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Reviews by MathBrush

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Une vie entiŤre, by Doublure Stylo

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
A short demo of a 'birth to death' game in Ink, written in French, February 16, 2021
by MathBrush
Related reviews: less than 15 minutes
This game has a cute concept but needs a lot more work.

Right now, it starts when you are born and stop right when you get to school.

It will detail an event in your life, possibly unlocking a new skill. Then you can use a new skill, continue, or pick from different baby language like 'gaga' or 'ouuiiiinnn' ('whaaaahhhhhh').

Choosing to use your special skills generally seemed to have no effect except possibly on one occasion. The baby language was confusing, and the game ended very quickly.

It definitely has promise and possibility, but needs far more work before it is complete.

-Polish: The game is not finished
+Descriptive: The text is fairly generic, but it's engaging enough that I would have kept reading.
-Interactivity: Hard to know what options do, many similar choices
-Emotional impact: It was hard to engage due to all of the above.
+Would I play again? If it were finished. And I would definitely increase the score then!

Atlantide: La quÍte de la citť engloutie, by Bryan

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful:
A short Twine game in French about passing the challenges of the Gods, January 31, 2021
by MathBrush
Related reviews: less than 15 minutes
This game is part of the French comp. In it, you and a bunch of other students accidentally summon the Gods who give you two tasks to complete. Once you do so, you earn a special secret from the Gods.

I thought the idea was generally entertaining, but the game could have used more 'something'. More options, or more details, or more focus.

Here is my overall rating:

-Polish: There were various typos at different times.
-Interactivity: It felt pretty constrained most of the time. The best part was when it opened up to a whole island, but most options there had the same results.
+Emotional impact: I felt like it was a fun, silly game.
+Descriptiveness: I thought the author had some enthusiastic and fun descriptions.
-Would I play again? It's pretty much the same each playthrough.

Howled House, by B Minus Seven

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful:
A B-minus game with a strong sense of place, December 25, 2020
by MathBrush
Related reviews: less than 15 minutes
B-minus makes surreal poetic games where you have to puzzle out the meaning, if there is any fixed meaning.

Some of those games work really well for me and others not as well.

This one from a few years ago has a navigable 'map'. It's made in raconteur, and gives an effect similar to Twine.

The map is a house with three wings, each with two rooms, each with an object inside.

If there's any way to combine the objects, I haven't found it. The hint of a coherent structure paired with incoherent elements confused me more than if there weren't any structure at all, kind of like the famous 'Cow Tools' Far Side cartoon.

+Polish: Worked great, looks good.
+Descriptive: Very well-written.
-Interactivity: Not sure what's going on.
+Emotional impact: Some good parts in here, I liked the grave dirt and the opening.
-Would I play again? I'm not sure what to look for here.

Bring Me A Head!, by Chandler Groover

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
A horror Twine item-trading game with complex code, December 14, 2020
by MathBrush
Related reviews: less than 15 minutes
This game is polished and well-done, but I think I admire the coding more than the game itself.

You play as an executioner of some sort in a dark castle. This castle seems to me like a prototype of the one in Eat Me, with a similar cast of bizarre creatures and vaguely reminiscent layouts. But castles in games tend to be similar, so it's probably in my head.

You're required to find a head for your master in this game, so you have to explore the castle, finding what you can and trading it for better things.

The complexity comes from two things: the styling (boxes around progress links, none around 'aside' links, glowing words to represent runes), and the way that each character has a unique reaction to each item you carry.

+Polish: Very complex and smooth.
+Descriptive: Rich writing
-Interactivity: While there are some clues, it felt mostly like searching over and over for the right person to talk to.
+Emotional impact: It was unsettling
-Would I play again? It was good for a short game, but I think once is enough.

10 Lost Boys, by Mark Sample

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful:
A game about the wayward paths of children, December 11, 2020
by MathBrush
Related reviews: less than 15 minutes
This game is thought-provoking, and I don't know quite how I feel about it one way or another.

At its core, it's a character generator with 10 options per choice. It's very short, with more than half the play time (for me) dedicated to the achingly slow text in the opening few screens.

