Some mini-reviews

Hi, just registered, not new to playing IF but I’ve never judged in a competition before or written an extended review, and I thought this year I’d give a try, for all games:

A few notes
1)I generally favor parser games over choice-based, which you might consider a bias of sorts and might account for some of the ratings.
2)The reviews are quite light on actual spoilers, so you shouldn’t worry about that if you have not played yet. I really doubt they are going to ruin your enjoyement of the games themselves.
3)Ratings are not-quite-final, as I might change a few if I have the time to replay (while still respecting the 2h limit, of course). This applies especially to low ratings, where I feel it might be my felt for missing some important aspect of the game.
4)This is so obvious that I feel I could avoid writing it, but it doesn’t hurt so: all competitors deserve praise and recognition for having actually entered the competition, so low ratings should not be seen as discouraging.
5)Comments/posts are appreciated, for example feel free to suggest that I may have missed the point or subtleties of some of the games (or, on the other hand, that I over-rated what you feel wasn’t so great a game).

Here is the first batch of thoughts on the games, in actual playing order:


[spoiler]Blurb suggested this would be a light-hearted, fun game, and this was one of the reasons I went for it first.
Overall, I did not regret it - the puzzles, writing and atmosphere felt all good enough while not being extraordinary.

There were some parser issues midgame, but nothing too critical - and having never played a QUEST game, I actually feared things might be much worse, so I’m not letting that affect m rating too much.

HOWEVER the ending was quite frustrating because of the syntax required for the final action - I had to check the walkthrough.

Rated 7[/spoiler]


[spoiler]Not much to say and not much to do. It’s bleak, offering very limited choices and no real way to progress.
I can see how that’s the point and it does help immersion significantly. And the writing’s alright in its simplicity.
Still, I can’t say I enjoyed this.

Rated 4. Which might be too negative considering the bleakness IS the point, I suppose, so I might replay it a few times and perhaps change to a 5[/spoiler]


[spoiler]This was the one I liked the most of this batch - quite simply, it was atmospheric and amusing, the combination of Lovecraftian horror, cults and humour reminded me of Buffy the Vampire Slayer.
It did not take itself too seriously and that worked perfectly. I recommend it.

Rated 8.[/spoiler]


[spoiler]Queer themes juxstaposed with a fantasy quest/heroic journey.
An interesting combination which was handled well enough - even if some of the metaphors felt a bit stretched, overall the dualism between ‘wolf’ and ‘shadow’ did fit with the fantasy setting.
Sometimes I found the text awkard to read because of fonts and colors, but the writing itself was good.
It was not fun or challenging (there are no real puzzles, after all), but it was somewhat thought-provoking, so I’d recommend it.

Rated 7[/spoiler]


[spoiler]Initially, I did not put a lot of time into this (perhaps 20 minutes out of the maximum of2 hours).
I felt that while writing was good and the letter-reading was made to fit well enough with the main character day-to-day life and relationships, the puzzles themselves could have been introduced somewhat better and more clues could have been provided.

Replaying a few times with hint mode on made me appreciate the puzzles a bit more, but still not enough to call them great or make me truly understand the code behind the last ones.
People who enjoy cracking secret codes or word/number riddles might get much more enjoyement out of this than me though - so do give it a try if you’re into that.

Rated 6[/spoiler]


[spoiler]The historical premise sounded decent, but I found the execution fairly poor.


The English was imperfect in some places - lack of capitalization at the start of some sentences for example, and there was also an out-of-place joke, considering the serious subject matter.

NPC behaved oddly: they accepted any item (which I assume means you can get stuck by giving them items required later), and if you talked to them a second time you would only say hello to them, with no reaction.

The puzzles felt flat and boring, not really requiring significant thought. I supose that might be unfair since they were not really presented as puzzles but rather as “things to do” - like buying groceries - but still…
One bug that stood out to me: at the game’s finale, someone knocked at my open door and I had to close then reopen it to finish the game.

Rated 5[/spoiler]

(another round, I think I’ll keep writing these in groups of 3-4)


[spoiler]I had high expectations for this - being a magical assassin sounds like a very exciting IF premise, and I’m a fantasy fan.
Sadly I ended up being very disappointed.

