Reviews by Denk

Inform 7

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1-6 of 6

Head Case, by C. Scott Davis

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
Small amnesia puzzler with a twist, March 13, 2023
by Denk
Related reviews: Inform 7

This is a fairly small but fun puzzler. You start out in a waiting room with a barred door and only direct access to one more room. The premise, which you will understand later, is an original take on a more common plot. The writing is terse but I think that is fine for this kind of game. So if you like puzzles and small games, this is a nice diversion for perhaps an hour or less if you are experienced in puzzle solving.

ANDROMEDA 1983, by Marco Innocenti

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful:
Great atmospheric retro game, March 6, 2023
by Denk
Related reviews: Inform 7

I have tried to beat this retro style Glulxe text adventure several times but got away from it, despite the highly atmospheric graphics and music. However, I recently completed the bigger ambitious "Andromeda Awakening - The Final Cut", also by Marco Innocenti, which Andromeda 1983 is based upon, though there are several differences in the puzzles. Still, a puzzle which prevented me from completing the game earlier, could be solved quite similar to how it was solved in "Awakening". Sometimes when I have been stuck, I am sometimes disappointed but this was not the case here. The game has only few but brilliant puzzles, both some easy ones and some tough ones.

Parser/Vocabulary (Rating: 8/10)
I understand that the author wanted a simple parser like the non-Infocom games in the 80s but there are left some modern conveniences in the parser as it would be too much trouble to remove them. So a better parser than intended!

Atmosphere (Rating: 10/10)
Perhaps the best thing about this game is the atmosphere. Brilliant pixel art and C64-like music tune full of suspense. The text is brief but sufficient.

Cruelty (Rating: Merciful)
It is my impression that the game cannot be unwinnable but it might be possible to deliberately break important objects - I didn't investigate that.

Puzzles (Rating: 8/10)
Some pretty good and fair puzzles, both easy and tough puzzles.

Overall (Rating: 9/10)
This is a short but very good game if you like games with a retro vibe.

NEST, by Ryan Veeder

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful:
Short, surreal and great fun, March 2, 2023
by Denk
Related reviews: Inform 7

This is a short game for day two of #EnigMarch and was made in seven hours but is surprisingly fun despite having no testers. I did find one "game-helping" bug so it became too easy to reach the ending but the bug has now been fixed so it seems to be solidly coded.

Subsequently I managed to finish the game in the intended way. This may be a simple game and the puzzles are fairly easy but it is well written and highly entertaining.

NB: I always rate games relative to their length so rated as a short game, this is absolutely great!

Improv: Origins, by Neil deMause

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful:
Bugged but excellent puzzles and very funny, January 31, 2023
by Denk
Related reviews: Inform 7

This is a very funny, puzzly, one-room parser comedy. However, it is also very hard and in the version I played, I had to work around a bug.

I rarely give a game with a significant game breaking bug five stars. In this case I made an exception because I realized that it was a bug and managed to work around it. Also, the author should be working on a 3rd version and I completed the 2nd version after having given up on the first version. So I think it is a shame if such an excellent game will be forgotten because the author didn't fix the bugs in time for ParserComp, even though the author is of course "responsible" (no one got hurt I suppose). In addition there are some other bugs which may require you to restore an earlier save, but they are quite obvious. So save often.

So if anyone found the game disappointing during ParserComp I understand.

I just think that this game is a real challenge: You start out with some rather easy puzzles and they gradually get harder, really hard. The hard ones are only very subtly clued but they are clued. But if you do not notice the clue you may have to start over to realize it - not sure, didn't investigate that issue.

Unless you are in a hurry, you might as well wait for the third version which hopefully takes care of those bugs and you will be playing an excellent parser comedy, assuming you love hard puzzles. However, knowing that there are bugs will probably make you notice it and quickly experiment to see what is triggering that bug. To me, the puzzles were great and the humor very funny so it was worth it to work around that bug.

Wry, by Olaf Nowacki

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful:
I don't recall playing a better 1-room game, January 27, 2023
by Denk
Related reviews: Inform 7

Mild content warning: This game insinuates some adult situations.

This game is a one-room comedy parser game with a limited number of moves, multiple endings and you don't need maximum points to get a good ending. I managed to get 45/60 points before I gave up after starting over many, many times. Later I came back and reached 54/60 so the game is quite addictive.

This is more or less the standard Inform parser which is always good unless the author by mistake ruins it. In this case it is good too. Also, there were no apparent ambiguity problems which can easily occur in a one-room game with many objects. The parser is as good as needed.

The writing is successfully humorous and gives the intended atmosphere I would expect.

Cruelty rating: Cruel
This type of game must be cruel. This is a game with a limited number of moves and you must learn from your mistakes by starting over and over again.

There were nice, well-clued puzzles. If I had managed to solve all of them I would probably have given an even higher puzzle score. But as I don't know the unsolved solutions I can only evaluate the ones I solved.

Everything in this game plays well together, resulting in a higher total score than each of the individual categories above. It is a well implemented, fun one-room comedy puzzle game where the goal is to get as many points as you can. Unless you get very stubborn and want to reach maximum points, there are not countless of hours in this game. But asking for more content is never a valid criticism but a compliment. However, in a competition like Spring Thing I think the longer game should win if I am equally entertained as long as it lasts. But rated as a short game, this was my favourite game in Spring Thing 2022.

Midnight at Al's Self Storage, Truck Rentals, and Discount Psychic Readings, by Thomas Insel
Short but entertaining surreal game, January 27, 2023
by Denk
Related reviews: Inform 7

This is a fairly simple and easy game but still entertaining. You have to carry out a list of tasks given to you by the boss at a storage company. It has a few supernatural elements to it and some surprises.

The parser understood all expected commands.

The writing is a bit brief but fine for a game like this.

Cruelty rating: Merciful
According to the game, you can never put the game in an "unwinnable" state.

They were fairly easy and nothing special, though the elevator puzzle was a bit more original and a little harder.

A nice game, takes an hour or so. I was constantly curious about what the underlying plot was. Everything was well done, except for a minor bug (at some point I managed to get inside the freight elevator but couldn't get out)

1-6 of 6