It's posited as a generator for the Lost Boys from Peter Pan. However, it always ends up with a darker twist:
(Spoiler - click to show)you are actually creating white supremacists.. The game ends with a scene from your character's childhood, now with a different shade of meaning from the opening scenes.

Production-wise, this is excellent styling, music and css animations, the kind you'd expect from the author of Babyface.

Content-wise, I'm torn. On the one hand, the feeling I get from the game is that (Spoiler - click to show)it 'others' the white supremacists by making them seem like creatures very different from us, the reader, someone with with we have no connection and no relation. I worry that that hides the deeper issues, as I feel like most white supremacy is hidden inside otherwise-normal looking people, and by relegating it to the 'frightening other' in media we neglect looking within ourselves. On the other hand, the narrative is designed in a way to humanize its characters and track their journey, so maybe I'm wrong.

The other issue I think about is the way some things are lumped together. For instance, I know (Spoiler - click to show)many white supremacists, if not the majority, use religion as a pretext. But not all people espousing Christian values are supremacists or terrorists; in fact, white people are less likely to be Christian than either black or hispanic people in the US.

Both of my objections are framed from my own perspective and stem from my own interpretation of the piece, so I can't say it's anything related to the author's intent. Still, it was interesting.

+Polish: It was very polished.
+Descriptive: The text is well-written.
-Interactivity: The slower opening was a bit offputting, and the many menus made me feel like I somehow had less freedom from so many indistinguishable options.
+Emotional impact: It made me feel a lot of different things.
-Would I play again? Technically I did play again once, just to remind myself before writing the review, but I think this is more or less a one-shot game.

RED FAST BENT, by B Minus Seven

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
Gruesome poetry in triplicate, November 16, 2020
by MathBrush
Related reviews: less than 15 minutes
Like most of B-minus's work, this is a shortish surreal Twine game with haunting descriptions and poetic use of choices.

In particular, this game features several choices in a row, on one page, where for each one you can pick RED, FAST, or BENT.

I originally was going to give this 3 stars, but the layout and format are so nice looking, especially for a game made in 4 hours or less.

I wasn't big on B-minus when I first read their work, but Chandler Groover has always expressed a lot of appreciation and interest in B-minus games, and it made me look at them with more appreciation. I wonder how much of my own reviewing is tangled up in my own experiences and history that I bring to the game. Earlier today I gave a higher rating to an Among Us-based IF game and rated it higher because I liked Among Us. It's weird to think about.

Anyway, I thought this was pretty good.

Rat Chasm, by Hatless

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
A short graphics-intensive musing on humanity with rats, November 16, 2020
by MathBrush
Related reviews: less than 15 minutes
At first, I thought this game was just a link to BBC (which for some reason didn't work for me when I clicked on it but worked when I manually entered it into the search bar).

Then it turned out I could scroll down. It's a multimedia page and it has some interesting features (for instance, you can either scroll down to read more text or click links instead, with some interaction between the two).

The non-working initial link and the abrupt, buggy-looking ending put me off the game a little bit. The writing is vivid and imaginative, though, and the visuals are compelling.

Phantasmagoria, by Jac Colvin

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
A short replayable escape game in Choicescript, November 16, 2020
by MathBrush
Related reviews: less than 15 minutes
I debated back and forth on what score to give this game, so I'm going to break it down by points.

This is a short choicescript game where you have to defeat an evil spirit in a test involving an ever-shortening candle.

It has a cool yellow bar representing the candle, and its structure allows for quick replay.

When I saw the timer, I felt nervous, so the game was able to impact me emotionally. I played through to two different endings.

Very impressive for four hours. I know its silly, but I think the yellow bar is what bumped it up from 3 stars to 4 for me, it's just cool to me as a Choicescript author.

Last Day, by Earth Traveler

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
A short parser game about the end of the world, November 16, 2020
by MathBrush
Related reviews: less than 15 minutes
This game is surprisingly complex for a 4-hour game. There's conversation (although only ASK X ABOUT COMET works in general), many locations, a vehicle, rope.

There are a lot of grisly details. As a content warning, this game has frequent references to suicide. That part was a bit too dark for me.

I only found one ending, on a cliff. I'm sure there are other endings (I think other reviewers have found them).