It suffers from issues such as

  • typos (‘wight light’, ‘minataur’, possibly others I did not spot)
  • awkard syntax early on (to obtain the scroll, took me a while to realize I should have ‘asked for’ rather than about. Why not simply let me get it, since it was a gift?)
  • lack of descriptions
  • inability to ‘undo’ in combat, but you can always save and reload
  • two clear bugs: gaining levels seemed to LOWER my maximum strength (resulting in potions being useless later on) and a NPC causing constant runtime errors (which were at least not fatal)

In the end this felt to me like an unfun, tenously-connected series of fights. A real shame considering the premise had huge potential, and the author also wrote some background material.

(Note: I played the downloaded version, perhaps the online one does not suffer from these issues?)

Rated 3[/spoiler]


[spoiler]When I read the blurb, I thought the premise was funny enough.
Sadly the execution was poor, the gags/jokes/characterizations were cheap (some would say sexist - I’m not 100% sure about that, but anyway they’re not very funny) and the game does not stand out for either its coding or prose.

The one thing I found almost-amusing in a nonsensical Monty-Pythonesque way were the random insults the neighbour would throw at you, such as ‘pornographic porn actress’(as opposed to the non-pornographic kind, I suppose?) and ‘lupine person’, which had a Monty Pythonesque feel to it. However they were still out of place and simply ridicolous, even with the game not being very serious.

Solved this using the walkthrough as I didn’t want to spend too much time on it. Basically: It’s not very good.

Rated 4[/spoiler]


[spoiler]A game about insomnia of the ‘click highlighted words in the right order’ kind, which I’m generally not a fan of.

It’s fairly atmospheric, with the story growing more and more dreamy as things progress, and I enjoyed some good bits of writing such as

You’ve begged your mother for a digital clock but she says she doesn’t “believe in them.” Personally you don’t find the existence of digital clocks to be a matter of dispute, but your mother can be stubborn.

On the other hand as the game became more ‘dreamy’, it also eventually became too vague (perhaps not the best word) for my tastes. I’ll call this a good (if not excellent) game that I simply can’t enjoy much, and I did not finish.

Oh and - though this may just be a Firefox issue - the text early on did not adapt to my screen width, so lateral scrolling and/or resizing was needed. Does not influence my rating, but it was odd.

Rated 6[/spoiler]


[spoiler]A fantasy dungeon delving game - one that, from the fairly long blurb, I had high expectations for.

Sadly I was disappointed - the writing and setting are only average (and with a few typos, I saw ‘theives’ somewhere) and based on typical D&D.

Then there’s the problem of the puzzles: the two I came across felt both uninspired and unfair, being combination locks with no clear clues in the room, and from which you couldn’t step back from.
So you might end up trying to brute-force them, except some combinations are also going to kill you.
Plus the way I read some of the earlier text it looked like there was going to be a less risky way to proceed. But apparently there wasn’t.

The walkthrough was not very helpful either, being written in a quite obtuse, enigmatic style - I could understand the clue for the first puzzle but not for the second. I did not finish or like this.

Rated 4[/spoiler]


[spoiler]You are frozen in the moment and have to backtrack mentally by gradually thinking about your memories to unravel them, and sometimes examining your environment.

It is an interesting concept - if not fully novel - but I eventually found myself going in circles and used the help command, finding out I could switch to easy mode.
Eventually I got stuck again so I used the walkthrough.

The writing wasalright, and there were no technical issues with the parser.
However, there is one thing I don’t like (or at least, that I think makes no sense):

You cannot undo the final decision - fair enough, as it’s meant to be dramatic, though still annoying for most players - but if you know it 's coming, you can just save beforehand.
So it’s not THAT much of a restriction. Odd.

Overall the game itself is not bad: it’s easy to get stuck hunting for the right word to think about, but it’s still worth trying out, especially with easy mode on.
Again, remember to save as you get closer to the end to experience all endings!

