Featuring adorable art by @sophia!
Digital doodle of a grey rat with a pink bow on its head sitting on the grass next to a wooden sign that reads “Tabitha’s Corner”.
This is the first IFComp I’ve borne witness to, so I’m excited to participate and am planning to post short reviews (or at least miscellaneous thoughts) on the games I play here!
Edit: Adding that I’m avoiding playing games that don’t interest me or that I don’t think I’ll like—am unashamedly starting with the ones that appeal to me most. Aside from the ones I tested, that is, which are:
- Dr Ludwig and the Devil
- Gestures Towards Divinity
- Xanthippe’s Last Night with Socrates
- Bright Brave Knight Knave
- Bali B&B
Ah, I did the underlying UI coding, so that’s on me; good point.
I teach older people how to use technology as part of my day job and I can tell you that this game felt like a high-speed car chase compared to most of my sessions!
Haha very fair, I guess this proves that I could not do your job!
To be fully honest, I’m not sure I can either
Quick thoughts on a few short games today:
The Whale's Keeper
- Unique setting
- Surreal, spooky atmosphere
- Friendship with Jonah
- Writing clunky at times
- “Play online” interface also felt clunky (and the chat app setup was a big vibe mismatch with the story for me)
- Emphasis on level of sanity (of both the PC and Jonah) made me uncomfy
Amnesia plotline/backstory reveal (felt a bit cliche)
- Level of interactivity & amount of choices
- Haunting seaside mood
- Music as a throughline
- Multiple possible endings
- The way it explored grief—not novel but still moving
- Writing could use a final polish pass
- Some confusion re: ship descriptions (a ladder on the exterior is dusty?)
- The sad, plaintive mood
- Evocative portrait of a desperate man
- Writing was a bit rough at times
Although I obviously can’t speak for All Hands’ writer, I think the ladder bit was a hint at the nature of the ship. Spooky moment. Things outdoors can definitely be dusty! That was my interpretation anyway.
Thank you for playing and rating.
I thought the ship had recently been sailing, though? But maybe I misread/misunderstood something!
To Sea in a Sieve
No proper review of this one, but I wanted to share my transcript, which will reveal how much I struggled. I had to guess-the-verb my way through the game, and at one point asked someone who’d already played for help because I was completely stumped (and the in-game hints didn’t have anything for that particular situation). I made some progress on my own but also turned to the in-game hints quite a bit. In retrospect, I could see how the things I got stuck on were clued—I think I just haven’t played enough puzzley parser IF and wasn’t expecting to have to be as clever as the game required. So I definitely think this is a case of “it’s not the game, it’s me!” Hopefully my transcript can still prove useful to the author (there were a few small implementation errors that I’m sure would be easy to fix). The writing was excellent, and I enjoyed the helpful octopus and the talking plant!
To Sea in a Sieve_TO script.txt (160.9 KB)
Death on the Stormrider
No proper review of this one either—I haven’t managed to finish, as it’s another puzzley parser that I’m struggling with. I like the idea and am very impressed by the NPC movement, but even with the hints my brain is just not clicking with the puzzles, so I’m stopping for now. Transcript attached!
Death on the Stormrider_script.txt (218.0 KB)
Thank you so much for the review, and I’m very happy to hear that you enjoyed the game!
You have a lot of very insightful feedback and suggestions that I’ll definitely keep in mind for an eventual post-comp release.
Some of them are features I never even considered (I especially love the option to remember your previous name, that’s brilliant), while others echo elements that I had toyed with in the design process but felt unsure about pursuing further. Now I feel like I have new motivation to revisit and improve them!
Thanks a lot for pointing out that bug as well – the values for that variable check were indeed totally wrong!
(And I did wonder if I made the magic word achievements a little too hard to get… I’m sorry about that )
I suddenly had an inkling, and it got me the “OTHER Magic Word” achievement.
Ooh, would you mind letting me know what you did?
If you’d like some hints:
The magic word only has one solution, and is a reference to another game.
The OTHER magic word has a few possible triggers, and they’re all more commonplace/mundane.
Both can only be obtained in one specific text entry field.
It’s the same one, so unfortunately you can’t get both achievements in the same playthrough!
(More clues/solutions can also be found in the walkthrough file!)
Ahh, I have an idea now—thanks! (I also forgot that there’s a walkthrough!) And I’m really glad my review was helpful. Thank you for making and sharing this game!