The Imposter, by Carter Gwertzman

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful:
A short story based on Among Us, November 16, 2020
by MathBrush
Related reviews: less than 15 minutes
This is a very short story about the game Among Us. I feel like I'm giving all the La Petite Mort games 3 stars (which, I figure is what you'd expect most speed-IF to be at most). This game is very short, but I love playing Among Us with my son, so it was fun.

And it surprised me twice. The first one I feel very dumb for not thinking of, given how obvious it is, but the second thing that surprised me is how customized the text is based on the order of your choices.

Short fun.

Fracture, by Ralfe Rich

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
A short but vivid one-verb game, November 15, 2020
by MathBrush
Related reviews: less than 15 minutes
This game is directly modeled on Lime Ergot and Toby's Nose, where the main action is found by examining something over and over again, including things mentioned in the description.

It's more rough than those two, with some typos and less direction for the player, but the worldbuilding was intriguing to me and the descriptiveness well-done.

It's a brief game, but I played through it twice and feel there's still more for me to discover.

Ebony & Ivory's Halloween Party, by M. Nite Chamberlain

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
Monster party shenanigans, November 15, 2020
by MathBrush
Related reviews: less than 15 minutes
This is a short, styled twine game about having a party with monsters and you having to find some gourds.

It has a world-model, various characters that can interact with each other, and some items.

Everything's just small. There's very little of interest in the conversational options that don't advance the story, and only a few options do anything.

But this was made in 4 hours, and I'm honestly impressed at how much they packed in in that time. And some of the characters are described very well (especially Orlok and Lycan).

Death Plays Battleship, by Nerd Date Night

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
A short and straightforward game about battling death, November 15, 2020
by MathBrush
Related reviews: less than 15 minutes
This is pretty good for a 4-hour-or-less game. You meet death in some sort of spiritual limbo, and you get the chance to redeem your soul through playing chess.

Instead of placing ships on a grid, your position is pre-selected and your guesses come from a menu. I won the first time I played, but I don't know if it was rigged to always win or if it was just random chance.

There are some interesting thoughts on the freedom of the soul, but I feel like the whole thing could use some more fresh takes. But that's hard to do in 4 hours, so I'm overall pretty happy with this game.

Cabin in the Forest, by willitchio

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
A short choicescript game with elaborate character creation, November 15, 2020
by MathBrush
Related reviews: less than 15 minutes
This is an interesting short game. You have to create a character to run through a short horror story.

But the narrator, Pallas, wants your creation to be incredibly detailed. While each choice has narrow options (as commented on by the narrator), there are many options to be had before the impending disaster.

I liked it. Near the middle, I started clicking fast through several similar/repetitive options, but I think that's part of the experience.

The game overall seems well polished for something made in less than 4 hours. The emotional moments didn't 100% land for me, but it was good overall.

Check Please!, by balt77

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful:
A tiny tale of terror told in a totally typical timeline, November 13, 2020
by MathBrush
Related reviews: less than 15 minutes
This game is essentially a small snippet of a horror story told over 4-6 pages. Like the blurb suggests, it's 175 words.

It's completely linear, but I think the interactivity actually works for it here, as it paces the story well and allows for surprise more than would be feasible in a static format.

My rating system is designed to accomodate micro games, so I'm giving it stars for emotional impact, interactivity and descriptiveness but not for polish (there are typos which, in a 175 word game, should really be easy to fix using grammarly or something similar) or replayability. Even with the typos fixed, I would still give 3 stars, as the interactivity is only okay, not great. But fun little game.

A Very Dangerous Criminal, by C.C. Hill

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
A gory Choicescript game made for Ectocomp, November 9, 2020
by MathBrush
Related reviews: less than 15 minutes
This is a Choicescript game made for the Grand Guignol division of Ectocomp. It's a bloody and violent game about a confrontation in a forest.

I think that every game has different elements that contribute to the overall strength of it. Here's my take on five elements I usually look at in games:

-Polish. This is where the game struggles the most. There are numerous typos and misstatements scattered throughout the text. As an author, and especially as a Choicescript author, I am no stranger to making a ton of typos (I think I had to fix 'its' vs 'it's' 1000 times in my Choicescript game). But websites like grammarly can really help out here, which is what I use, or asking people to look over the text.