Rated 6[/spoiler]


[spoiler]The blurb said this was going to be a Norse saga similar to the King Arthur myth but with ‘more incest and werewolves’. That sounds interesting, doesn’t it?

The interface is charming, with cute pixellated graphics and hypertext which provides option on clicking - it is meant to be similar to old point-and-click adventures, and it shows.
For that it gets points from me as the overall effect is good.
The story and writing are are good enough, though we don’t get too much of them.

In fact that is the problem with this: it’s very short, stopping just when things look like they are going to get really interesting.
Apparently this is just Chapter 1 of an upcoming series.
I do look forward to playing the other chapters, so as a trailer it worked, but as an actual game, not so much.

Rated 6 (would be a 7 if not for the shortness)[/spoiler]

I’m enjoying reading reviews of “One Night Stand” and wondering if anyone will ever find anything nice to say about it.

Well, I did not mention it but the blurb image is well-drawn. That counts for something, right? [emote]:)[/emote]

Also: Wanted to post some more mini-reviews but I think I put them in a .txt and lost that file by mistake so will take a bit to rewrite.
The games were Venus Meets Venus, Zest and Excelsior.

Current thoughts (will re-write more later)
Venus Meets Venus: Effectively a hypertext, not an IF format I’m a fan of. But, to my own surprise, I actually liked going through it. I found both the story and the subject matter fairly interesting so I’ll likely give this a 6.

Zest: I expected a business sim. You know, selling lemonade. This was…very different. Quite charming in some ways but no masterpiece. Probably another 6.

Excelsior: Need to play this more. Current impressions are that could be better, it’s apparently all puzzles, no plot. Likely will be a 5 or 6.


[spoiler]From the blurb I expected a lemonade stand business sim.

Instead I got to play a week in the life of lemonade stand worker with a drug habit and a conflicted relationship with Catholicism.

The old-style graphics fit well with the zany writing and there were multiple endings, which also count as achievements (‘cheevos’).
However some of the endings felt a bit abrupt or forced - or preachy (literally!) - and the overall experience was not particularly fun.
Still, the lack of technical issues and some (mildly) amusing writing mean this earns a positive rating.

Rated 6[/spoiler]


[spoiler]Hypertext fiction rather than a game. No real choices and only one ending.
Definetely NOT the genre of IF I generally enjoy.

So I was somewhat surprised when I went through this and found it a pleasant experience - the story felt both realistic and interesting and the self-loathing, not particularly likeable (and yet sympathetic in some ways) protagonist was actually a significant part of that. She was relatable

It touched on some pretty important queer themes and, despite its insistence that is ‘not a love story’, it definetely felt like one to me, and I kept hoping for a happy ending, despite the constant warnings!).
The writing style was not extraordinary, but fit with both the protagonist’s personality and story.
So…I liked reading this. I wouldn’t call it excellent (but, again, this is not the IF format I generally enjoy), but it was a better experience than expected.

(One nitpick, just because: koi fish are not sea creatures - but then, the narrator may simply have been wrong unreliable)

Rated 6[/spoiler]


[spoiler]In this Inform adventure all non-examine object interactions are handled with ‘use’.
This prevents guess-the-verb issues, though in my opinion risks damaging immersion…which is not this game strong point, anyway. So I suppose it worked well enough.

There’s no plot, and the writing is barebones and functional, so more than than an ‘adventure’ it’s a series of mechanical puzzles set in a tower.
Some of the tower rooms have asymmetric exists which I found annoying to navigate - wish that was handled differently.

I did not finish this, but put a bit more than 1 hour and then decided to use the walkthrough to advance a bit, ending around halfway through.

Overall, what I saw and played through was simply not very fun. Not my kind of puzzle, and the lack of plot and characterization hindered my enjoyement.
However, this seems bug-free* and technically well done (though I wish some objects had more synonyms), so even if I didn’t really like it, it gets points for that.

  • I did have an issue where saving and reloading offline enabled some kind of debug mode and every time I did anything I got a huge amount of debug strings. However, I suspect this might be my fault somehow.

Rated 5[/spoiler]

I’ve been keeping notes on the games I’ve played so far. The nicest thing I said about “One Night Stand” was “a silly excuse for silly puzzles.” Emily Short’s review and the accompanying comments cover the rest of my opinion.

