Reviews by Walter Sandsquish

Surreal

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1-4 of 4


Little Blue Men, by Michael S. Gentry

0 of 4 people found the following review helpful:
Disturbing, March 25, 2021

Frustrating, but fascinating, LBM is a puzzle of a game in several ways. With a tone that swings from aggravation to black humor to horror, a genre that shifts from slice-of-life to mystery to horror, motivations that are obtuse, and metaphors that are dense, the game may be absorbing, but it may also leave a player bewildered. And, no matter how it's interpreted, the game's notion of what "learning to love yourself" means seems horrifying.


In Memory, by Jacqueline A. Lott

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
Passive, March 10, 2021

"In Memory" places the player in a surreal environment and prompts him to reminisce about a hazily-remembered past. While the game's ambiguous situation creates an engaging sense of mystery, the game's prompting inhibits the player's sense of agency.

Presumably, any reasonable response to the game's prompts should be accepted and used in feedback, but this doesn't work as often as it would need to in order to evoke the emotional response it wants. This turns "In Memory's" interaction with the player into an unintentional guess-the-word game. Even if the player can win this guessing game, his inability to change the game-state in any significant way hampers the game's intriguing premise.

Still, Jacqueline A. Lott's writing conveys feeling without becoming sentimental, and it effectively foreshadows the game's ending by making use of some common folklore without giving away the game through obvious cliches.


Busted!, by Jon Drukman and Derek Pizzuto

1 of 3 people found the following review helpful:
Frivolous Fun, March 31, 2020

"Busted's" drug-themed subject matter allows it to play with campus-life tropes in a surreal manner, with a humorous effect. This also allows it to apply some of the more annoying conventions of old-time adventures, like hunger and sleep puzzles, to its collegiate setting in a relevant and clever way.

The result is as much a frivolous survey of university annoyances and practices as it is a homage to first-generation text-adventure games. It's enjoyable, engaging, and funny.

Play the AdvSys version if you're able to; it's much better implemented than the Z-Code version.


Shade, by Andrew Plotkin

1 of 5 people found the following review helpful:
Surreal, February 2, 2011

Odd, eerie, surrealistic, and foreboding, "Shade's" mood is its real attraction. The game's only "puzzle" is actually a very clever meta-puzzle; once you've noticed what all the significant commands in the game have in common, you'll get the gimmick and soon find yourself at the game's notorious ending.



1-4 of 4