+Descriptiveness. This is the game's strongest point. The writing is detailed and vivid. For me, I found it violent and gory in an unpleasant way, but it was only unpleasant because it was so detailed.

-Interactivity: I personally like Choicescript best when it lets you customize who are you in detail or lets you plan out strategies. In this game, choices can be completely arbitrary (like 'go left, go right, go straight') or represent a forced choice where all options are essentially the same (that's not always bad, but in this case you get the same forced choice over and over again).

+Emotional impact: I felt disturbed by the game, which is not an emotion I like or seek out but which succeeds in its goal.

-Would I play again? Due to the content and the polish, I wouldn't do so right now.

Contains strong profanity and gore.

La noche del protector, by Cobra626

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
A gripping supernatural tale about the Spanish Civil War, November 4, 2020
by MathBrush
Related reviews: less than 15 minutes
I went back and forth on this story. At first, I thought it was one of the best stories I've read in a long time, but I think the second half isn't quite as good as the first, and there were a few minor errors (like an uncapitalized 'la' at the beginning of a sentence).

This game is set in the 1936 Spanish Civil War, and you're ordered to bombard a city that is supposedly harboring refugees. Chaos ensues, as well as supernatural shenanigans.

The characterization was amazingly good, and the detail made me feel like I was there. For me, the realistic parts were the strongest, while the supernatural elements, while polished and well-done, were less compelling to me. Definitely felt happy to read this.

De lo que aconteciů a Kanwa Tathimizu, by Ruber Eaglenest

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful:
A poetic and imaginative Texture game about Japanese spirits, November 3, 2020
by MathBrush
Related reviews: less than 15 minutes
This game was entered in Ectocomp 2020.

This is a Texture game, and it presented a double language barrier to me, as it is in Spanish and contains numerous Japanese words as well. So I may have missed out on some of the nuances, but I found it charming and well-written.

The story is about a scholar who is seeking inspiration for a story and so engages in Japanese calligraphy. There are several objects around that can serve as inspiration, each inspiring a sort of reverie or dream that always ends up disturbed by a yokai or Japanese spirit.

I laughed at some parts of it, and was intrigued by others. Parts reminded me of Alice and Wonderland. The multimedia use was lovely. Definitely worth checking out for a chill, relaxing time.

Stand Up / Stay Silent, by Y Ceffyl Gwyn

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful:
Discrimination on Mars, October 20, 2020
by MathBrush
Related reviews: less than 15 minutes
This is a short game with two choices, each one being Ďsupport protestorsí vs Ďdonít support protestorsí (with a middle-of-the-road option in some playthroughs).

You play as someone on Mars who is in a relationship with someone who is either marginalized or very socially active.

I believe that all people are equal before God and I believe that racism is abhorrent. I believer that I am a beneficiary of a system that benefits white people over other races, and that change is necessary and requires personal effort from privileged peoples to stop practices that harm other races and foster those that strengthen them.

But i donít believe the choice structure in this game is an effective way to communicate any of those messages.

As a final note, the game was polished and well-written.

+Polish: The game is thoroughly polished.
+Descriptiveness: It was well-written.
-Interactivity: See my thoughts above.
+Emotional impact: It certainly got a reaction out of me.
-Would I play again? I don't plan on it.

Sonder Snippets, by Sana

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
A short contemplative Twine game, October 19, 2020
by MathBrush
Related reviews: less than 15 minutes
This is a game seemingly designed to be inscrutable. The prose is dense and hard to comprehend, and the structure in the opening sequence is a series of almost randomly highlighted words that lead to musings on those words or the reason you selected them.

Overall, Iím not quite sure if the author succeeded in their goal. Was it contemplation about our place in the universe and its effects? Was it poetry? Was it a meditation on life? Iím not really sure.

And what effect did the Thief have on others? Make them believe only the Thief mattered/existed? Iím not sure what that means.

+Polish: I didn't see any errors.
-Descriptiveness: I found the text vague and imprecise.
-Interactivity: In the first section, it's hard to know what to pick; in the latter portion, there's only one thing to pick.
-Emotional impact: This game didn't land for me.
+Would I play again? I might take it for another spin in the future to get more impressions.