I do agree that the cover image is pretty good, for what that’s worth.


[spoiler]The game suggested I grab a sharpie and headphones. I got the latter, but not the former.
So I did listen to the music - which helped immersion significantly - but I did not draw symbols on my arm like the game told me to.
Even without that the game was surreal enough.
The setting was eerie and alien - you are an artificer working for the gigantic pseudo-insectoid ‘empress’.
Early on there I thought there was little to do other than sleeping while waiting for requests from the Empress’agents, but after a while things really started happening and there was a strong dramatic tension.

There were no real puzzles or challenges (unless I missed them), but the chance to customize some of your work by chosing the components felt very immersive even if (I think?) it did not make a difference to the final outcome.

I’m not sure this was actually a game, but as an IF experience it was fairly strong, so it gets points for that. I’d recommend it.

Rated 7[/spoiler]


[spoiler]A parser-based game featuring temporal/dimensional travel involving portals.

The premise was simple enough (find your friend) and the game did not feature anything extraordinary.
The writing was alright - a bit dry, perhaps - and included some quotes between chapters/parts. The puzzles were really minor.

Not exactly memorable experience, for either good or bad, and I did run into some technical issues:

1)Got stuck with the pitbull in the downstairs room (can’t move in any direction, can’t flee). Not sure how that happened as I don’t think I could reproduce it. Still, it was early on so I just restarted.
2)Asking about Riley about ‘next portal’ while outside the bus gives text about the bus trip 'The trip drags on onto the night. Basically, that text is not updated based on location.
3)Being unable to interact with the sculpture directly (examine, touch…) at the end was annoying.
4)“There’s no way to break the Lydia Blackheart with the crowbar.” Which also ties to how I wished there was a way to get an alternate ending - walkthrough implies only one, which is not quite satisfactory even if it does hint to a sequel of sorts.

So I don’t quite recommend this - it’s not terrible, but it could have definetely been better.

Rated 5[/spoiler]


[spoiler]You have to travel back in time (multiple times!) to not get expelled from college. Good enough premise, I say.

This is a long, complex logical-mathematical puzzle with the goal of avoiding time travel paradoxes, and as that it works well enough and I’m sure quite a few people wil love it.

Although this kind of puzzle is sometimes to my liking, I did not really get too much enjoyement out of it and soon went to the walkthrough to experience all the game rather than keep failing in my attempts to actually time travel.

This should not be seen as an argument against the game but as a testimony to my impatience and desire to see everything in under 2 hours (it’s not an easy puzzle!) and give a fair rating.

I do have three complaints however:

1)I’m not not sure the 'convert a number to binary and tertiary’part really adds anything. It’s a trivial extra step compared to the complexity of everything else.

2)This is something that you can avoid if you’re very careful - I was not - but it is VERY annoying: one possible loss is ending up in waiting room which disables ALL commands. Even restart. That’s a bad thing.

3)Would have been nice if there was more feedback/explanations for why your attempt to time travel fail.

Other than that, game was good enough and obviously a lot of work went into it, I just feel it did not particularly suit to my tastes - and perhaps the 2 hour limit on judging, since the puzzle is complex and long enough (and with a low tolerance for errors) that it may take a really long while to be able to solve it.

Rated 6[/spoiler]


[spoiler]This is a choice game which uses a parser, and not of the ‘select choice by number/letter’. You actually have to type the actions the game gives you as choices.

Usually I would consider this a terrible idea, but here it highlight the PC’s lack of agency (which is not absolute, however).

As for the game’s plot, it starts mundanely enough, with a date with the titular Caroline. Soon enough however things get creepy as she tries to draw you in the cult she is involved with.

As I said before, your lack of actual choice is not total and you eventually get to make choices which affect how things turn out: and this is handled dramatically enough, with at least two endings - I have read there are more but have not seen them personally.
I do confess I found one detail of the (possibly not consensual if PC refuses, I went along on that playthrough) sex scene to be somewhat ridicolous, even if it was obviously not meant to be so.

