Reviews by Max Fog

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Codex Crusade, by leechykeen

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
Crazy Cats, (al)Chemy Combining Coffee Creatively, July 23, 2024

This was a strange thing to experience! It’s about a humble librarian’s assistant’s intern finding a strange and special book. Much of the game is in a weird cafeteria… at the bottom of the library? With alchemy and … fight scenes. Against an elevator bouncer called Jorge.

There are some fun bits, including alchemy, but there were bugs as well. After playing through multiple fight scenes with Jorge and fainting every time, I woke up to no text on the screen. Just a status bar and background image. And no way to get out.

Also, if you’re doing alchemy but are only holding one ingredient, once you’ve placed in that ingredient you are stuck in a forever loop you can’t escape.

I would play through any sequels that are made. It’s actually a fairly fun game, where background images actually are fairly good and sound effects (although weird) actually contribute (I don’t often play with sound, but of the ones I have played with, I think only DOL-OS is better for me).

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1 4 the $, by Charm Cochran

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful:
Game 1 in my list, and I'm all 4 it, July 22, 2024

What a strong start to the competition! I am personally quite a fan of grotesque and dark subjects, but this one portrayed it very cleverly. I liked the general atmosphere of what is going on, and the mold really works well.

I adored the You will be loved (I think it was?) message, this chanting feeling, this overthrow, and the game’s flow worked well. I didn’t realise I really had any choices, it felt like a great flow. Also positive because I got the ending where I stand on the building and the spores take me over, which is a really good ending.

One thing that could have been a little better was the actual online bit. Although it was very tight and I understood exactly what was happening, I wanted that part of the story to develop a little longer in each story.

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Sunburst Contamination, by Johan Berntsson and Fredrik Ramsberg

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful:
Sad to say it wasn't for me, July 16, 2024

This is an old 1988 basic game ported to Z-machine. It has a simple plot of you trying to … Well, it wasn’t entirely clear from what I played. You have to save your crew from contamination? It has some good puzzles, such as the videogame one. However, as it does resemble a Scott Adams game, there are many parsing issues, and backspace doesn’t work, instead outputting what I assume is a space. Which confused me, but it didn’t affect me largely enough at all.

There was parsing problems, such as what seems to me as no way to turn on and off things. I tried TURN ON FLASHLIGHT, which responded “What’s the use of turning that?” So I tried ACTIVATE FLASHLIGHT. It didn’t understand. So I attempted TURN ON LIGHT, which responded again with “What’s the use of turning that?” Then I tried TURN FLASHLIGHT. Same thing. Then, finally I tried TURN HHH, and I was still given “What’s the use of turning that?” Which was confusing, since every other verb I tried it would go something like “What in space is on flashlight?” If I typed X ON FLASHLIGHT.

As well as this, a fountain and pond that are the main attraction and take up the most space in a room description are not implemented at all, yet some benches which take up half a sentence yet are vital to the game are implemented.

I did spend a lot of time trying to talk to something that was not implemented, and then I got it after about 15 different failed attempts.

Overall, there were some problems. Many directly listed objects weren’t implemented, and I couldn’t get very far into the game. If the game changes halfway through, I couldn’t get there because I spent so long walking around and trying different things.

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Your World According to a Single Word, by Kastel

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
Reminds me of Lawrence of Arabia for no reason whatsoever, July 13, 2024

The game’s flow is interesting and yet captivating, picking between single-choices with massive texts of screen before them, and ones with objects and a lot of choices. Especially the clothes drawer. I liked the clothes drawer. It really made me feel like the word was really new to this world: didn’t know which parts to focus on and remember, instead remembering the things we take for granted - the vital stuff - and forgetting or undescribing the stuff humans find special. I found that clever.

The world’s on some things really were fascinating, such as the images (considering it is text), and I think the concept and delivery was great. However, the end bit with the outro (from the comments on OS to the end) dragged on a little too long, which could have been intended, but didn’t feel it.

Glad I played it though.

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WWII Elevator Escape, by Kenneth Pedersen

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful:
Time-limited and tight puzzles, April 7, 2024

This game was a light little puzzle about escaping a building. The puzzles were short and time-limited, and it felt a few times like I had done everything right, before realising that I hadn't - but when I realised what i had to do, it felt good (a nice puzzle, the elevator one).

Unfortunately, i got stuck at certain points, and the hints were no help. They also took up time in the game, which was very annoying because then I couldn't get the next hint (undoing removes it). And I found it extra annoying was when I tried to CUT THE WIRE WITH THE CLIPPERS, and it didn't work. I was stumped there for quite some time.

Overall, a mixed feelings game with some nice puzzles and timing but badly implemented parts. I would recommend playing it, either way.