Quest for the Sword of Justice, by Damon L. Wakes

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
Short RPG maker game about genre conventions, October 19, 2020
by MathBrush
Related reviews: less than 15 minutes
This is an RPG Maker game. Its goal seems to be to take genre conventions and turn them on their head.

I guess the real question is, does it succeed? Iím not too concerned about the format, as very little happens in the game outside of the text boxes and the playerís choices. At least in my playthroughs, it always ended after one specific action.

I feel like this is old ground. I swear Zelda games have made the same kind of point going back to the first Game Boy game, and so have many other RPGs (I swear the Soul Blazer trilogy does this at least once). The concluding segment reminded me (in a good way of Chrono Trigger).

It just seems a bit silly. And there are tons of pop culture references, including to Adventure Time and Lord of the Rings. So I just consider it a bit of fun. If anyone finds a Ďcorrect pathí that doesnít lead to the main bad ending, let me know!

+Polish: I didn't find any errors.
+Descriptiveness: There were several funny lines.
-Interactivity: I didn't enjoy slowly clicking through interactions with tons of items, but I also didn't want to miss anything.
-Emotional impact: I kept waiting for the payoff.
+Would I play again? I am interested in finding a better ending.

You Couldn't Have Done That, by Ann Hugo

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful:
An effective short story about an uncomfortable work situation, October 18, 2020
by MathBrush
Related reviews: less than 15 minutes
I had a bizarre moment when starting up this game because it seemed 100% familiar. I thought that I must have beta-tested it and forgot, or somehow seen it earlier.

Then I realized that I had seen it earlier, but in a blog (I assume it's okay to link, as the author links to their blog in the end-credits):

https://annwords.wordpress.com/2020/06/23/what-happened-on-the-12th-of-july-2018/

I remember at the time finding it a traumatic story.

This game is very well-done. It's not aspiring to be an epic game or a involved interactive experience. Instead, its a game that tells a specific short story and it does so very, very well.

You play as a teen who was recently hired at a store in the mall. Work is a little bit frightening (you're young and neurodivergent, as is hinted at), and things start to go off the rails pretty soon.

The interaction is generally a 'continue' link, a choice between two similar options, or links which 'aren't allowed'. Usually, this makes for poor interaction, but in this game, it's entirely the point: feeling constrained, or helpless, or swept up by events.

Multimedia use is subtle and effective. Slight changes in the background color, inconspicuous music. I was thrown off for a second by the fact that all links are approximately the default color for already-visited links (which increased my sense of Deja-Vu) but that was just a small thing.

Overall, great game, 100% effective (for me) in what it was trying to do. Crappy experience, though.

+Polished: Very nice effects, everything worked.
+Descriptiveness: I felt like I was there.
+Interactivity: It contributed to the game's message
+Emotional impact: Definitely!
+Would I play again? Yes, and recommend it to others.

Babyface, by Mark Sample

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful:
A creepy Twine game with excellent visual effects, October 16, 2020
by MathBrush
Related reviews: less than 15 minutes
I enjoyed playing this game after hearing about it from many others.

A shortish Twine story, its main strengths are in its well-wrought writing and its numerous special effects, which include responsive graphics, elaborate text animations (especially the title screen!) and sound. I especially like how it integrated the sound test.

As a story, I was frightened enough by this game that I considered stopping playing (it was close to midnight). As it was, though, Iím glad Iím finished.

A few people talked about the ending not being as strong as the rest. Iím not so sure; horror generally has two endings (hopeful and victorious but at what cost? vs defeat snatched from the jaws of victory), and while this game kind of mixes the two, I donít see that as a bad thing. Itís a game I could definitely recommend to horror fans.

+Polish: Great effects
+Descriptiveness: Very vivid writing
+Interactivity: I loved how responsive the game was to your actions
+Emotional impact: Felt some fear!
+Would I play again? I plan on it.

Sheep Crossing, by Andrew Geng

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
A parser implementation of a classic puzzle, October 15, 2020
by MathBrush
Related reviews: less than 15 minutes
This game is based on the famous puzzle of trying to bring a carnivore, an herbivore and some plant across a river where you only have enough room for one at a time.

It isnít the first time this classic puzzle has been entered in IFComp. In 2007 Chris Conroy entered an Inform implementation called Fox, Fowl and Feed. That game featured several surprises when you tried to implement the classic solution.

