Reviews by MathBrush

less than 15 minutes

View this member's profile

Show ratings only | both reviews and ratings
View this member's reviews by tag: 15-30 minutes 2-10 hours about 1 hour about 2 hours IF Comp 2015 Infocom less than 15 minutes more than 10 hours Spring Thing 2016
...or see all reviews by this member
1-10 of 391 | Next | Show All

While Rome Burns, by CSR

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful:
An unpolished first game about Emperor Nero, March 25, 2023
by MathBrush
Related reviews: less than 15 minutes

It is clear that this game wasn't really finished. It even says so in the description, that it is a first game, rushed, etc.

The idea is that you are emperor Nero and that you are furious, because it is the day of your concert, but instead of paying attention to you, everyone is crying about their houses burning!

You have to investigate three different groups of people to find out what's going on, and then try to get your concert going.

The amount of typos and such increases as the game goes on, with errors in Twine popping up and at least one blank spot. However, I do think it's being updated during the comp, since it says only the Epaphroditus path is finished, while I was able to talk to a few people.

The text is descriptive, and the interactivity is actually a bit fun (should you sacrifice dignity and talk to the guards naked?), but this just needs more polish. Emotionally-wise, Nero is a bit too much of a single note--his arrogance just gets hammered over and over again without anything to contrast it with.

From what I've seen, I think this author could make great Twine games with just a little more preparation and time.

9:05, by Adam Cadre

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful:
The most-reviewed game on IFDB, March 25, 2023
by MathBrush
Related reviews: less than 15 minutes

As of writing, this game has 54 reviews on IFDB, more than any other game on the database.

I had a review of this game years ago that was mildly spoiler-y, and it was my lowest-rated review on IFDB by far (like 0 out of 9 people found it helpful).

I thought I'd give it another go.

This game is short but memorable, and its main defining feature is the way that it sets expectations. Funnily enough, this helps it serve as a great introduction to IF for newbies, since each command is hinted so heavily without feeling like handholding.

For instance, in my games, on the first turn I'll say something like 'You can PICK UP the telephone', just holding the player's hand very heavily, while this game simply says 'the phone rings'.

The room prominently displays loose objects, encouraging the player to pick them up; mentions only a dresser, encouraging the player to try OPEN; clothing, encouraging the player to WEAR, which then triggers the need to shower, adding a little complexity.

Driving can be complex in other games, but hear any reasonable actions with the car will get you in and going. Even the (Spoiler - click to show)ID card, usually something people code in a weird way, is hinted nicely with saying the reader has a place for you to INSERT the card.

For most people, at least in the years when this came out, the events in the game are completely reasonable and logical ones that they've either experienced or seen on TV (younger players may be confused you can't take the telephone with you). For experienced IF players, the bare-bones house descriptions are par for the course. So in this way, the author manages expectations in a brilliant way.

In my last review, I dinged the game for its bland prose, but looking back, it manages to add a lot of character in small ways. Like, if you eat the pop-tart, it says 'It's not Sunday brunch at Le Trop Cher, but it'll do.' That's clever. So it's not that the game isn't well-written and punchy, it's more like an optical illusion where it takes good descriptions and interesting responses but puts them into the same overall 'shape' as a bad, first 'my apartment' game so you just gloss over them until you realize they had more depth than you thought.

Overall, an interesting game, and an influential one.

Closed Door; Key?, by KnightAnNi

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful:
A brief verbless escape room in Twine, March 17, 2023
by MathBrush
Related reviews: less than 15 minutes

This was a nice little treat, but was over as quick as it began.

This is a seedcomp game based on the prompt that players do a closed door game without using verbs, just adjectives and nouns.

I spoiled myself a bit here by not clicking the links in order; because I went out of order, I skipped about 1/3 of the game, which was red herrings.

Overall, I like the cute ideas expressed in this. It was polished to me, and descriptive in its own enigmatic way (what does the paintbrush mean? interesting). The interactivity worked well for me, but I didn't have enough time to get really drawn in. I'm glad I played.

Cozy Simulation 2999, by KADW

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful:
A study in contrasts with vibes of Porpentine, March 16, 2023
by MathBrush
Related reviews: less than 15 minutes

This Twine game has you enter a beautiful cabin that you can customize to your hearts content. Drinks, decorations, everything is what you like.

There's even a holoscreen, which is nice. And the game can end this way.


There is an alternative world you can enter that strongly contrasts with this one. It reminded me of Porpentine a bit (mostly the juxtaposition of a pleasant holochamber with (Spoiler - click to show)body horror, so there's a ton of people in similar genres, but I'm not widely read in that area, so I go to Porpentine first).

It also reminded me of a grimdark video my son and I used to talk about called the Rainbow Factory from the MLP fandom.

Anyway, there was good atmosphere overall, the game was very descriptive, and it had some nice interactivity, but I think the overall length wasn't enough to draw me in, and the ending scene for me lacked something I can't really put my finger on. Still, it's overall a well-done game and one I hope is preserved for others to play in the future.

In a minute there is time, by Aster

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
A lovely fusion of TS Eliot with a clever mechanic, March 14, 2023
by MathBrush
Related reviews: less than 15 minutes

This game takes several TS Eliot poems and combines them with some original poetry (which fits in quite well and is lovely).

