Reviews by Harry Coburn

View this member's profile

Show ratings only | both reviews and ratings
View this member's reviews by tag: absurd AIF games one-room shareware demo incomplete Speed-IF
Showing All | Show by Page

69,105 Keys, by David Welbourn

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful:
As it says on the tin, August 25, 2019
by Harry Coburn (Atlanta, GA)
Related reviews: one-room

A one-room puzzle with a single puzzle, but a rather interesting one. I liked the mechanic. Took less time to solve than I thought it would when I got into it.

Food Magic, by Paul Hughes, Caolan Madden, Rory Madden, Laura Hughes, and (with a little help from) Carl Muckenhoupt

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful:
A silly and violent game, August 25, 2019
by Harry Coburn (Atlanta, GA)
Related reviews: Speed-IF

It's a two-hour Speed-IF, so I don't expect huge amounts of implementation. A few brief puzzles and some unexpectedly violent actions necessary to win.

Captain Connie's Ejactor Seat, by Andrew Watt

0 of 2 people found the following review helpful:
Complete, but could be much better., June 18, 2018
by Harry Coburn (Atlanta, GA)
Related reviews: AIF games

This game was written for a game jam where the themes were space and sex. It lasts for about 10-20 minutes and is thoroughly pornographic and outside the mainstream to say the least. Tucking the rest of the review behind a spoiler tag for propriety.

(Spoiler - click to show)This is my first play of a pornographic game in Twine. The blurb of the game pretty much explains the story. A murderously sadistic female captain has been sexually assaulting her crew and killing those who orgasm. The PC, a female geologist, is the last remaining crew member and is forced to play her game.

The game is rather linear and the choices are obvious when they are an actual choice, orgasm or not. So the story is purely a masturbation vehicle for those who like orgasm denial stories with a (potential) side of snuff. That right there will probably make this game a no-go for most players.

Is it good? I thought the intro was the best bit. There was a strong sense of danger. At the start, I thought I would escape the Captain and then have to run through the ship to find a way to stop her.

I have to cut the game some slack because it was made for a time-limited game jam but the quality for me declined as the game progressed. It is a complete scenario, but good sex is really hard to write and, personally, this theme is not to my taste. I don't know how amenable IFDB is to putting erotica description tags on games to help people know the content before playing.

But I do have to applaud the use of Twine. Twine avoids a lot of the problems of parser-based AIF. Getting into that, however, would blow up this review even more than it already is.

Lime Ergot, by Caleb Wilson (as Rust Blight)

3 of 4 people found the following review helpful:
Excellent SpeedIF that plays with parser conventions, June 15, 2018
by Harry Coburn (Atlanta, GA)

SpeedIF is an interesting beast. Most have an interesting idea at their core but poor execution due to the time constraints. But then a lime-green gem like this comes along that feels coherent and complete. I rather enjoyed this game. Found two endings.

Cheer Up, by Sam Thursfield

2 of 4 people found the following review helpful:
SpeedIF about a captured fish, June 15, 2018
by Harry Coburn (Atlanta, GA)

SpeedIF, so expect the usual problems of default parser messages and limited implementation. You're a fish that gets captured and has to escape from a fish and chips shop. Unfortunately, I was unable to finish it. Descended into guess-the-verb for me.

SquirrelSimulator3000, by KittyEden

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful:
Simple and surreal inside joke game, June 15, 2018
by Harry Coburn (Atlanta, GA)

Very simple twine game about a podcaster getting forced to fight a squirrel. Multiple endings. Lots of profanity and senseless mayhem. Good for a giggle, but I wonder if there are inside jokes tucked away in here if I knew anything about the Tanis podcast.

Ecdysis, by Peter Nepstad

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
I wish for more implementation, August 14, 2015
by Harry Coburn (Atlanta, GA)

The core premise of Ecdysis is sound. It is tight Lovecraftian horror. However, it needs more implementation throughout to flesh it out. Too little implementation makes a game feel like a railroad or a visual novel.

In fact, this type of tight fiction would be great in Twine, although the important verb in the game would be a little bit tricky to implement.