I liked the fade-to-white effect at the endings, especially in the “she’s leaving you, will you try to stop this?” ending.

Overall, this was a somewhat dramatic piece with the potential to make the player fairly uneasy, which, if that’s your thing, you might want to check out.
Rate 6[/spoiler]


[spoiler]"Icepunk is an experimental work combining a procedurally generated world, prefabricated content, non-linear exploration, public domain literature and social media excerpts - to probe the possibilities of Interactive Fiction. "
The blurb made me pretty interested in this, and when I started I noticed it used ASCII graphics, which felt appropriate to the subject matter, which was about gathering data.

Soon I was out of my base intent on gathering enough data, which mostly meant going through extracts of assorted literature.
My plan was to visit other habits hoping I could find extra-interesting stuff and maybe upgrade my data-gatherer to hold more than 10 TB per trip - so it would take me less than a total of 10 trips to satisfy the requirement of 100 TB.

Sadly that didn’t seem possible and so eventually things grew repetitve and somewhat frustrating, as variety of possible data you could gather was not as large as I hoped.
Then I tried to explore a city rather than immediately gather its data, and instead of more text I got a black screen.

So an interesting concept, but execution really could have been done better.

Rated 5[/spoiler]


[spoiler]So, the ‘thing’ about this is that it is actually two games, side-by-side, one in English and one in Scots.

The English version. which I started with, is a fantasy cave-exploring adventure of the choice type, and as that it was mundane enough, although later on, I got BOLD messages mentioning my HP and wounds, which I found jarring, but in hindsight fit.

The Scot version, from what I could understand (not that much, sadly), is a day-in-the-life of an anxiety/panic-attack sufferer.

The transitions are sometimes involountary as particularly traumatic events happen.

I’m not quite sure what to make of this: the premise sounded alright to me but in practice I did not find it thought-provoking or enjoyable (not that it was meant to be, considering the subject matter!).
I do think I see why everyday life was in Scot while the fantasy adventure was in English, however - the Scot text gave even mundane actions a fantasy-ish quality to them, which was mostly because I did not clearly understand much of it.
Overall, an interesting experiment, but not for me.

Rated 5[/spoiler]


[spoiler]A Choicescript game. I’ll start this by saying that, for some reason, I don’t like these very much (compared to other CYOA systems, too), so I may have a bit of a bias.

The premise is: The PC is a tour guide on a moon base who likes to play videogames and soon enough gets to meet the game developers.
You get to know them better and discuss game design/development with them. Then other things happen…

The game uses this plot to try and make some points - or at least, get to player to think about - some pretty important issues, such as the creative input of game players, minority representation through game characters, consent in game relationships, and what are games are actually for.
Sometimes (but not all of the time) it felt a bit heavy-handed, although I might be being unfair there: once you accept the ‘game developers have invited you to dine with them’, asking for your thoughts about their work and the industry is general is not really a big stretch.
I also was not a fan of the ‘play a game in a game’ sequences, but that’s just my tastes.

On the plus side: this is well-written and the dating sim part flows naturally from the rest as you grow closer to one of the developers while also dealing with job issues.

Overall I found this mildly enjoyable and thought-raising but not great and I felt it could have been done better.

Rated 6[/spoiler]


[spoiler]Parser-based! A TADS executable, specifically.

I was not impressed. Navigation was awkard because of how exits worked, some items that were part of room descs were not examinable and ‘interact with stuff with search’ did not always made sense.
Plus, searching often resulted in death, and you could not undo from that (though you could just restore).
The writing had a lot of gory, disgusting and unpleasant details, which I did not really care for and I suppose fits with the title. It was gramatically correct however.
The puzzles seemed to be of the ‘search X while having item Y in inventory’ kind, which I did not like either, and I ended up going for the walkthrough when I was actually very close to the ending - the way navigating the swamp works meant even with the solution it took a while to finish things.
Also, the fact that my score was always 0 also meant that it was not always clear if I was actually making progress or not.
This was not fun, though it could have been worse I suppose.

