Shufflecomp Reviews

I’ll be posting some reviews here:

Just one up so far.

My shufflecomp reviews here, along with THE ALL IMPORTANT FAVORITE PSEUDONYMS: … hufflecomp


I’m going to be doing some on my Twitter feed. One is up so far. I’m not sure what the best way to access this is for folks; since the #shufflecomp tag takes a lot of character bandwidth I’m only using it on the first of a series of review tweets. But probably searching for #shufflecomp (

I really like the reviews I’ve seen so far. Good work!

Would it be too much to ask to post here once you’ve updated your blogs (unless you’re already on Planet-IF)? That way the eager reader won’t have to check for updates in 4 or 5 blogs manually.


I started a blog. So far I put up reviews for Eight Miles High, Truth, Flotsam and Driftwood, Dead Man’s Party, and Invisible Parties.

Some reviews, most of them spoiler-y.

Monkey and Bear

[spoiler]My favorite part of this game is the dream sequence at the beginning. It’s a fun and imaginative way to reveal the bear’s interior life, and makes the indignities of her waking life that much more poignant.

The part where the monkey “generously” takes the food off the bear’s hands is also an effective, revealing moment.

Most of my favorite lines involve the monkey:
“A light, furry voice rubs through the quantum framework”
“He fists a tiny monkey hand in fury.”
“His dark monkey eyes are full of apology as you lower your clumsy paws.”

I resorted to the walkthrough largely because I misunderstood the text “There’s no point to staying awake - he doesn’t trust you enough to sleep while you are wakeful” as indicating that there was no way to get the monkey to fall sleep before the bear, ever. Even after I read the walkthrough, my attempts to regain the monkey’s trust seemed insufficient, so I restarted the game.

The middle portion of the game would have been more enjoyable, I think, with some tweaks: (1) Although the opening scene was interesting, replaying this scene each night–using most of the same lines and phrases–felt repetitious. If I’m going to play through multiple sleep/wake sequences, I would prefer them to be significantly different each time. That could be a lot of fun. If that’s not possible, I’d prefer a shortish text description of sleeping instead of an extended sequence. (2) Ten very similar “Road” locations in a row also felt repetitious. Just a few “Road” locations per day would have been nice, along with non-overlapping descriptions to help them feel like distinct locations.

I’m glad to have played. But I also hope the author will consider refining it a bit more. It feels like there’s still some untapped potential here.[/spoiler]

Flotsam and Driftwood

[spoiler]I liked this game for its quirkiness of setting, characters, and humor, and thought it was at its best when these elements were in focus.

Some favorite moments:
“You pick up the stone. Where it was there is now a small, surprised-looking worm.”
“A murmur goes up from the shadow figures by the fire. You hear one of them ask, ‘Can he do that?’”
“The shadow figures are clearly upset by this. One of them is just whispering ‘Food’, over and over. Another is telling you ‘That’s not the way, lad. You’re supposed to give up your habits. Even eating. You don’t have to eat, here.’”

The main puzzle (or series of puzzles?), on the other hand, was not my style. Some things would never have occurred to me to try, especially trying to use the rock and the beer tab to make a hook. The other difficulty was that I wasn’t sure what the goal was. I was more focused on trying to interact with the figures than trying to get to the hut (which I didn’t think was possible).

But I enjoyed the humor enough that, after completing the game with only a few points, I used the walkthrough and finished the game the “long” way anyway. The multiple endings were a nice touch.[/spoiler]


[spoiler]This has a lot of good points for such a short game: A fun, quirky setting. An engaging, unique, kind of breathless narrative voice. A sense of character history, courtesy of the memories. A satisfying little puzzle that fits in nicely with the characters and their history. A worthwhile question or two to ponder.

Possibly my favorite aspects of this game were the locations and their names.

An enjoyable and memorable short game.[/spoiler]

Light My Way Home

[spoiler]I liked these opening lines: “Vast metal towers stand in silhouette against the stars, backlit by the full moon. Their skeletal arms hold dozens of cables aloft between them, a dozen lines running across the sky like a great celestial loom. You feel energy play across them overhead.”

The music was a nice touch to help immerse the player in the sad, quiet atmosphere.

The map was the right size to give you space to explore a bit and take in the atmosphere, but without extraneous locations. The messages preventing you from going beyond the edges of the map fit in nicely with the central idea.

Speaking of which, I also liked the central concept of the game and the resulting simplicity of the commands.

In retrospect, the other thing that impressed me about this game was the flow. You’re put in an area with something to fiddle with, and you discover that you can’t fiddle with it. Examining yourself, you discover that you don’t even know who (or what) you are. You do some exploring, discovering along the way a special ability. You do further exploring and meet the intriguing NPC. Naturally you try to interact with the NPC, who has his or her own agenda and who literally leads you in the right direction for the rest of the game. And of course, somewhere along the way, it becomes clear who/what you are and what you must do.

Though seemingly simple and spare, this game is nicely arranged. The elements fit together.[/spoiler]

Thank you to the authors for sharing your games. [emote]:)[/emote]

My reviews have started going up. Sorry for the delay; RL got the better of me.

Reviews of Tea and Toast plus More at my Dreamwidth journal:

If anyone has trouble viewing the entry, please let me know and I’ll try to wrassle things.

(I don’t know if I’ll be able to play more before the deadline, so I figured I’d get these up while I could.)

EDITED: Okay, I have no idea how to do BBCode syntax and I am the WORLD’S worst coder. :] Sorry…

I don’t even have the real life excuse, but yeah–with a 3 day weekend I hope to catch up.

13/33 reviews done, but we’re 2/3 of the way through judging.

Yeah, I’ve played about a third of them myself. RSI flare-up issues plus family obligations. :] Still, maybe tonight I can get a few more in.

Added short reviews for: Nothing But Flowers, Illuminate, Light My Way Home, Holy Robot Empire, and Sparkle.

Added short reviews for: An Earth Turning Slowly, More, Monkey and Bear, Tea and Toast, and Cryptophasia. I have now posted all my reviews for during Shufflecomp.

I’ve achieved the desired quantity if not the quality.

I have reviewed everything here:

Renga in Blue

My last set of 4 won’t appear until near the end of voting because by posting I will give away my pseudonym (since I’m not reviewing myself).

Speaking of which, when is the end of voting?

Saturday is the last day.

Well, one last update. See here.

Voting is now closed, and I’ve counted up the reviews. Anything more posted now won’t influence the result.