It uses a stressful mechanic: a giant countdown clock in the background ticks down one minute's worth of time. Once it's over, something special happens (and is a pretty neat trick).

I like the overall vibe T.S. Elliot's work, having encountered it once in high school and again in Graham Nelson's Curses!. There's a lot of parts of his work I dislike, but this game has great chunks in it that work well. The frantic race to see things leads to quick reading and moments of 'huh, what was that??' that were fun. I guess it was the opposite of timed text; instead of the author telling me how long it will take me to read a passage, I get to go at any rate I want through the game with just the overall experience being timed.

I played through three or four restarts until I saw everything I thought I could see. I don't know if there's a canonical ending, but my game ended with a lengthy race against the clock with a piece of actual timed text that made me feel like I was some person at the end of their life just watching the last bits of daily existence before floating away.

Overall, the game is polished, descriptive, has a nice interactive twist, drew me in, and I played it several times.

SCLERA, by MeiZi

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful:
A surreal dream game with glitch graphics and adult content, March 14, 2023
by MathBrush
Related reviews: less than 15 minutes

This is a Seedcomp game, made with Super Videotome, a branching visual novel/IF engine.

It has a great deal of glitchy graphics that honestly look great and add a lot to the game atmosphere.

You play as someone stuck in a club for hours and hours on end. So long, you can't even remember why you're there.

From there, it branches quite a bit; a feature I really liked is that you can choose to skip a choice rather than choose anything, and that felt really authentic.

Mine ended up in an explicit sexual encounter with a biblically accurate angel. I don't associate explicit sexual content in games with positive feelings, and so it decreased my enjoyment of the game, however it was clearly signalled at the start of the game that it contains such content, together with strong profanity. The profanity use reminded me most strongly of the 14 yr old boys at my high school, so that's how I imagined the protagonist.

The best part of this game is the atmosphere and the surreal world.

I thought the atmosphere worked well.

Sea Coral, by Jeff Greer

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful:
Track down environmental criminals in a family friendly game, March 12, 2023
by MathBrush
Related reviews: less than 15 minutes

I liked this game, and felt it was a solid improvement over the author's previous game.

Here, you play as a member of the coast guard who is trying to track down a tramp steamer leaving a trail of destruction around the Florida coast.

The game is well-suited for children, with needed commands bracketed to be clear, light puzzles, and a generally positive and happy attitude.

Movement is unusual; a single N command might move you one room forward in a ship or send you dozens of miles through Florida. It reminds me of Victor Ojuel's game Pilgramage in that way.

The conversation system is well-presented, with an extra window popping up, although most conversations for me involved just going down the line one at a time.

I appreciate the game running smoothly and well. There were a couple of minor issues like 'an unsecured items', but overall it worked well. I feel like there could have been a bit more polish like replacing 'you can see Bart here' with something more specific.

So to me, it was descriptive, interactive, and fun, but not completely polished and I don't feel like I would revisit it. If the last game was a 5 or 6 out of 10, this one is a 6 or 7 out of ten.

Les Prophéties Perdues, by Louphole

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
Place your own prophecy upon the world, February 27, 2023
by MathBrush
Related reviews: less than 15 minutes

This is a brief but replayable game.

You have found the ancient Temple of Destiny. Inside is a prophecy in the form of a poem. Interestingly, the stone it is carved on is movable, and you can alter individual words and phrases.

This allows you to construct the prophecy you most desire!

Unfortunately, you cannot go back to previous choices; what's done cannot be undone (without replaying). This makes it a bit hard to strategize without writing everything down, as you can't just cycle through.

Like others, I found the Good Ending and the Bad ending but not the Worse or Better ending. I also found the 'give up early' ending.

Pretty fun concept!

Le grenier de mon grand-père, by Tellington

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
Spy on grandpa in this text game with graphical UI, February 4, 2023
by MathBrush
Related reviews: less than 15 minutes

This game reminds me a bit of Sweet Dreams by Papillon or of Bitsy games. Basically, you control a character on the screen and you interact with objects by hitting the space bar. Then you get some text or possibly some options.

It's a relatively short game, but well-done and polished. Your grandfather never lets you up into the attic, but you've sneaked in and now you're going to discover the truth for yourself. The relationships depicted are by turns heartwarming and heartbreaking, and there are definite funny moments (like the expressions grandpa makes when you ask very personal questions).

The game's only fault, to me, was that it was fairly brief, giving a limited sense of interaction. I don't think a game has to be long to be great, but I feel like this game didn't fill up the full size of its concept. I did enjoy it, however.

Quel Roi êtes vous ?, by Léo Tranlin

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
Fun, short branching game about defending from treason and war, February 2, 2023
by MathBrush
Related reviews: less than 15 minutes

This French Comp game uses the theme of 'betrayal' well. An army is coming to your castle at your weakest moment. Someone must have betrayed you, but who?

The game is short but pleasingly symmetric. There are three suspects, each with three possible actions (consult with them, accuse them, and interrogate them). When it's time to face the enemy, you have three choices.

There are a lot of endings, mostly bad ones, of which I received two, but overall it was fun. The text doesn't vary much based on your choices so you can replay very swiftly. Investigating the treason felt interesting. Overall, the game is short but with a fun pattern.

1-10 of 391 | Next | Show All