Rated 4[/spoiler]


[spoiler]A prison escape game which uses choice links with traditional commands, in the style of some old graphical adventurers.
This system has its flaws, such as being slow and annoying when you need to perform multiple actions in a row, so I feel a parser would have been better.

There were some specific issues such as:
Lack of a Wait (until the guard comes back) command
Using the mirror made the game get stuck.
One typo, ‘dehaydated’ (should be dehydrated?)

However, despite that I liked this game: the premise and writing were alright if not exceptional and there were a few interesting tidbits (such as the magic trick and the trust game) which I really appreciated.

Difficulty-wise: I used the Plan command a lot early on to get hints, andI eventually switched to the walkthrough to get the best ending possible - and I really liked how things turned out at the end - but I don’t think this is THAT hard to solve on its own.

So if you can get over the interface issues, I recommend this.

Rated 7[/spoiler]


[spoiler]A choice adventure inspired by Hugo’s House of Horrors (and reusing images from it), a 1990 game.
No real puzzles and you cannot die or get stuck. Hyperlinks you already visited are in a different color - which is a plus, especially as there is a maze.

Obviously this is meant to evoke a nostalgic/retro feel, going as far as to have pseudo-graphical glitches and a sudden ending, which sadly came when I was hoping things would get REALLY interesting. The writing is also - I assume - intentionally odd.

I think I get what it was trying to do but I did not particularly appreciate it. I suppose some will however. Overall, if you want a retro experience maybe try this.

Rated 5[/spoiler]


[spoiler]At first I thought this was meant to be laNterna. Then I asked around and it turned out I was wrong.
So I expected a game about the, the first multimedia theatre.
I was wrong again.
This was a series of questions and answers about meditation, Buddhist (I assume) philosophy and how to achieve enlightment, handled through hyperlinks.
It is easy to get stuck in a loop, but apparently one CAN finish and obtain ‘enlightment’ (or at least, an ending) by doing things in a certain order.

I did not find this enjoyable or educational and cannot consider it Interactive Fiction - I wonder what it was meant to be by the author.

Rated 1[/spoiler]


[spoiler]A parser-based ‘alien etiquette simulator’.
You have to get on the good side of an alien aristocrat by performing a ritual in the correct way, which takes some research work as your translating device does not quite work like it should.

I had fairly high expectations for this and was sadly somewhat disappointed by the execution - the puzzles (if you can call them that) are trivially easy and not particularly funny.
However, some of the writing is moderately amusing and I could not spot any obvious mistakes, so it is definetely not a terrible work.

Rated 5[/spoiler]


[spoiler]A Windows executable. This is a space adventure…of sorts.
It has its own interface which is sadly slow and inefficient, requiring a lot of clicks and time to do things (the fading effect really doesn’t help).
Some of the humour was not bad, and I can see where the story was meant to go with the computer growing creepy, but still, I did not like this.

Rated 4[/spoiler]


[spoiler]A Twine IF which starts by insisting it is not a game, and giving a trigger warning for torture.
I did not expect to like this, and I did not: I found the writing style somewhat silly (I suspect not intentionally so), spotted at least one typo (‘witch orifice’, a memorable one!) and sometimes felt like the author just wanted to gross out the reader with the protagonist’s actions and thoughts.

On the plus side:
This is fairly long, has pictures and at least two two situations where your choice DOES make a difference to the story. Which makes me believe the author did put a good amount of work into it.

I cannot recommend or say I enjoyed this, but I’m sure someone out there will find it an interesting experience.

Rate 4[/spoiler]


[spoiler]Twine game.
You are a prisoner in a futuristic setting who is offered the chance for ‘rehabilitation’ for an unspecified crime (which felt a bit Kafkian).

You cannot actually refuse, so the rehabilitation process starts and it seems to involve some…puzzles? Which I found not very clear, although I managed to stumble through them somehow.
Then there is a second part where you read through a lot of exposition.

I did not feel these two parts fit together very well however, and I was not particularly impressed by the writing or backstory in general - on the other hand, they were not particularly bad and I’m simply not a sci-fi fan so…

Rated 5[/spoiler]

HILL 160

[spoiler]Parser game set during World War with the PC as an Englsih soldier.

