Short reviews for short games

I’m playing short games from the short games showcase, since I missed most of them the first time around. I’ll ramble a little bit about them.

First Batch:

1.) Three Things by @LapinLunaireGames

I loved loved loved this. Despite initially saying I would ramble, I don’t really want to say anything about this, except that it’s great. It’ll only take you 5-10 minutes to play, so go do that.

2.) Cycle by @alyshkalia

You’re in a broken relationship, but you don’t realize that until you get the boot and have to start thinking about your behavior. Something that I have had painful experience with-- thinking things are fine when I should have known they weren’t, but I was too selfish and dumb to see it. A neat mechanic gives you second (and third, and fourth) chances, but can you ever repair something that you broke so thoughtlessly?

3.) NEST by @Afterward

A parser game, and like pretty much everything Ryan does, it’s clever and very satisfying to solve. Requires restarting multiple times, but that’s part of the gameplay and because the map is small, this is actually enjoyable here. If you feel like solving a fun little puzzle, go play this right now. Just excellent.

4.) A Meeting in the Dark by @cchennnn

A snippet from the pageantverse, Karen returns for an awkward and painful encounter with her maybe girlfriend. Set during the early days of the pandemic when no one knew anything, everything was locked down, and loneliness was consuming so many people. It’s curious how even though I have huge social anxiety issues, I deal with it so, so differently than Karen does. The author did this game for the Single-choice Jam, but plays the lack of choices off the protagonist’s inner monologues in elegant ways, embracing the limitations of the comp in a tight, well-constructed little game.


5.) Eurydice Exhumed by sweetfish (do they have a handle here?)

Orpheus and Eurydice. What a great myth. You can probably guess what the single choice is in this game, and you better believe I did the opposite of the original story, knowing how that turns out. I do love the perspective here: if you retrieve someone from the land of death and take them back to the land of the living, you have exhumed them. Clever.

6.) At the Poison’s Edge by Natasha Luna (again, don’t know their handle)

Some very nice artwork, and a story which takes place after the main event has already occurred, leaving you, a poisoned lover, to ask why this happened. A fun little 5 minutes.

7.) Bill’s Passage by Benny Mattis (another unknown author)

I was exactly the right age for Schoolhouse Rock, and can still sing most of “I’m just a bill, and I’m sittin’ here on Capitol hill…”

This is pretty much the same story. It’s a straight treatment of how things are supposed to work, and it’s kind of charming how this game treats government as if you can garner support from representatives based on your merits. Aww. If only that’s how we did things in the good ol’ US of A.

8.) The Picton Files: The Peter and Paul Case by, I think, @jkj_yuio (sorry if I’m wrong about that)

A detective story in which you (a hardboiled male detective) and your spunky female assistant in a skintight catsuit (one day, she’ll be a detective, too!) visit the home of a recently deceased person to ferret out the details of the crime. Simple, clean graphics make it easy to navigate the space, and a straightforward bit of sleuthing through cabinets and such yields clues that allow you to solve the case, kinda. I must have missed something or used up turn limits, because I only got the cause of death and the means before it ended, not the killer. I enjoyed the gameplay here.
Edit: I was informed that this is just the first chapter of an ongoing game project, so in fact I did not miss anything.


9.) I absolutely swear I played a game called Aquarium, but now I can’t find it in the game list again. Huh. Did it get withdrawn? Have I had a stroke? Anyway, it was an aquarium simulator and I passed a pleasant few minutes with it.

Edit: And @EJoyce suggested that perhaps this was Scale by @lavieenmeow, and that’s it.

10.) Occhiolism by dagitabsoft (no handle, I guess)

I couldn’t play this one. My mac wouldn’t let me open the downloaded game. Didn’t even give me an option to override it. But TIL what this awesome word means, so thanks to the author for that.

11.) Chinese Family Dinner Moment by @Kastel
A little parser game that encapsulates some of the universal awfulness of a dinner with your whole family, but throws in some specifically terrible family dysfunction. There’s very little you can do here as I believe this was for the single choice jam, and I never could wrap my mind around how the rules for that applied to parser games. But in this game there are some very atmospheric stock responses for things like TALK TO and EXAMINE, which really set the tone. There is one command you can really use, and that’s a good one, and probably the wisest action you can take at a family dinner.

