Reviews by Anthony Mueller

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Beet the Devil, by Carolyn VanEseltine

1 of 5 people found the following review helpful:
My favorite game from the 17th Annual Interactive Fiction Competition, May 20, 2012

This by far was the favorite game I played from the 17th Annual Interactive Fiction Competition.

The game is fairly large to complete especially to do so without hints and walkthroughs in the 2 hours allotted judging window. Perhaps this hurt the score somewhat with judges who may have been pressed for time? I took my time with the game and played it well over 2 hours and had the most satisfying experience.

Some of the puzzles were challenging, but well clued and I never remained stuck very long. Frustrated a couple of times, but upon coming back to the game, got through those areas -- isn't that the most satisfying type anyway?

The Dog who follows you around was simply delightful and essential to the completion of the game.

The game was well written, with excellent grammar and very highly polished.

I really enjoyed the outlook and tone of the game. A kind of cynical atmosphere, where hope yet remains alive.

I recommend playing this game at its own pace.

I think that this is an overlooked gem.

Taco Fiction, by Ryan Veeder

0 of 3 people found the following review helpful:
Neat game deserving of all of its awards., May 20, 2012

A medium sized game where you are left to score points in terms of cash robbed or stolen. At least that's where it starts off, but kind of turns into something else, but I'll leave that as a surprise.

Great attention to detail. Lots of great humor.

Creative puzzles. Nice NPC's with well written conversational dialogue.

There's a lot to like in this game.

You've Got a Stew Going!, by Ryan Veeder

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful:
Nice little game., May 20, 2012

A small but clever little game, where you are a mouse who needs to find ingredients for a stew. A kind of scavenger hunt.

Nice attention to detail and well polished. Nice humor and I loved the 9:05 reference.

The game is pretty easy. 6/6 here. To score one of the points, you have to be kind of cruel.

I got a big kick out of the dark humor and the slightly cruel edge to the game. Twisted, but in a very good way.

PataNoir, by Simon Christiansen

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful:
An inventive and well polished journey, May 18, 2012

I wasn't going to play this title, but decided to give it a shot. Playing around with Similes didn't appear to be too appealing to me at first, until I realized that these paths unlock and unfold like any other adventure where you need to pay close attention to your surroundings.

Some of the puzzles were pretty challenging, but I managed to finish the game without the walk-thru, but using the hints provided by the very thoughtful and inventive in-game hint system/(Spoiler - click to show)character. This character was called Wesson and I would have been stumped without his hints.

The game is very well polished and a very satisfying experience. While I would not recommend this game to new-comers of IF, I think that this game is overall well with checking out if you are tired of the same old cliches and puzzles.

Thumbs up here.

House of the Stalker, by Jason Clayton White

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful:
A slasher game that doesn't work well, December 2, 2010

I really liked the rooms and the atmosphere of the game. However, it just didn't work well.

When examining items, there seemed to be descriptions missing that would clue you in, to how the items worked. You can open certain things without knowing that they can be opened. You can take things, from one room and come back, and sometimes the item is still listed in the same room.

In addition, there are some non-standard verbs that are used to complete the game. I have some experience playing IF, but thought that some of the verbs would have been difficult to guess on my own. I also ran into a bug when I played where it asked "The pistol or the squirt gun?" I would answer squirt gun and it would loop back again asking what I wanted to squirt. When answered this, it came back to "The pistol or the squirt gun?" It got stuck in a infinite loop like this. This hindered me for completing and making progress in the game before I resorted to hints.

So, I tried to complete the game using the hint system, but was unable too. I must admit that I was frustrated at this point and simply tried the actions listed on the hints, but I must have did them in the wrong order. I would try to win the game only to be killed. I suppose I could try this game again, trying to figure out the proper order, but by this time, the game lost it's fun for me. I will wait for a walkthrough of the game to see what I missed.

The game could have used better cluing, so that you would know to do certain things when.

I really liked the concept of the game and atmosphere. I wanted to like it, but was disappointed by the bugs and inconsistency of the gameplay.

Square Circle, by Eric Eve

2 of 4 people found the following review helpful:
A truely interactive game, November 29, 2010

This Kafkaesque game had me totally immersed from start to finish with a great story that unfolds slowly. There's a high level of interactivity with all sorts of objects and everything is well described. Highly polished with great attention to detail. The story really opens up after solving one hard puzzle, which I had to use a hint for, because I never would have got it. However, this did not detract from my score. In addition, I really loved the conversations with the NPCs which added a lot to the story. Personally, I have re-kindled my interest in IF after playing Scott Adams adventures as a kid and thought that this was a brilliant work of art which really opened up my eyes to the extended creative possibilities of Interactive Fiction. If you're interested in Distopias, pure logic, Kafka, Orwell, or political science fiction, this is the game for you.

Doomed Xycanthus, by Eric Mayer

3 of 6 people found the following review helpful:
Interesting fantasy game, November 24, 2010

I found this game enjoyable, with a very nice story, but it was a little underdeveloped at times. For example: when examining items, there were tons of items listed that had no descriptions. However, if you skipped any description, you may have missed an important item. Also, the puzzles were very hard and I felt were under-clued. This game frustrated me to the point where I skimmed the walk-through after a couple of days worth of play. Saying all of this, I really liked the writing and the concept of the piece. If it were a little more polished, I would have given it 4 stars.

Attack of the Terror Tabby!!!, by Eric Mayer

0 of 2 people found the following review helpful:
Short but ingenious game, November 23, 2010

I really enjoyed this. It's small, but the game environment is really fun and humorous. I have recently been reviving my interest in IF, and was rewarded with a challenging game that was just challenging enough to keep the interests up very high. I think that the author did a great job of cluing in subtle text to keep the world really alive. tick tick tick.

King Tut's Tomb, by Greg Hassett

1 of 3 people found the following review helpful:
An old dungeon crawl., November 23, 2010

I recently played this game on a Commodore 64 emulator, for nostalgia reasons, since I had the game on an Commodore 64 when I was a kid. I read that Hassett wrote these games when he was 12 years old in 1979, so I think that it was a pretty good effort for his age. It's basically a maze with a very limited 2 word parser, however, there is some limited interaction with some random characters and the mazes work well. Good for when you feel up for a good treasure hunt. (Spoiler - click to show)I scored 175 out of 175 points, but do not know if there is a way to end the game without quitting or dying, because I was missing 15 bonus points out of the 32 bonus points, for the Commodore port, and wonder if there are some additional actions to be taken in the Tomb.

African Adventure, by Ralph Fullerton, Becky Fullerton, Carl Russell, Karen Russell

6 of 7 people found the following review helpful:
One of the worst games ever, November 19, 2010

I spent a number of hours on this one. The c64 version using an emulator. The navigation around the world is like one big maze where going East then West right away may take you to a completely different path than where you started. In addition, I found Dr. Livingston, but I could not get him or rescue him. I looked at a walk-trough and what I was typing should have worked, but there seem to be serious problems with the parser -- at least on the version I played. I spent way too much time on this out of nostalgia when I could have been playing something else.

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