This game plays it straight, albeit with some funny messages (like picking up the bear, which is also something you can do in the 1970ís game ADVENTURE). There is one small puzzle beyond the main one, I should add.

My guess is the author wanted to make a game and decided to code it up and enter. And they succeeded in that. The question is, whatís next?

+Polish: The game is generally well-implemented for what's in it.
-Descriptiveness: The descriptions are very plain.
+Interactivity: I was able to carry out my desired solution pretty quickly.
-Emotional impact: I wasn't invested in the game.
-Would I play again? Once was enough.

Move On, by Serhii Mozhaiskyi

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful:
An interesting experiment with single-action puzzles in Twine, October 15, 2020
by MathBrush
Related reviews: less than 15 minutes
This was actually pretty fun, but only because somebody gave me a clue about (Spoiler - click to show)looking at the icon at the top of the screen.

This is a short game consisting of around 10 choices, but the choice is always the same: Move On. In a way, this makes it like the single-action games in the parser world like Lime Ergot, Take, or Eat Me.

But how do you do puzzles in Twine with just a single option? The answer is ingenious: (Spoiler - click to show)there is a moving motorcycle on the top. Clicking before it reaches the end gives you one action, while waiting until it stops gives another. And that's all there is. I love it.

+Polish: The game is smooth and works well.
-Descriptiveness: The text was pretty generic.
+Interactivity: I had fun with the mechanic.
+Emotional impact: I felt excitement.
-Would I play again? I don't think this mechanic would provide a second replay as fun as the first.

Standing on the Shoulders of Giants, by Kenneth Pedersen (as Ilmur Eggert)

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful:
A short linear Inform game about physicists and time travel, October 13, 2020
by MathBrush
Related reviews: less than 15 minutes
So this is an interesting game. Basically, itís a time travel plot involving two of the great physicists in history.

The implementation generally worked well, although it seemed to kind of push me around a lot, especially when entering or leaving the cottage, almost like no direction I went mattered, the game would send me where it wanted.

The writing goes back and forth between very plain and more elaborate. The story is full of grand ideas, but I think it could have used a little more spacing between big reveals.

Overall, though, it was a quick and simple parser game with an interesting concept. At first, I was skeptical that things would have played out the way suggested in the game, but the more I think about it, the more I realize that we donít really know how great discoveries and scientific innovation are pushed forward, and itís difficult to understand why there has been such an acceleration in technical innovation in the last few hundred years.

+Polish: I didn't find any real bugs.
-Descriptivenss: The game was plain in some parts, especially the library.
+Interactivity: While I felt like I was being pushed around, it ended up working out smoothly.
-Emotional impact: I don't think the big reveals 'landed' for me.
+Would I play again? Maybe; it's interesting to see the past tense and third person, and to consider the way it pushes you forward.

The Pinecone, by Joseph Pentangelo

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful:
A very brief game about an odd encounter with a pinecone and a goat, October 13, 2020
by MathBrush
Related reviews: less than 15 minutes
Like many have said, this is quite similar to The Turnip. It's by the same author, they're both the same length, have the same styling, have the same setup. They also feature large and puzzling agricultural specimens and kindness to animals.

Is there some kind of meta puzzle here? I don't think so, judging by opening up the code and peeking at a few of the boxes. In any case, this is fun writing, and slightly more interactive than the other piece. It reminds me of Sub-Q Magazine's pieces before they stopped printing, albeit a little shorter. I'm glad to have it in the comp; it's not the kind of thing that I'd seek out normally, but it's so short and well-done that I happy to see it.

+Polish: Very polished.
+Descriptiveness: I think the writing is very well-done here.
+Interactivity: There's not much, but it's interesting and a little puzzle.
+Emotional impact: I liked it.
-Would I play it again? I think once is enough.

The Turnip, by Joseph Pentangelo

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
A short, poetic story in Twine format, October 13, 2020
by MathBrush
Related reviews: less than 15 minutes
I suppose this game achieves exactly what it wanted to achieve. It took a fairly funny story (in the way that Kafka would write a comedy if the mood ever struck him), added some interactivity and a lot of polish, and turned it into a short game.

