Short impressions on IFComp 2020 entries (n-n)


I’m not familiar with the original story or the musical, but I found this version interesting (I can assume the personality of the PC is quite different in either of those). There are nice presentation details, like the graphical frame and the background music.

Under They Thunder

If I had difficulty with Limerick Quest, this one was way over my head. I think I understand the principle behind pig latin, but didn’t get what the game was about, at all. The names were so similar that I could not tell things apart, or remember which ones are locations or objects. Even the walkthrough was inscrutable, I failed to see where those commands were coming from. The game is well beyond my English level, so I can’t really rate it.



This kind of story mediated by application interfaces is totally my thing, but on my second playthrough I seem to have run into a bug (I’m supposed to click on a “Call From Vincent” link, but it’s disabled). What I could see seems cool enough, though.


Slice of life story that conveys the feeling of being far from home. The presentation and writing in this game are fantastic. It shares some tonal elements with Mother Tongue (both works deal with cultural distance, and there’s very good use of IM-like text styling in both, too).

The Arkhill Darkness

Right balance of storytelling and RPG mechanics. Rather than the more linear Fighting Fantasy gamebooks, the mix of comedy adventure + horror + RPG has the feel of something like Horrorsoft’s Elvira (with an anonymous Wizard playing Elvira’s part). I found this game very addictive and got the Worst ending, so I might try playing it again after the comp.


thanks for the review of “quintessence,” n-n! i had such a good time with the backgrounds. with the cursors, too! though at first they were my mortal enemy cuz twine). i’m glad you liked them. thanks again!


What the Bus?

As a regular user of public transportation a lot of the passages got a complicit smile. Good writing, with tone varies from the exasperated to the surreal. The typical playthrough is short, but there’s a lot of replay value until the ten possible endings are reached (I got half of them, the best one being Dog Park I think).

The Cave

Randomized dungeon exploration. Some of the passages were really evocative, but I’m not sure to what extent my final stats were a reflection of the choices I made. At times I had the feel I had to backtrack until I ran out of options, and only then I was offered the extra link that would take me to a new location. There is depth in the amount of items, spells and statuses with real effects in the game that allow for interesting interactions, a la Nethack.

Flattened London

I’m only familiar with one of the two sources of inspiration for this game, but there’s enough explanation for the backstory. A lot of thought has been put into Flattened London: it has a rich story, puzzles with alternate solutions and a ton of optional content. I reached a suboptimal ending, and after looking at the solution I realized how much stuff I had missed. Very cool game that clearly merits more than two hours of play time.



Like Chorus, Doppeljobs uses the trope of fantastic beings doing everyday stuff (a doppelganger that impersonates clients, in this case). Worldbuilding is the strongest point of this story, with a rich setting and memorable characters. It has multiple endings, so replay value is good, too.

The Place

Short Twine story which occasionally prompts the user to type in certain values. The poetic style made it a bit vague, but I liked it.


Very cool Deadline-type whodunnit with an ad-hoc parser. The engine is full-featured, with excellent handling of NPCs and timed events. The only glitch I found was being asked to disambiguate objects when they weren’t present. Good plot and smooth implementation, one of my favorites of this comp.

Return to Castle Coris

Traditional dungeon-based adventure. I got stuck early and had to look at the walkthrough to advance a bit. Implementation seems solid and detailed, but the difficulty bounced me out. Nowadays I lack the stamina required by this type of hardcore puzzles.

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Moving this thread with my non-reviews to the public area.


I didn’t know you could do this. And thank you for doing this! You’ve got me thinking of trying a few more games I didn’t get a chance to play during judging.