12.) Conduit of the Crypt by GrimBacaris (no known handle)

This was a strange little game. My first play through ended about 30 seconds into the game, and my second and third only lasted a minute or two. That’s all the replay I have in me, even for a short game (unless, as in NEST, I’m making progress on solving a puzzle). Can’t really say anything about it without giving the whole things away.

13.) Magor Investigates by @Lazzah

I play ADRIFT games so seldom that I always have to relearn that you type into the skinny little white bar at the bottom. ADRIFT does not make this easy, because you CAN type into the text field; it just screws up the game’s text. So it took me a minute to reorient myself to ADRIFT. And then Frankendrift crashed. And then did it again. So with apologies, I’m moving on.

But I will put a screenshot of the error report here in case that's useful to Larry:

This was a troubled few games for me, obviously. Lost games, games that wouldn’t open, games that crashed. The game gods are not well pleased with me today.


The jam still has the same number of games it did when it opened (70), so nothing’s been withdrawn. Are you looking for Scale?


AHA! That’s it. In my notes, I wrote “Aquarium” as the title, and seeing as how I am never wrong in my notes, was perplexed. I think the problem with my gaming adventures today may be coming into focus: I’m an idiot.


14.) BLINK by bubez (no obvious handle)

As far as I can tell, having clicked around on the entire opening screen of this for a while, said opening screen with 10 words on it is the entire thing.

15.) Demon Hatching by by mxelm (no obvious handle)

I liked this a lot, enough that I played through to get all 3 endings (which only took a few minutes). A shapeshifter gets their shape wrong, and hijinks ensue. Nice little game.

16.) Feast of Senses by graymeditations (no obvious handle)

The opening screen, with a nice simple little graphic that looks like it might be fun, exhorts me to “do something,” but I can’t figure out anything to do. No amount of clicking or key-pressing made anything happen. So.

17.) Remembrance by @EJoyce

Not to be a giant bummer or anything, but this got me sniffling. My mother died in October, and going through her things has been really hard. And that’s what this game is about. Before EJ starts to feel bad about it, don’t. This was a therapeutic experience for me. Very well-written, and absolutely nails the experience of how every object that formed some kind of bond between a parent and child carries serious baggage with it. I loved the game.

18.) The Good Weapon by (no obvious handle) ninecoffees

Computer would not allow me to play this one either.

I do wish that everyone would make games playable online. I could fuss around with my computer trying to find out how to override its insistence that I not play some of these, but I’m not going to do that because I don’t want to. So, there’s a lesson here: if you want people to play your game, make it easily playable.



Kit thanks you for your review. She explains the game was for IntroComp2023 and was only the first chapter. The rest of the game is written and hopefully will be completed. In the meantime, here’s a scene from Chapter 3, where you have to find the stolen car. I wonder which one it is?


Probably you explained this in your game notes, which I didn’t read even though it irritates me when people don’t read my game notes.

But good to know I didn’t miss anything!


19.) Maverick Hunter: Scandalous Mission by @RockmanX

I couldn’t find an actual game to play. I downloaded the zip file and there was what looked like a text walkthrough?

Again, folks, if you want people to play your game, make it easy to play.

20.) Collision by @manonamora

Well, that just about gave me a heart attack. Creepy and weird and short and with a VERY SCARY ENDING.

21.) Door by Dev Band (no obvious handle)

There is a single word in this game, which is “door,” so I guess that makes it IF? Doors fall down. You throw them away. Another door falls down, etc. I did this for about 3 minutes and then went away.

22.) Jabberwocky by Outgrabe (no obvious handle)

A text-adventurized version of the poem. The good news: absolutely phenomenal hand-drawn pencil art. The bad news: timed text that appears sslloowwllyy. The font is very large, so you have to wait for the text and click multiple times to get a description of an area. I died randomly after about 3 minutes, just by picking east. So I really can’t tell you much about the quality of the interpretation, because I wasn’t going to restart and go through all the timed text again.