The writing is good, the game is short, and thereís not much to do but read it and contemplate. What does it mean? Besides my Kafka comparison, it also reminds me of Regina Spektorís song lyrics.

+Polish: Impeccably polished.
+Descriptiveness: Some of the better writing of the last few years.
-Interactivity: It wasn't trying to achieve it, and it failed successfully.
+Emotional impact: It was thoughtful.
-Would I play again? Not unless I forget it.

SOUND, by CynthiaP

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
A short Twine game about communication, October 12, 2020
by MathBrush
Related reviews: less than 15 minutes
This is a short, mostly linear Twine game with some interesting text effects and, to me, an inscrutable story.

You seem to be some sort of supervisor in an authoritarian system. You are monitoring a woman named Orange who describes the different job placements she has had. She has a stutter.

The story seems almost dreamlike (I think another reviewer mentioned that?) and the very ending used simple twine macros to produce an unusual text effect that provides never-ending interaction.

+Polish: It seems completely polished.
-Descriptiveness: Everything was very vague.
+Interactivity: Although there weren't many real choices, I felt intrigued by the ending.
-Emotional impact: I wasn't able to reach any deeper meaning.
-Would I play again? I don't intend to at this time.

Congee, by Becci

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
A short and sweet story about home, October 12, 2020
by MathBrush
Related reviews: less than 15 minutes
This is a truly lovely game. Itís written in Twine, and is basically a heartwarming short story told with interactivity, animation and sound.

You play as someone raised in Hong Kong now living in the UK. You are sick and wish more than anything you could have some congee.

The choices are more about roleplaying than about strategy, and that works well for me. Visually, the game is gorgeous, with animated line drawings, animated color scenes, and beautiful faux text messages.

I identified with the message of the game as well, even though Iíve never experienced it to that degree. I lived in Manhattanís Chinatown and the Bronx in New York for 2 years after growing up in suburban Utah, and it was a real culture shock. Even now, I live in Texas without anyone nearby, as a single dad. And probably the thing I miss the most was our Sunday Roasts lol. I even cooked one for myself last week in the crockpot and ate the leftovers the whole week.

So, very lovely. It might not place in top 10 due to its short length,but Iíd be happy to nominate it for an XYZZY or two next year.

+Polish: Incredibly well-polished.
+Descriptiveness: I could almost smell the food.
+Interactivity: It gives either choice or the illusion of choice, and both are good.
+Emotional impact: A lot, for me
+Would I play again: Definitely, if I ever get down.

Minor Arcana, by Jack Sanderson Thwaite

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful:
A short branching Twine game about the Tarot, October 11, 2020
by MathBrush
Related reviews: less than 15 minutes
My only real experience with the Tarot deck is from the Deck of Many Things in AD&D and also Stardust Crusaders, so games featuring Tarot symbology significantly always mystify me somewhat.

In this game, you play as a deck of Tarot cards brought to life. You help design your own life story, then make several predictions for others.

Thereís a lot of metafiction here about how we construct our own narratives. It reminds me of the 2015 game A Figure Met in a Shaded Wood as well as SCP-3939, both of which make the shape of the story an integral part of the narrative.

The graphics here look good. The writing is interesting. I felt it hard to either strategize with choices or roleplay as a character, which are my usual two ways of interacting with a game. This game definitely shows a lot of craft, though, and I respect the one who wrote it!

+Polish: It looks and plays great.
+Descriptiveness: The writing is vivid.
-Emotional impact: I wasn't invested in the character, perhaps due to my unfamiliarity with the tarot
+Interactivity: Despite my struggles, the self-referential nature of the game validated my actions.
-Would I play again? Not at this time.

The Shadow In The Snow, by Andrew Brown

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful:
A promising Twine game about a stranded motorist, October 11, 2020
by MathBrush
Related reviews: less than 15 minutes
I taught a summer camp in Twine a few months ago. We spent about a week going over adding multimedia, setting variables, beta testing, etc. They liked it and kept working on games even after the camp, some which were pretty cool and impressive.

This game reminds me of that, the game of someone who has recently learned twine and puts in 10-20 hours of work making a fairly complex game. It has a soundtrack, custom styling, and non-linear puzzles.