Abusive Relationship Simulator, by porree

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
Not a game, but delivers the point, July 26, 2015
by Harry Coburn (Atlanta, GA)

Having been in an emotionally abusive relationship, albeit with the genders switched than this game, it delivers the point well. Not really a game, but not really meant to be.

Cards Against Buzzfeed, by Soda51

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful:
Not IF, but a neat way to use Twine, May 21, 2015
by Harry Coburn (Atlanta, GA)

Cards Against Buzzfeed uses Twine to generate random clickbait headlines that are used in a Cards Against Humanity-like game. It's not IF in the standard senses of the term, but I think with the right crowd this is an interesting party game.

The Northnorth Passage., by Caleb Wilson (as Snowball Ice)

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
Interesting premise, January 18, 2015
by Harry Coburn (Atlanta, GA)

I enjoyed the tension in the game, which seems strange for a game where if you do anything except go north you'll activate the family curse. Each section has a wealth of things that a normal IF player would be dying to examine and play with, but you cannot. It's a short "game" and worth the few minutes.

Apparently there is a point you can score too, but I'm not sure if you can or not.

DOUCHEBAG -- An Existential Adventure, by Unattributed

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful:
Needs a tester, January 18, 2015
by Harry Coburn (Atlanta, GA)

Unfortunately, I could not get very far into this game due to some poor verb implementations. This game could really use some thorough going-over by a beta tester or two. I got stopped cold by the bartender puzzle:

(Spoiler - click to show)I had the crumpled ten-dollar bill from kicking the dog and entered the bar. I knew I couldn't pay for a martini by using my card from previous tries. I sat at the stool and tried "order martini". The bartender ask for payment. The following commands all failed:

pay bartender
pay bartender with bill
pay bartender with ten-dollar bill
show bartender the ten-dollar bill
give bartender the ten-dollar bill
give the ten-dollar bill to bartender
pay for martini
pay for martini with ten-dollar bill
put bill on bar (it gets put on the bar, if you're not carrying the straw, but the bartender ignores it.)

There are also disambiguation errors, door troubles, and missing descriptions. I'm interested in playing more, since it's fun to play villains sometimes. However, the game is getting in the way of the story.

Castle of the Red Prince, by C.E.J. Pacian

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful:
Shade Movement in a Different Direction, January 13, 2015
by Harry Coburn (Atlanta, GA)

I just played this after finishing off Andrew Plotkin's Shade. In most IF, the basic navigational unit is the room. In Castle of the Red Prince and Shade it is the object. The movement system in both games have some similarities. In Castle, players move about a wide spatial area by examining objects. Standard movement functions don't work. This lets the player leap about the game space easily. You can find an object and immediately use it if you can remember the noun you need.

In Shade, the feel is far more claustrophobic, but it has a similar movement structure. Movement within the nooks of the apartment is also done by examining them. Items in the nooks can get examined directly upon discovery after they've been viewed once.

This type of navigation works well for very small IF games. Disambiguation errors would grow rapidly without careful crafting otherwise. Castle does it well, but I also feel that the story could have been stronger without sacrificing the navigation, as noted in other reviews.

Survive, by Baltasar

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
Flawed game that could have been more, January 8, 2015
by Harry Coburn (Atlanta, GA)

This game has a writing style that's more like a visual novel than parser-based IF. Looking beyond the typos, (I wonder if English is the writer's first language?) the text is presented in long portions of little snippets with little player interaction.

Most of the choices the player can do don't amount to much, and the walkthrough says as such. The game part is basically one small timed puzzle.

This could have been so much more. I wanted to be the German solider caught behind British lines, rather than just read about him. I wanted to talk more with the NPCs. A few conversations would have sparked this up much more, especially before you get to the section with the puzzle.

I suggest that this author try Photopia to see how linear IF with few puzzles can be done well.

The Absolute Worst IF Game in History, by Dean Menezes

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
As it says on the tin, or is it?, January 8, 2015
by Harry Coburn (Atlanta, GA)
Related reviews: absurd

There's an irony about this game that tickles me, if you can even call it a game. Why is this the absolute worst IF game in history? First, it uses the most tired trope in all adventure games, get Macguffin item X from maze Y. Then when you go into the maze, it has the conceit to use the classic Adventure maze description phrase. It's like the game was designed to tick off IF players.

