Reviews by snickerdoddle

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1-10 of 10

Grandma Bethlinda's Variety Box, by Arthur DiBianca

1 of 7 people found the following review helpful:
Boxed in, October 14, 2017

Minimalist? Minimalist.

Ďx meí gets me the stock response, which is always a little disappointing. I like games where youíre a strongly characterised someone else, like Grunt and the Pig.

This game has just done something incredibly offputting. Yes, a game about a box does not understand Ďopen boxí. I am very close to giving up, because this is weird.

HELP suggests I Ďundertake to interact withí OBJECT, which I can abbreviate to ĎUí. This sounds like the primitive USE command from the early 80s, when we were too poor to have more than one verb in our games, and I am getting a sinking feeling.

HELP suggests I wait. Nothing happens.

So letís get this over with. I used my only verb to poke the box until it opened up and it challenged me to find everything in the box. I do not like this game. I poke a bit more and the game oh-so-hilariously tells me ďUm, did I mention the box was levitating? Sorry, that was a real oversight. Itís levitating about three feet above the floor.Ē

This is just aggravating.

Donít restrict me to one verb, Game, and donít lie to me without a good reason.

Laterna Magica, by Jens Byriel

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful:
Like being tied to a chair and having an essay shouted at you, October 14, 2017


This appears to be about a self-help philosophy for reaching enlightenment. You have a conversation where each screen offers two options, and you click on a key word to explore one of the two concepts further.

It mentions awareness, meditation, communicating with a higher self, Ďletting goí of unwanted thoughts and feelings, and exploring the nature of perception and existence.

This isnít an adventure. Itís a barely interactive info-dump.

I found the writing drawn out. There is not a lot of explanation of the philosophy. Instead, there is a series of statements without much attempt to convince a reader of its truth:

It feels like the author has tied me to a chair and is reading me their unpublished philosophical treatise at me. Iím open to new age ideas about meditation and perception, and I still didnít understand or enjoy this.

I also felt that the idea that one should simply Ďlet goí of worry and pain by communicating with oneís higher self was extremely patronising. Would that it were so simple!

Tower, by Simon Deimel

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
Tower, October 14, 2017

So I'm in a tower... this seems to be fantasy land with some modern elements like a neon tube.

The implementation and the level of hints were good, but the puzzles were ... puzzling. I donít understand the vase puzzle and the red door at the end of the corridor.

What is up with the response to Ďtake allí when you drop items after the big bad attacks you? ďOne at a time, please.Ē Iíve just dropped all my stuff and I want it back fast. Why am I having to type the name of every single object like itís 1980? I bet even Scott Adams games let you GET ALL.

Itís reasonably well implemented and the hint system is cool Ė the sphere is an imaginative touch. However, the plotís weak and I solved several puzzles without understanding what I was doing.

The Urge, by PaperBlurt

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
Urge to kill ... rising, October 14, 2017

Welp, I'm a serial killer with my latest victim.

I have an interest in serial killers, but Iím not a big fan of graphic gore.So this game hits a good spot for me.

The first scene is of the protagonist torturing their victim. There are Ďfunnyí tortures you can use as an alternative to gory ones. These strike a weird note thatís not quite funny enough. Thereís none of this sort of humour in the rest of the game so I can only imagine itís here for the squeamish players.

There is a point where if you run a red light you end up in prison. I played the other branch where you wait for the light, and enter a romantic storyline. I didn't replay to explore the prison story line.

The rest of the game is a sort of slice of life as the killer falls in love, dates a person they donít want to murder, and they move in together. Itís kind of ordinary. The observation about putting aside your own interests and hobbies a bit when youíre part of a relationship is well-trodden ground already. Contrasting the killerís wildly unorthodox murders with the commonplace activities of work, cooking and coupledom is slightly interesting but isnít developed.

Unfortunately thereís no strong punchy point the game wants to make. It gets full playthrough from me because I like serial killer stories. Thereís only two points where you can make a meaningful choices, which is disappointing. The author is telling me a story, but sadly not a story that engages me.

The text effects are decent and spooked me out once Ė where a description of a potential victim is suddenly interspersed with KILL CHOP MURDER in red letters.

I like that the characters are all non-gender-specific.

Slasher Swamp, by Robot
Good writing trying to escape a creaky game, October 14, 2017

I didn't have a great feeling about SS. It tells me that I canít use an item if itís in a bag. Curses! Was able to silently (take key from rucksack) when the player demanded it, and that was in 1993. This game is twenty-one years behind the times already. (EDIT: turns out the parser does deal fine with objects in containers!)

You're stranded in a grim, swampy backwater with almost nothing, and everything wants to kill you.

The parser is surprisingly OK and the writing is reasonably detailed. Most items are described. The atmosphere is great. The descriptions of nature as revolting are unusual and immersive.

I wish there were more clues about the people that lived here. Some locations Ė the rose and wasp garden Ė look interesting, but don't have a purpose.

I was wandering about, finding stuff and exploring, when ó suddenly ó this game kills me without warning and in silly ways and doesnít let me undo. I shouldnít need the experience of past lives to win a game.

I am not a fan of insta-death merely for searching or opening an item. One or two insta-deaths are well clued Ė the (Spoiler - click to show)dark patch in the swamp that the frogs are avoiding is a decent one. But death just for opening a container? Phooey.

It's got a lot of promise and the writing is engaging. The gameplay, though, is frustrating.

HHH.exe, by Robot Parking
Memorable, weird, but no payoff, October 14, 2017

I was expecting a creepy story where the destroyed disc creates a game that becomes Ö TOO REAL.