The syntax-handling was troublesome, there were some typos (‘your men are either side of you’), some things mentioned in rooms that should have been examinable were not and the writing was sometimes…odd, in a way I can’t quite explain.

When I played things quickly got frustrating - I was told I decide to get some sleep but I was not drowsy, or I could not progress because it told me I had no rifle (but I had!).

Perhaps I did things in wrong order. So I checked the walkthrough: and found out this is apparently a very long game (I did not finish it, in fact, or even get very far)

From the size of the walkthrough, it seems unlikely one would be able to complete AND throughly read it in 2 hours - there really are A LOT of commands.
It is also quite unforgiving, though that may be intentional - you know, war is hell.

Overall, it seems like a lot of work was put into this I was simply not impressed by the plot, writing or syntax handling, in addition to not particularly appreciating the WW 1 setting.
Rate 4[/spoiler]


[spoiler]Twine game with a LOT of text - way more than others, though it might just be the format that makes it look like this.

The PC is one of two sisters who have been kidnapped and of course want to free themselves.
This basic enough plot did not really draw me in and neither did the writing - which had an odd quality to it (vaguely stream-of-consciousness?), in addition to its length and being 1st person, which are not bad things in themselves.

It also felt like there was little control on the story, in hindsight. I think there is ONE choice that makes a difference. However the choices you are given do generally feel reasonable enough, so there’s that.

So while this was not a terrible work, I did not enjoy much. Could have condensed the writing a much and perhaps made specific actions undertook by the player matter more.

Rated 4[/spoiler]


[spoiler]Parser game.

A surreal escape adventure with quite a few things that don’t QUITE make sense, but I’m not sure they were meant (again - surreal) so I’m not holding that against it.

Writing could have been a bit better in some places but it was good enough and the ending was a bit of a surprise - but not THAT much (as I noticed a clue on my actual whereabouts just before).
Overall this was a mediocre experience, neither bad nor good.
Also: the game does also deserve some recognition for its hint system (which I did not actually use): supposedly you could have a sphere follow you along and signal when there were things left to do in a room.

Rated 5[/spoiler]


[spoiler]A web-based game requiring registering online to get a virtual job - something which initially put me off, but as it did not ask for my email or any other real detail this uneasiness was quickly dismissed.

The game was quite interesting right from the start - some questions are standard enough, but then you are also asked
‘If you were a bear, what type of bear would you be?’ (you can be a Gummy bear!)
and “What is the greatest number of civilian casualties you would be willing to accept to eliminate a dangerous terrorist?” (answer cannot be lower than 4)
You can type answers in, but you can also accept auto-corrections in the form of provided choices, and many are hilarious, like the previously mentioned Gummy bear.

Your actual job is counter-revolutionary espionage and surveillance by reading reports and flagging them if you think they are suspect enough.
However there are other (abstracted) activities such as potluck dinners with your colleagues and a short course in corporate culture, including a final test (randomly graded!)

I found the game fairly even-handed with its humour, as both corporate culture and the ‘revolutionaries’ (portrayed as confused and inept) are satirized.
In fact I found the humour good enough that I actually laughed a few times at the text (of which there was a lot), so I’m giving this points for that.

I played this only once to a negative (for me)ending, but it seems like it has decent replayability which is another point in its favor.

Rated 7[/spoiler]


[spoiler]This choice-based game felt more like a proof-of-concept than a complete IF, but the concept was interesting enough (and it has two game modes!) that I’m giving it points even if I did not really enjoy it.

Rate 5[/spoiler]


[spoiler]Somewhat confusing, fairly surreal.

Starts with compiling a form - which I think did not end up actually making much of a difference -
and then I found myself visiting some rooms that did not make a lot of sense.
At one point I did not know if there was a bug or not - twine code/tags displayed openly and I thought it might. And yes, that is playing the updated version.
Can’t really give this a high rating, however the atmosphere in some parts was interesting so I am not going to call this terrible.

Rated 4[/spoiler]


[spoiler]The first thing I see when I start this ChoiceScript game is the option to turn the ‘stress mode’ on, which will show me the effect of my choices on the PC stats.