23.) Space Wizard Rendezvous by WizzBizz (no obvious handle)

I confess I was really confused a lot while playing this. It says to consult your spell book often, but I couldn’t see that anywhere, so I just randomly picked things. And while the writing is zippy and the setup is fun (meeting a wizard in a space bar), I couldn’t really follow what was going on and died very shortly into the game. Maybe my troubles here were just me continuing my streak of dumbassery today, so maybe I’ll retry it tomorrow.


The spell book is available as a pdf download if you scroll down a little on the itch page!


Ah. Again, I am a giant hypocrite because I want people to read my game page info and find my downloads, but I rarely do this myself. Which is changing my mind about having anything external to the game that isn’t clearly spelled out in the game itself.

I’ll try that one again tomorrow. I really have not been firing on all cylinders today.


Sorry :people_hugging:


Except the Easter Eggs :slight_smile:


No, it was great. Just unexpected. I mean, the game IS called Collision, so maybe I should have seen it coming.


and still, nobody see the end coming :stuck_out_tongue:


23b.) Space Wizard Rendezvous, attempt 2

OK, I replayed this and got much farther, reaching the “true” ending. I still felt some confusion over the narrative, which feels rushed-- you have no idea you want to rob the rich space folks until suddenly you do, and the relationship between the 2 main characters feels like some chapters got skipped. But the writing is zippy and I always love spells. But I definitely got more out of it this time with the spell book at hand.

24.) Lucid Night by @dee_cooke

A trippy little parser game set in your dreams. Minimal commands needed to play through, so very friendly. I have never had a lucid dream and am jealous of people who do. Like, last week I had a dream where I was at a picnic and then we all had to line up to have our left hands chopped off (then it is put in a paper bag for you to take), and everybody seemed to think this was fine except me. And it would have been awesome to realize, “Hey, this is a dream, because this could never actually happen, so chill out, A.” Except, nope. I bought the entire premise hook, line, and sinker and was terrified.

Anyway, very nice little game.

25.) Palazzo Heist by @smwhr

Fun! A clicky game where you have to get from your gondola into the Venetian palazzo to rob it. It was very short, and I was disappointed that once I got in, I didn’t get to rob it and the game ended. Which is the deal with games that have to have 500 words or less-- you just aren’t going to get a whole lot.

26.) Good Bones: A Haunted Housewarming by Leon Lin (no obvious handle)

Fun and charming. I don’t know why I didn’t play this one for Ectocomp, but I’m glad I had it to play now.

A few nights ago, I got up in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom, which I try to be quiet about so I don’t wake Tom up. And I immediately stepped on the dog’s squeaky toy. Then tripped over my shoe. Then stubbed my toe on Tom’s squatty potty, causing me to yell (profanity ahead) “Oh, you MOTHERFUCKER!” So of course Tom was awakened and the dog was trying to get her toy back and my toe was bleeding and the lights had to come on, all at 2:30 AM.

I bring this story up because A.) I’m still mad at Tom for leaving his squatty potty out in the middle of the bathroom floor, and B.) this game is about bad things that happen on the way to the bathroom in the middle of the night. The house is haunted, but even scarier, you’re renovating it. I laughed out loud several times during play and enjoyed the whole thing immensely.

And can I say, this game doesn’t punish you for dying by making you start all over. It has LAST CHECKPOINT options that take you right back to before you died, allowing you to make another decision. So you can make all the bad decisions and have all the game. Can this start being standard in choice games? Pretty please?


I also could not figure out how to make anything happen on this one at first, but after mashing the arrow keys for a while (since I think Bitsy games rely on the arrow keys), the screen finally did change and then I could do things!


Sounds like you had quite an adventure one night as well! Thanks for playing and reviewing my game. I’m glad you enjoyed it!


I tried the arrows, but no dice. I mean, I only hit each arrow a couple of times, thinking that it might let me point to one of the things on the graphic, but didn’t persist.

I don’t spend time on games that aren’t obvious how to play, or don’t teach me how to play. That’s game design 101.


I had the same problem. I don’t know if it’s a matter of there being some secret combination of keypresses it’s looking for or if it’s just a little broken. Since it was made for a “make the worst game possible” event, I’m also not sure if the difficulty of getting past the opening screen was intentional or not.