If this game was just submitted on its own it would be a joke game, and not a particularly funny one, but the fact that it was submitted to the IF Comp as a game for consideration (it got last place out of 35 entries) just touches me in a really funny way.

Runes, by Deane Saunders
Why mazes are bad, January 8, 2015
by Harry Coburn (Atlanta, GA)

It's good to see games in progress, which is what IntroComp games are about. For an aspiring author, it helps to see some of the scaffolding behind the game. The lack of a feature might teach the reason why it's important to add it.

Runes, is an intro to a game about herbalist lost through the forest. The player wanders through a forest finding random herbs in a maze. That's about all that is coded that I could discover.

In my experience, such mazes are more frustrating than they are worth despite their long history of use in early IF. It is especially frustrating when the exit locations are so clearly labeled in the descriptions but they twist mid-way.

That being said, the premise of an herbalist lost in the forest and needing to use their skills to escape it is an intriguing one.

And So It Goes, by Adam Conover

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful:
My first play of Speed-IF, January 8, 2015
by Harry Coburn (Atlanta, GA)

Speed-IF games are a challenge to authors to write IF in 2 hours around a theme. The theme of this competition was on man's conflict with something. Keeping that in mind, I rather enjoyed this tight little vignette on failure.

I'm still trying to figure out whether there is actually any way to get the five points in the game or if it's a clever bit of commentary. To say much more would ruin this game. I recommend taking 5 minutes of your time to play it.

This game does contain sexual themes, but nothing so vulgar as to be considered pornographic. YMMV.

Uh-Oh, by Scott Covert
A shareware nag demo to a game now lost, January 8, 2015
by Harry Coburn (Atlanta, GA)
Related reviews: shareware demo incomplete

Uh-Oh is a Y2K post-apocalyptic game, but that's not really what the game here is about. The game here is a demon to a larger shareware IF game. The demo divides the game up into five phases with 20 turns per phase before being helpfully pushed to the next stage by the demo fairy. Nag screens are sprinkled throughout with full ordering instructions.

It's an interesting way to do a demo. Unfortunately, the site for ordering the game is now offline. Mailing checks to the address in Canada to get a copy of the full game is delightfully old-school but impractical these days. The full game may now be lost to the dustbin of history.

I also felt it was a poor idea to give the player a taste of each phase of the game. Even with only 20 moves, you get enough of a sense of the overall plot to spoil the story without spoiling the puzzles too badly. For puzzlers that's great, but for people more interested in unfolding the story it's not a good way to draw interest.

The only reason to play this now is to see how one author tried to create a shareware demo for an IF game. If the author ever runs across this review, please consider releasing the full game to IFDB.

Slouching Towards Bedlam, by Star Foster and Daniel Ravipinto

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful:
Still excellent, but shows its age, January 8, 2015
by Harry Coburn (Atlanta, GA)

Slouching Toward Bedlam shows up on a lot of top IF lists for good reason. It has a fascinating premise and excellent replay value. The steampunk touches made me keep playing. I especially enjoyed the (Spoiler - click to show)panopticon.

I've also studied my share of occult topics. The 19th century hermetic and kaballistic references were quite excellent and in context. The reveal of (Spoiler - click to show)knowing it's too late for the player character to get rid of the Logos and dealing with the consequences to drive the endings rather reminded me of the movie Pi.

What do I mean by "shows its age" then? The game feels rather unfinished in places. Notably, certain nouns weren't fleshed out that seemed obvious to me. Also, the parser didn't understand some verbs I expected. I had to look at the solution to get the verb for (Spoiler - click to show)wearing the noose, rather than seeing errors for "put on the noose" "put head in noose" or most annoyingly "hang myself". The latter especially got me when I activated the hangman, tried "kill myself", got "How, exactly", and neither "hang" nor "hanging" worked. I dearly wish the author would revisit the game after all this time and go through it with BENT (see Aaron Reed's book) in mind to flesh out the world, and also fix the parser issues.

That being said, this game is still very much worth your time to play. The core of the game is still sound even after all this time, and that's what counts.

Showing All | Show by Page