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Ratings and Reviews by verityvirtue

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View this member's reviews by tag: 2018 choleric ECTOCOMP ECTOCOMP 2016 IFComp 2015 IFComp 2016 IFComp 2017 Introcomp Ludum Dare melancholic melancholic phlegmatic melancholy parser phlegmatic Ren'Py sanguine Spring Thing 2015 Spring Thing 2016 sub-Q Tiny Utopias
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Big Trouble in Little Dino Park, by Seth Paxton, Rachel Aubertin

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful:
Generic PC escaping marauding dinos, January 4, 2021
by verityvirtue (London)
Related reviews: sanguine
You play a kid working your summer job in a theme park with a teeth-grindingly twee theme. But everything goes wrong when the dinosaurs are let loose!

It’s technically sound, though some proofreading would have ironed out a few typos here and there. It did have the breadth I expect of an IFComp game, though with the multiple ways to die I almost expected a running tally or achievement board.

The biggest thing for me was that I found it hard to be invested in the player character. With few details on who the player character is, the stakes for their survival becomes relatively low. The way the story is laid out also means the player’s first time navigating the park is during the attack: without me, the player, being able to make a plan, the deaths might as well be random.

The setup is not bad, really; with more preamble and more distinctive characters I might even get invested in it. But as it is now, it feels more like a skeleton not given enough flesh.

Savor, by Ed Nobody

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful:
Foreboding, creepy search for a cure, January 4, 2021
by verityvirtue (London)
Related reviews: melancholic
Seeking a cure for chronic pain, you meet a dying man in a strange house surrounded by strange creatures.

Foreboding from the start, it uses the “creepy country house” setting to good effect. The landscape echoes the story. The style is what I’ll describe as baroque, partly due to some turns of phrase which suggest the author’s first language is not English.

The branching tends to be lawnmowery, where redundant choices dead-end and lead back to the main path. Some choices are obviously signposted, and I would have liked more consistency in the formatting – especially since some choices that result in a premature ending are not signalled as such. What makes it more frustrating is the sheer speed at which the text is revealed. Mathbrush’s review on IFDB suggests that this is incredibly deliberate, yet something which even the author couldn’t stand on repeated playthroughs…

Another thing that struck me, in the time waiting for text to appear: the player’s main motivation appears to be a mystical curse, but in most aspects is chronic pain – a relatively common experience. Sans an obvious supernatural cause, I had to wonder why it warranted this treatment in the text.

Sense of Harmony, by Scenario World
verityvirtue's Rating:

Academic Pursuits (As Opposed To Regular Pursuits), by ruqiyah

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful:
Ostensibly about unpacking, October 18, 2020
by verityvirtue (London)
Related reviews: sanguine
This game is ostensibly about unpacking and furnishing your new office. It has a simple mechanic, but has enough intriguing details to make it more than an (ahem) academic exercise. To tell more would probably be spoilers…!

If you liked this, Bruno Dias's New Year's game Not All Things Make it Across should scratch the same itch. Unpacking, after all, is a liminal space sort of activity - marking a transition from one location to another, and in this case one stage of life to another.

The Turnip, by Joseph Pentangelo
verityvirtue's Rating:

Phantom, by Peter Eastman

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
Light-touch remix of Phantom of the Opera, October 18, 2020
by verityvirtue (London)
It's from Phantom of the Opera, of course. Keenly aware of its source material, the game opens almost by establishing the player's own understanding. I, for one, enjoyed the possibility of a modern remake - how do you maintain the mystique of Gaston Leroux's Phantom when everything, it seems, can be found on the internet?

Structured in three short acts, with broad-strokes choices, Phantom casts Christine Daae in quite a different light. I found it interesting that the choices given the most granularity were the emotional ones, not the moral ones.

Overall an attractive adaptation of a story one not usually remixed (as much as, say, Sherlock Holmes or Lovecraft).

Dead Pavane for a Princess, by Emily Boegheim

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful:
Tiny escape game with Impressionist classical musicians, August 11, 2020
by verityvirtue (London)
Related reviews: sanguine
Escape the zombie form of Debussy! Technically, a survival thriller; in practice, comedic horror. You can be done in 5 moves, and you might appreciate it more if you knew a little about Ravel or Debussy, but you don't need to, to enjoy it. Short and sweet.

Old Jim's Convenience Store, by Anssi Räisänen

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful:
Short, timeless adventure, August 6, 2020
by verityvirtue (London)
A convenience store with a secret - standard fare I'm sure for those who grew up on adventure games. This game feels timeless, actually; what use is trappings of modern life if all around you is blank desert? Features a generic PC whose motives are generic and relationship with the titular uncle conveniently vague. Look, it's not a bad game. While short and predictable, it's complete and mechanically sound; please don't see my rating as meaning that the game is actively bad.

Dull Grey, by Provodnik Games

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful:
Coming of age in a stark landscape, August 6, 2020
by verityvirtue (London)
Related reviews: melancholic
This review is based on the current version, not the IFComp version.

Dull Grey is a coming of age story in a mechanised, stark landscape with the aesthetic of Soviet fiction. The story universe is dominated by the Progress-program, but it seems to have little sway in the towns we venture through. To them, the Progress-program is a distant mandates and forms flashpoints for ideology; the decision-making power does not lie with them.

The game itself is visually gorgeous, with just enough descriptive writing to sketch out a deserted depot here; a village house there.

Handling the choices was simply and very well done. You technically only ever have a binary choice between two professions. Neither seems good. The lack of choice is by design - and to good effect. There is a bit at the end which reveals the true scope of the game(Spoiler - click to show), rather like Caleb Wilson's The Northnorth Passage (I hope this isn't too revealing!). It also divulges the percentages of players who found certain endings, and looking at contemporaneous reviews, I'm starting to wonder how true this is.

This game piqued my curiosity in many ways, and was surprising in the best ways.

Each-uisge, by Jac Colvin

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful:
Sombre take on folklore, August 3, 2020
by verityvirtue (London)
Related reviews: phlegmatic
MacLeod the neighbour has a kelpie - the water horse of yore - the same kind of creature that drowned the PC's aunt.

The story was compact; the writing descriptive and the storyline fairly straightforward. Each decision has realistic moral stakes, and if we're talking about moral decisions in IFComp 2019, this was much more convincing than, say, the Milgram Parable. Overall this was a polished piece of work and very competently done.


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