This was a good option to have, so I give the game points for that.
I did not turn it on the first playthrough - though I was very tempted - but I did on later playthoughs.
On the first try, I ended up reaching an unpleasant ending, but eventually, focusing on Diplomacy instead of brute force and violence, I got a better finale.

The writing was alright, but perhaps on the long side considering how many choices you get.
The thing is, I’m not a fan of time travel stories (in fact, I have a mild dislike for the subject matter), so I could not enjoy this much. Still, it’s a competent work.

Rated 6[/spoiler]


[spoiler]I was suprised by this game using the Unity player - it might as well have used Twine.
As for the playing itself, it was mildly amusing in a few points, thanks to its nonsense humour and premise, but nothing exceptional.
Moderately entertaining.

Rated 5[/spoiler]

[spoiler]I think the only change in the updated version was a note at the end saying this wasn’t a bug.

Also, if it was only somewhat confusing you may be way ahead of everyone else.[/spoiler]

I read the note in the update differently: it made me think that the author meant that the previous version had a bug which had been fixed, but that the bug was still there. So I was completely wrong.
As for the ‘somewhat’, that was a bit of an understatement, but while things were very weird, it was clear from the start they were going to be so it wasn’t completely out of the blue.
In hindsight, I think I might drop this to a 3 since there’s being surreal by playing with the player’s perceptions and there’s being confusing for the sake of it.


[spoiler]A parser IF with lots of purple prose - which I actually enjoy, in moderation - including the memorable ‘You penetrate her aura’.
I liked the references to the culture and music of the time and place the game is set in, 70s Italy.

Actual playing was ok and most of the actions I was required to perform felt natural after thinking a bit, but since much of this took the form of flashbacks where the character has to remember things they already did, it would have made sense to provide emore explicit hints.

I did use the walkthrough at one point, and I did not open the bathroom the cabinet which, from what I understand, is an optional puzzle which might help understand the character’s background. Which is is fairly hazy really.

However I appreciated that the game had 7 endings (even if they were so small and not clearly explained) and warned me twice to save before continuing, however.

All things considered it was a pleasant experience, though it could have been better.
Rated 6[/spoiler]


[spoiler]So I’m some sort of sysadmin / ‘program psychotherapeut’ (quoting the game, I think?) who has to decide how to handle programs by selecting from a limited choice of options.

Perhaps because I’m not fan of sci-fi, but I did not really ‘get’ this and so I found myself mostly doing things randomly.

I simply could not understand the logic I was meant to use when regulating programs, other than that I was supposed to avoid using too much any specific method (and also, disconnecting).
To be fair the game obviously attempted to give me some hints through the NPC, but I did not find them too helpful.
The one time I got a good ending (I consider it a good ending, even if the game tries to make it sound neutral-ish), I did not understand why. So this wasn’t really a pleasant experience, but it might have been my fault.

Rated 4[/spoiler]


[spoiler]This is a parser game with strong atmosphere (the sound helped), good writing, and some feelies which also provide hints and list the 4 possible game endings.

However, there were some annoying things, mainly the limited inventory capacity and how easy I found it easy to get stuck - at one point I found myself in a dark room which apparently had no exit - ‘exit’ and ‘leave’ did nothing, but there was no mention of actually being locked in by some outside forc.

In the end I decided to give this a positive rating, even if I did play it too throughly and did not actually reach any non-basic ending. It’s not great, but it’s solid and again, I liked the atmosphere.

Rated 6[/spoiler]


[spoiler]Odd game, which made me go for the walkthrough early.

It was obvious from the start me this was about wordplay, but I thought it would be anagrams rather than what it actually was, so I started off the wrong foot.

The game walkthrough itself describes it as ‘stark and barren’, and I think it’s quite a fitting description.

Anyway: while the wordplay was very advanced and the author put a good amount of work into it and I’m sure someone out there will enjoy this, I really did not find this to my liking - word games can be fun, but this was no Counterfeit Monkey - it felt more like a puzzle container than a game proper.

Rated 4[/spoiler]