Reviews by WidowDido

if comp 2020

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Stuff of Legend, by Lance Campbell

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful:
Light, playful, entertaining, October 5, 2020
by WidowDido (Northern California)
Related reviews: if comp 2020

A nice parser game with no obvious flaws or bugs on my first playthrough. Probably very good for a newcomer to IF: only about a dozen rooms, not too many items, well-defined goals, and an Invisiclues style hint system if necessary.

For anyone looking for a solid, light-hearted game with a handful of pretty simple puzzles and a bit of humor, there are many worse ways to spend an evening. The interactions between the PC and the NPCs--a village idiot and the family he rents a "room" from--are cute and well written. The first couple puzzles involving animals are not all that challenging, but the responses detailing what the PC is thinking as he solves the puzzles is great.

I wouldn't say the game was exceptional, but the end game does provide a "Did You Try?" list with enough things for me to replay.

A solid IF Comp 2020 entry. Given the tone and genre, it's hard to think of any complaints.


Sonder Snippets, by Sana

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
Structurally interesting narrative, October 5, 2020
by WidowDido (Northern California)
Related reviews: if comp 2020

From a number of different beginnings, the player eventually hears one or more stories from Dadi--a grandmotherly character who through her language and storytelling maintains a link to a fading tradition.

I thought the structure of this narrative was pretty interesting. (Spoiler - click to show)I believe essentially the same stories of Dadi are available regardless of any choices made in the first part of the piece. The game seems to be more about choosing a beginning than the ending.

I found some fault with the prose style, but the author has a good grasp on addressing some significant ideas in an interesting narrative structure. By continuing to write, workshopping, and editing, I imagine the author will put out works of increasing quality.


Amazing Quest, by Nick Montfort

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful:
likely a critique or satire on conventions in retro-gaming, October 5, 2020
by WidowDido (Northern California)
Related reviews: if comp 2020

Written for the Commodore in 2020, the game seems to be a joke or criticism on world-building, marketing, and player/designer expectations in games, esp. games of that era.

I think the nature of the game requires reading the bundled documentation before play. So don't ignore this for the full gaming experience.

The player controls a ship on its way home, able to make y/n decisions on its attempt to reach home safely.

(Spoiler - click to show)The Y/N options seem to be calculated based on probability or are random. You can get two different responses by answering Y to the same question, or you can get the same response for a Y then a N.

The documentation states the player will enjoy the immersive world by making such weighty decisions. Yet, it is more like pressing a button that is hooked up to nothing. I played through 4 times: mixing y/n, then all Y and then all N. No discernible difference each time.


If one desires to see how a short game and its promotional material can parody the activity of gaming (or, perhaps more narrowly, a genre/era of gaming), then go ahead and give this ten minutes.


#VanLife, by Victoria

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
Slightly Confusing Educational Game, October 5, 2020
by WidowDido (Northern California)
Related reviews: if comp 2020

Presumably an educational game about teaching simple math. On that front, I'm not sure of its success--as the game (at least on its simplest mode) repeats the same questions numerous times.

There is some information on electricity and solar arrays which will allow the player to answer some practical math questions. But I found the instructions rather unclear on how to "optimize" the array. (Spoiler - click to show)Playing it by ear and just assuming bigger is better seemed to work.

Because events are randomized, I'm not sure if a winning state is possible on any given playthrough. (Spoiler - click to show)Because of the %-mood loss is so great for going a night without using a heater, I never managed to survive a game if I was not able to purchase or review a heater before winter.

I won by (Spoiler - click to show)buying a lot of new batteries at least once during each winter. I am doubtful if this is what the takeaway should be for a game trying to encourage a minimalist living.



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