Reviews by Angharade

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View this member's reviews by tag: IF COMP 2017 short Young Adult
1-7 of 7

The Wizard Sniffer, by Buster Hudson

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful:
Utterly delightful- initially. not for beginners, November 18, 2017
by Angharade
Related reviews: IF COMP 2017

The writing was phenomenal. Hilarious, cadenced, and consistently clever. I felt sympathetic for the other characters, and was easily put into character. The limited parser was actually helpful in reminding one of one's own situation: namely, being a pig.

The first half of the game was enchanting, but after a while, it became exhausting trying to guess what the author was thinking. The fleas (hints) were certainly helpful, but it was really kind of just--limited. There are certainly games which are very linear in fashion, and that works for some people. For me, I do prefer that the puzzles aren't quite as repetitive or stacked.

I believe that more proficient game players than I will perhaps have a higher patience level with the game, and will enjoy the difficulty, and not mind being so patient. I suppose for me it began to feel tedious, even as I thoroughly was enjoying the character, the plot, and the unique writing and play on tropes. Perhaps a better review of this is--it may seem like a beginner game, but it's not. The hints are fun, but do not entirely remedy the tiring aspects (e.g. running in circles).

I did not finish the game. I came close to the end, but ended up looking at the walkthrough and feeling daunted and frustrated by the series of steps necessary. Again, I'm a novice player--a more experienced player might not feel this way. I hope to play more games by the author, and amongst the games I'm playing for the IF 2017 competition, it stands head and shoulders above the rest, simply in terms of writing quality.

Birdland, by Brendan Patrick Hennessy

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful:
YA Fiction for all ages, October 25, 2017
by Angharade
Related reviews: Young Adult

This is the first time I have enjoyed a twine-based game to the same degree as a parser game. The way the character's mood affected the outcomes was magnificent, unique and made me feel in control, even when I wasn't. The writing was sublime. I was not expecting to get so invested in the story, but the gameplay was so special and the underlying story so delicious, I had to keep going.

Minor criticisms: the romance between two of the characters felt lackluster at best. There was no real depiction of why these two would connect. (Spoiler - click to show)Bell is a frustrating humblebrag type, and the protagonist seems to be struggling with depression, which I really resonated with. However, the romance seemed forced, with little dialogue resembling connectivity.

I will say that the humor in this is absolutely wonderful for all, of any age, and that I thoroughly enjoyed the plot and story line. I stayed with it primarily for the dry wit. The portrait illustrations were an added plus.

Photopia, by Adam Cadre

3 of 7 people found the following review helpful:
sentimental drivel, poor writing, but brilliant use of the medium, October 24, 2017

I really wanted to enjoy this. As far as I understand it, the game was fairly groundbreaking use of the medium at the time. As it stands now, I would not recommend this piece to anyone I would want to get interested in interactive fiction. The writing is genuinely bad, the overall theme of the story feels like someone beating you over the head with cheap emotional shots, and it isn't very interactive at all- text heavy and slow to move into anything resembling action. I have trouble understanding why so many have resonated with this piece, why there's a sense of reverence around it. I have a feeling it's related to timing on my part-and I don't wish to slam anyone who related to or was moved by the piece--I just can't see it.

The interwoven nature of the game is brilliant. I'm sure it is, because everyone has said so. But in my opinion, this is a really good example of telling, not showing.

Cadre's other works are breathtaking, so I will say that I feel I must be missing something-- the rave reviews regarding this work make me want to understand the appeal.

Salt, by Gareth Damian Martin

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful:
Meditative IF Therapy, October 18, 2017
by Angharade
Related reviews: IF COMP 2017

This felt like swimming. It felt like being alive. I flickered with the screen.

It's not a puzzle to solve, exactly. If you are looking for a parser based "traditional" IF game, look elsewhere. This is more of a thought experiment, or maybe a spirit journey.

I see this game as being similar in feel to For a Change by Dan Schmidt, if only in the minimalist yet evocative writing. It was paced in a way that kept me. I experienced this fully immersed in the experience, and I arrived at the end changed, a different being.

Without giving too much away about the process, I will say that it is in some senses more of a meditative exercise or a fully immersive poem than a game to "win" or lose. This in no way detracts from the fact that this is outstanding, brilliant, and something I will be recommending for clients I work with as part of art or play therapy.

Minimalism that works--my favorite thing.

May speak to some on a more personal level than others. Resonating, and clear as a bell.

9:05, by Adam Cadre

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful:
Brilliant, Short, and Effective, October 16, 2017
by Angharade
Related reviews: short

The writing was clever and direct. The slight details were teases- and enjoyable even at the very beginning. I had a ton of fun with a relatively simple concept. I think this is a fantastic game to help someone understand interactive fiction, or see the appeal, without getting bogged down with too much writing or guessing the author's intentions. I really liked this. A unique jaunt in the slice of life genre.

Eat Me, by Chandler Groover

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful:
Gloriously Grotesque Parable on Gluttony, October 4, 2017
by Angharade
Related reviews: IF COMP 2017

This was so much fun.

I was utterly invested in the story. It was laugh out loud, over the top, and sometimes horrifying. I saw it all happen. I tasted it. I got hungry and had to take breaks to eat pasta, but then I was eating things in the game--that--I never--thought----

This was a visual masterpiece, a chef's horror and wet dream at the same time.

All results thought out, hints were helpful. I will say that I think the ending had a higher potential for depth than was carried out--but overall I felt almost fully satiated. My brain still craves eating a castle door made of devil's food cake, but alas, we can't always get what we want.

Brilliant piece, brilliant writing.

For a Change, by Dan Schmidt

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful:
Therapeutic Minimalism in a Surreal World , October 2, 2017

One of the most unusual aspects of this game is that it gives you just enough detail to create a world full of startling clarity--because you're imagining it. If you are not someone who thinks in images, or who is easily able to exist in an alternate word with alternate world usage (see what I did there) then this game will be fairly difficult.

As it was, it was still a bit difficult for me, because I am new to the genre--that being said, it was the perfect game to draw me in. This kind of surrealism, subtle reference to famous philosophers, and unusual syntax made for a therapeutic game play at once both frustrating and delicate, stunning and hopeful.

The crescendo at the end, how the game seemed to speed up on me, had me literally yelling out loud gleefully, completely immersed. It felt like I had gone on some kind of spiritual path, some type of walkabout, maybe just in my mind--it was really profound. I find myself very interested in how games like this could be used for therapeutic purposes--as I experienced the game to be deeply personal yet removed enough to be safe--and nonspecific enough to let the player fill in their own metaphors.

Honestly, no real words of criticism from this newcomer--perhaps just--this game will really, really work for some people, and it really won't for others who are more linear in thinking. I had to use some hints to finish it, but it was well worth it. Grateful for the experience.

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