A series of awkward guess-the-verb puzzles punctuated by amusing, well-written cutscenes. A walkthrough would make this into a light read. Only recommended if you are willing to guess the verb in return for a story about a High School boy who wants his peers to think he is hardcore.
A cute, graceful post-apocalyptic mute gay cowboy romance shooter. The game flows smoothly through a series of pleasantly campy shooting puzzles in which your only options are to shoot and take cover. This works better than one might think; the lack of obstruction provides very mild challenges, but does not distract from solid writing that sparkles with beautiful flourishes. Don't expect length or difficulty - this is worth a couple of plays to see and do everything, but it could be drained dry in half an hour. Compares favorably to the sillier and slightly more difficult Attack of the Yeti Robot Zombies.
This is not really IF (in the sense of an adventure or story) but rather an inversion of the usual cave crawl into a single, elaborately coded dungeon design puzzle with some droll atmospheric text.
I found the game slightly marred by a quirky interface and a lack of systematicity in the puzzle, which seemed to demand a large number of trial-and-error restarts to reach the "magic" configuration to end the game. As such, this might have been stronger if the player had been exposed to a more logical system over a series of stages.
However, it is perfectly good for an hour or so of light entertainment as-is, just don't expect anything other than a find-the-configuration puzzle.
Galatea is an intricately detailed work of high concept. I wanted to like it - I can't get enough NPC interaction, and this has somehow acquired a reputation as the best NPC out there. Despite this, I found this to be deeply flawed and ultimately unsatisfying, both as a character and as a work of IF.
There is really nothing to interact with except for Galatea herself. Her presentation as an animate statue is a clever vehicle for metatextual commentary, but it is also a bit of Turing-camouflage. This is just fine; it comes with the territory. But I found that it gave me little motivation to interact with Galatea except to test her repertoire and see what the fuss was about. Unfortunately, I felt that my options were limited (once I had guessed that they were possible) and that Galatea's repertoire - though larger than perhaps any other NPC I have encountered in a game - often felt canned.
That may be why I began to find it more satisfying to treat the whole thing as a story than to talk to Galatea as such. So I began to look for interesting endings. This was tedious because it required me to explore an apparently tractless space of possible conversations with few-to-no systematic clues. And this tedium was amplified by the amount of repetitive manipulation required to move Galatea's meters around to get into new combinations. These issues might have been addressed by a shallower conversation-tree, requiring fewer moves to get to endings, or by more systematic relationships between available actions and where they sent the game; either one amounts to handing over more control over where the game goes in the end. But this is also contrary to what I've gathered to be the basic philosophy of the game - to be deep and unpredictable, not to yield up all the endings. Beyond relatively unimportant bits like poor information on my options, I think it is this mismatch which made my response to Galatea so tepid.
Nonetheless, I doubt this would have become a factor if I had not felt that the process of talking with Galatea was only instrumentally worthwhile, as a way of getting paths through a game. Context - to be specific, the lack of it - may be part of that problem. I felt a nearly equivalent impact from Bob in She's Got a Thing for Spring even though his "mind" must be far smaller and less complex than Galatea's. Seen critically Bob is a largely unresponsive scriptoid, absent-minded and repetitive. But he has things he does, even if only in fiction; he lives somewhere, walks around, owns things, asks and offers, and speaks just enough of a social past to be a person rather than a a book. As a result, one is inclined to think that his mind is (or was). In the harsh spotlight, Galatea's glitches and her total absorption in her own memories make her more of an object than even a fictional and manufactured person.
By turns funny, affecting, and disturbing, this one-move game hits hard with the help of great writing, intense themes and unparalleled freedom.
This is head and shoulders above anything I have played in terms of the number of ways in which the player can logically and significantly affect the world. The necessary tradeoff is that there is only one decision to make, after which the game ends.
Aisle is outstanding on its own terms; if I had to name a flaw, I would say only that it can be hard to put the pieces that the game gives you together into a clear picture.