Reviews by Danielle

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Fragile Shells, by Stephen Granade

14 of 14 people found the following review helpful:
Escape-the-Room artists: this is your dream come true, April 10, 2010
by Danielle (The Wild West)
Related reviews: short games

Somewhere out there is a Platonic Ideal of the "Escape the Room" game genre. In my opinion, FRAGILE SHELLS comes remarkably close.

Most Escape the Room (EtR) games have a simple premise: there is a room full of stuff, and you must escape it. Most I've seen are graphical, nearly all have annoying codes and machines that make little logical sense, a few have interesting twists, and even fewer have any emotional motivation to escape provided rooms.

FRAGILE SHELLS gives me some things I've wanted in the genre (but never realized were missing): a compelling story behind the EtR setup, a subtle and intense feeling of danger, and puzzles that don't require me to write down stupid codes and patterns. Tapping into the emotional motivation behind escaping, though--that is where this game shines for me.

Also helpful: the obstacles you encounter (and how you solve them) make sense, so long as you closely examine everything. Even so, the hints are well-implemented, doling out just enough info to get your brain kick-started.

It's not the best IF game ever (I ran into a few implementation problems, and the technical aspects of the story still aren't crystal clear to me), but it's one of the best of the EtR genre.

Beta Tester, by Darren Ingram

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful:
Fun first room; falls apart in second half., March 3, 2010
by Danielle (The Wild West)
Related reviews: short games

Beta Tester is good for a couple laughs here and there. The hamster in the first room is probably worth the download. But once you're past the first room, the game falls apart.

I had a hard time figuring out what the objectives were in the second room--in one case, I found the solution to a puzzle in another room without being aware that a puzzle existed, while in another area, an objective is present, but I can't figure out any way to accomplish it. The funny writing helps delay the sting, but can't eliminate it altogether.

I eventually gave up. When objectives are so ill-defined that I can't figure out what to do, it's time to move on to a work that's had, (say it with me, now!) better beta-testing.

Snowquest, by Eric Eve

6 of 8 people found the following review helpful:
Great for an evening, just don't expect anything too deep., March 3, 2010
by Danielle (The Wild West)
Related reviews: short games

Snowquest is a competent work with a little extra depth than your usual short game. The first half of the game has a great sense of setting; the first scenes especially have a sense of peril to them. It uses the (Spoiler - click to show)"it was only a dream" trope a number of times, but uses the dreamlike atmosphere in a way that keeps the scenario interesting, rather than feeling like a cop-out. I especially liked (Spoiler - click to show)the scene where you discover yourself in the downed plane.

The game changes dramatically during the second half. While the elements of the first half don't match up to the second half's parts one-to-one, I still enjoyed the dream logic going on, even though the ending was forgettable.

An enjoyable way to spend your night. Not a perfect work (others have noted problems with implementation), but better than most reruns.

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