: Coming of age and developing your magical talent at a summer camp. On a lake. With others who also have superpowers.
The good: The Guardian angel messages. The description of the great outdoors. The semi-urban fantasy setting. The non Harry Potter approach to being inducted into the camp.
The bad: More ecological references, please. The conflict is not thoroughly explained, leaving a cliffhanger after the first challenge. A better sense of the available elemental types we can use and how they function, since this is central to the mechanisms of the game.
The Huh: A better and more intuitive stat and character chart would be nice. And where’s my Life Energy and Weapon Energy?