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Milliways: the Restaurant at the End of the Universe, by Max Fog

From the Author


For context on why this game is what it is: (Spoiler - click to show)first effort by a 13 year old in time span of one year using ZIL (undocumented and unused since Infocom times), with multiple changes to the parser on a level that had truly never been documented or properly tinkered with before, also having to learn C++ in the process to rewrite the compiler. There's countless more things. Oh, yes it was larger than the original H2G2 game, and also trying to follow in the footsteps of 1) Infocom, the greatest IF company of all time, no doubt, and 2) in the footsteps of Douglas Adams, possibly one of the clever and funny writers of all time.

A bit much for a first, no?

(Some more ranting below...)
(Spoiler - click to show)Of course it wasn't going to be perfect. It was a cruel game (though purposefully), and many puzzles were obscure. The writing wasn't great. And worst of all: the bugs. Oh, the bugs scuttled across the floor in huge quantities, but that was during the competition, where it place 48th out of 75. Now the bugs are swept away, the writing has been fixed, and the reviews have not been updated. I, for one, would certainly give it five stars because that is likely the most ambitious game in the history of IF. But I don't want to be annoying or boastful or whiny, which this probably seems. So 4 is good!


Dr Ludwig and the Devil, by SV Linwood

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful:
HA HA HA!! Another great game to test on!, April 2, 2024
by Max Fog
Related reviews: IFComp 2023

Everything was watertight. Even more so than the Devil’s contract. There were very little mistakes (other than a missing full stop for the appropriate “That was not in my sight!”). Other than that, everything felt perfectly designed and created, and nothing was missing. Puzzles clever, descriptions funny and consistent. If only it were longer!

Song: Certainly My Iron Lung. The former has that gothic ‘creepiness’ that it’s basing everything off, also with the lyrics quite “I’ll show them all!” (read the meaning behind the song to kind of understand). (Definitely a top song & top game.)

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how do i love you?, by Sophia de Augustine

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
A little too close to home, not really though, April 1, 2024

Okay. I have to disagree with my own title for this review. It's not even close to home for me. I've never dated anyone. I can't say I've had that kind of argument. So no it isn't close to home.

But I know it is the kind of thing that will probably happen to me one day. I won't go into too much detail because that's personal and also insensitive, as I'm aware I can be without knowing. I am very close to removing this part of the review anyway.

This game loaded the UI in a way that felt familiar and also very clever. Easy to understand, and not hard to read or anything.

Now onto the subject matter. The game is based in the idea of a breakup. But a hard one. There are no choices but it felt right for the style of game. Although I'm very certain much of this was very very closely based off of real chats, I have to say it's very realistic and it's really clever. The breakup was emotional to me, and nothing was ever loose or difficult to use or boring. Everything perfect - which, sure, isn't how real life works, but in this gane there is no waiting that you want to be doing.

Though it was certainly understandable matter and some sharp words were brought from the offending side, nobody was not understood. Each person in the whole forum had a personality. Each person had their own way of expressing things and reacted differently to events. Nobody felt like they had no reason for anything that they said (although some people had much less justification than others, it seems). I know this all sounds redundant since most of it is probably an edited version of what really happened, I can't stress enough how much I felt with this one.

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stomping grounds, by Sophia de Augustine

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
A dedication to difficult times, and their passing, April 1, 2024

The writing of this game was superb. I want to put it out there, before I can say anything else.

Now, I'm not gifted at writing reviews in any shape or form, so apologies if this is blunt, but intricate details are not something I know how to use, unless in song lyrics or the design of a game.

I was at first very interested in the calendar layout of the game. I, however, would have liked to see more markings of those I have read, and those left to be read. I personally am not a fan of listing things like those to be read in that order. Which is funny, because I like lists. A lot.
But here, maybe even a different colour marker for clicked links would have been nice.

As well as this, it would have been nice to have some additional things occur every seventh page you read or so, to shake it up a little. Although I loved the writing and found myself drawn by the beauty of it, I could not help but be distanced from it by the sheer number of entries, all listed up neatly and as if ready to textdump. I know it was meant to be designed to be read in small goes, but i didn't get that sense from it. It felt like a bit overwhelming. Diary entries that are found later, for example?

Overall, however, I found it very strong with the writing, sparse in UI (although pretty and suitable for the idea), and maybe a little more complexity to make it an easier read. The meaning was obscure but vaguely present, subtle reminders you were not alone. I felt cold and shivery (the environment you described yourself as being in felt cold to me, which I could certainly feel), and yet nice and cozy.

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The Gift of What You Notice More, by Xavid and Zan

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful:
I hope I noticed everything, because I wish there was more, April 1, 2024
by Max Fog
Related reviews: IFComp 2023

A game about a break up. With interesting animals reflecting your thoughts. A beautiful piece, with nice writing. This game has brought me to the final conclusion that Twine games can also be awesome!

Song: Faust Arp. Short but beautifully written.

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