After a few months of focusing entirely on my own IFComp entry, and then a few weeks of handling all the other real-world stuff that had accumulated during that time, I’m finally getting the chance to sit down and play the other entries for myself!
I’m certainly not going to get through all of them at this point, but there are a few that are at the top of my must-play list—I left Vambrace of Destiny just barely unfinished during testing, I really owe Assembly a play, and from what I’ve heard, Dr Ludwig and Honk are both very good and exactly the sort of game I like.
Are there any others that, in your expert opinions, I shouldn’t miss? My main criteria are:
I like parsers and puzzles
After some awful turns of luck in the past few weeks, I’m more interested in comedy than tragedy at the moment
I’m going to be playing these in bits and pieces when they fit in my schedule, so something the size of Milliways probably isn’t feasible (I’m too likely to forget vital details from the beginning before I reach the end)
But none of these is anywhere near a strict requirement. Choice-based games might not be my area of expertise but I still enjoy them, and I can appreciate some good emotional catharsis.
Based on your criteria? Dr Ludwig and the Devil, I think.
other parser games I’ve appreciated (there may be more, I haven’t had a lot of time to play, sadly) but don’t qualify:
I think LAKE Adventure is brilliant, but it’s not the right tone
How Prince Quisborne the Feckless Shook His Title has a light mood, but it’s massive.
I’ve only played about half of the games so far, but given your feedback…
To Sea in a Sieve is a brilliant puzzle-focused comedy game which I wouldn’t miss. It’s a little bit hard, but should be at your level.
Little Match Girl 4 is part of a continuity-lite series and can be hopped into. It has you travel to different worlds, each with its own upgrades that help open other worlds. Comedy based, with some other emotions mixed in.
I agree with Hong and Dr Ludwig already, so that’s good!
Assembly and Eat the Eldritch are both amusing parser games that aren’t too long. With both of them I had some moments of frustration with parser synonyms and figuring out what to do, but felt good overall.
Who Iced Mayor McFreeze has some sketchy implementation and undescribed stuff but is pretty funny and short!
There are some other good parser games that are mildly serious (like One King to Loot them All and your own entry), very serious (Gestures Towards Divinity) or dark (Beat Witch), or long (like The Witch).
Prince Quisborne is insanely long, but the prologue is easily completable and very high quality!
Edit: For choice-based games, Put Your Hand Inside the Puppet Head is the equivalent of a funny but difficult parser game with an inventory limit and autonomous enemies.
You might want to check out Trail Stash if you’ve liked Andrew Schultz’s other games.
How Prince Quisborne the Feckless Shook His Title is massive, but only a small part of it was intended for the comp. It’s like a prologue, doesn’t require really any mapping, and the tone is very light. I loved the puzzles in it, and it’s just a joy to read tbh. You can skip the long story text if you want and just have it summarized if you don’t feel like reading a ton before you get into the game. Took me an hour to complete the comp section, although it’s listed at two hours so it might take longer.
Based on your stated criteria, I would echo “Eat the Eldritch,” not on your current list.
I'm not sure if this breaches into untoward campaigning or not, certainly not my intent.
I don’t think it maps to your criteria AT ALL, but if you title a thread “Which Entries Should I Not Miss” I am honor-bound to at least mention “Gestures Toward Divinity.” Super strong parser implementation with some light parts, but for sure “well that was some light fun” not gonna be your takeaway.
So, I’m at about the halfway point, following my personal randomizer. I’ve only played 4 on your ‘recommended’ list! That seem right to you?