The graphics are amusingly accurate for the period and the game box is a good touch. (EDIT: the graphics are edited from a 1980s game. I feel a little let down as I thought this was original work by the author.)

This is nastier than I would expect from a typical game of this era Ė a pumpkin is described as: ďGlint of hot metal amid the sputtering wax and vegetable rot.Ē I hoped this was a sign of strange and grotesque things to come, and really liked the random capitalised brown Hs in the text.

ďThe hot reek of a killfeast in full swing. The revellers emit patchwork shrieks of expletives and blasphemy.Ē Crikey Moses this is strange in a good way.

The game then gets more odd and hideous, until it ends abruptly.

I expected a bit more. As it is, itís just unsettling with a smidgen of commentary on games.

I do notice that the labrys and the icon and the maze all reference the legend of the minotaur, but to what end I know not.

The game is extremely linear with no puzzles to speak of. Itís more of an atmosphere game. It does create a mildly creepy feeling. The writing is evocative and I noticed no bugs or typos. That said, Iím not sure what the point was and why it needed to be presented as an old glitched PC game. I wish the author had made a bit more of the themes. My overall feeling is Ďslick, fun but Ö why?í.

And Yet it Moves, by Orion Zymaris

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
And Yet It Moves, October 14, 2017

We start the game as an assistant to Galileo. You must smuggle his latest work out of the country and get it printed.

Thereís a germ of a good idea here. At first, the puzzles are simple but fun. Nonetheless, there were some initial implementation difficulties. (Spoiler - click to show)After distracting Galileoís jailer, why wonít Galileo tell me where his book is hidden?

This points to a problem I had: people donít act realistically. I expected one character to betray me, or throw me out, or blackmail me. Instead he complies without hesitation. People let me wander around their property alone, to find clues. Galileo is oddly silent when he could help. And so on.

The implementation is mixed and sometimes I found it frustrating. Characters only have one or two key topics and anything else is met with silence. The author clearly has some good ideas, and I hope in the future he develops his Inform skills to improve his NPCs.

There are many points where the author has left in capital letters (or left them out), or people are given the wrong articles Ė the monk is initially described something like: Ďyou can see Monk hereí. And I wondered if that was his name, or if he was a monk.

The writing is pretty good, and the fact that I kept playing is testament to this.

There are a few difficulties with puzzle implementation. It's possible to accidentally stumble on a key location rather than following the clues. The last puzzle relies on you performing an action at a precise moment. If you do not, thereís no way to win ó even though doing it one turn later should not prevent winning.

Thereís also anachronisms like Ďa coffee tableí Ė really, at this time in Europe? There deffo were others but I donít feel like replaying the game.

I solved it in about 15 minutes and reached the end.

Itís playable and complete, but the implementation is not all there. I hope the writer continues in IF as the concept and the early stages were engaging.

Begscape, by Porpentine

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
More than what it appears, October 14, 2017

The randomised descriptions of the cities and creatures are imaginative, but the gameplay is very simple -- beg, move on, starve.

Perhaps the authorís trying to make a larger point about the problems of homelessness? The gameplay is so repetitive I wonder if the author meant to simulate the mind-numbing effects of begging and poverty.

Itís a thought-provoking ten-minute diversion. Itís free of bugs and looks elegant, and has some clever descriptions.

Zest, by Fear of Twine (Richard Goodness, lectronice, PaperBlurt)
Zesty!, October 14, 2017

This is the story of a stoner in a dead-end job, making their way through bizarre encounters and trying to find their path in life. It does have good, weird writing, an engaging hook and a pleasingly strange atmosphere.

The graphics are (intentionally?) bad. The religion isnít really meaningful in the game, or I missed whatever point it was making. I tried visiting church every day and confessing, but it didnít seem to make much impact.

The drugs however seem to be a focus of the game. The achievements are mostly (all?) to do with drug taking.

So I was really good, saved up $200 and bought the ultimate bong. I got high, went to work, got fired, went to work for the head shop. End game.

The presentation of the text is often too slow for me. After the fifth time of getting the same shower monologue it wears really thin. I think the author has misjudged this one Ė getting the same long slow text presentation is not bad once, however if you play for more than a few days game time, you get the same monologue several times and it is no longer engaging. I quit while having to wait for a lengthy monologue from a scammy psychic, which seemed to go on and on and on.

I like achievements, and Iíd have liked to get them all. That needs a lot of replaying the game which is tedious when the text is so slow. Itís unfortunate as it would otherwise appeal to my urge to get all the things.

It looks like you can try to inject or snort zest, and also find an ending where you move back home. Iím not prepared to wade through all that slow text.

Ugly Oafs, by Andrew Schultz as Perry Creel

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
Impenetrable to me, October 14, 2017

I donít mind surrealist games. One of my favourite games ever is For A Change.

This one is impenetrable to me. You're stranded in a landscape with apparently random objects. I like wordplay and puzzle games like Ad Verbum and I canít understand this at all. Thereís no overarching plot to pull me into the world and get me keen on solving the puzzles.

Trying to understand this is like trying to get traction on ice.

I read the walkthrough. I still do not understand the game. If I canít understand whatís going on after reading the hints it is not for me.

This would work if youíre very patient. I played this while dog-tired and just wanted a bit of comic fun (Ugly Oafs in polka-dot writing suggests comic fun). Wrong game, wrong time!

After reading other reviews: (Spoiler - click to show)all the objects can be run through rot(n) to create new objects, but I donít see how you effect the change. This feels a bit too much like Ďguess what the authorís thinkingí. I bet the author had fun working out objects to encode and how they could work together. Itís too hard for me.

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