It reaches for a few things without quite making it. I vividly remember when I entered my first IFComp game, one of the most famous people in IF made a comment about my game:

"I found *Ether* least effective when it explicitly went for pathos in the writing, because it was asking me to empathize[...]and it hadnít put in the time to build up that empathy."

I was hurt by that at the time, but it's true, and it's true about this game, too. The violence and the blood in the snow aren't as frightening because there wasn't enough buildup. The game is asking us to be afraid or to be disturbed by the death of others, but we know nothing about them.

It wouldn't take a lot to fix that. The difference between an okay story and an awesome story is usually just a few tweaks. In my experience, the best thing to do is just try something, see how people react, and change it if it doesn't work, then repeat. That's why I usually have 10+ beta testers, it lets me work out all the questionable parts of a story before I release it. In this case, if I had to suggest anything specific, I'd give our character some more personality: maybe this is their first cross-country road trip as an adult and they're a little lost and terrified of how dark it is. Maybe they run out of the room at the first sight of blood. If you say something is scary, the reader isn't usually scared. If you say the character is scared, though, then a lot of times the reader will empathize with them.

The puzzle parts of this game weren't too bad. There are a lot of unfair deaths you can't undo, but the game is short enough that you can try over and over again. I still would have liked a few more hints at what works and what doesn't, and maybe expand the story and game a little longer. Overall, I definitely think the author should keep writing; I'll keep an eye out for any future games.

+Polish: I didn't notice any bugs, and the multimedia aspects worked well.
-Descriptiveness: Like I mentioned above, I think the story could use some work.
-Emotional impact: Same as above.
+Interactivity: The puzzle structure wasn't too bad.
-Would I play again? Not at this time, but I would play another game by this author!

Captain Graybeard's Plunder, by Julian Mortimer Smith

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
A fun short game about pirate literature, October 11, 2020
by MathBrush
Related reviews: less than 15 minutes
I was surprised to see this game has no relation to the classic Captain Verdeterre's Plunder, but it's a good name style so it makes sense it would come up more than once.

This is a short Twine game with one big idea and it does it well. You are a pirate captain who has been forced to retire to his library. You have only one plan left: (Spoiler - click to show)to reconstruct a pirate crew and ship from the texts of classic books.

It's a nice concept and the books involved are fun to learn about or to remember. The game is over very quickly, so it's worth playing through while the comp is running just to enjoy some of the fun. This review is brief because there's not much to say that doesn't spoil it.

+Polish: The game looks great and plays well.
+Descriptiveness: Yes; some from the source texts and some from the author.
+Interactivity: It's short but has several interesting options.
-Emotional impact: It was interesting but I didn't really feel invested.
-Would I play again? It's a good game, but I think I've seen enough of it.

The Moon wed Saturn, by Pseudavid

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful:
A non-linear storytelling game with lots of visual polish, October 10, 2020
by MathBrush
Related reviews: less than 15 minutes
I tested this game.

Pseudavid has really turned out to be a Twine master in the last few comps, placing in the top 10 each time and making technically proficient games.

This game is more understated than the other games, but still complex and thoughtful. You, a night guard at a soon-to-be-abandoned housing complex, gets into a fast and stormy relationship with a remarkable woman.

The story takes place over three days simultaneously, with your choices in each day affecting the others (so a choice in the future can be a flashback with affects the choice in the past).

The effects in this game aren't as obvious as in Pseudavid's other games, but the ending I got was very nice. If this game has faults, they lie in it being somewhat opaque or dense, leaving the player to sort through several narrative threads at the same time. But taking that away would fundamentally change the nature of the game, so I'm not sure it's a bad thing.

+Polish: This is what Pseudavid is known for. At least to me.
+Descriptiveness: The characters were so vivid it hurt a little.
-Interactivity: It was hard to figure out what's going on at times. I was a tester, so I had a leg up, but still it was a bit rough for me. Like I said, I wouldn't recommend changing that.
+Emotional impact: I felt very invested in the character I was playing as.
+Would I play again? I'd like to explore other paths.

Mother Tongue, by Nell Raban

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful:
A short but compelling dialogue between immigrant mother and daughter, October 10, 2020
by MathBrush
Related reviews: less than 15 minutes
This game had a ton of buzz on Twitter and received a lot of early reviews, so I was interested in playing it.

It turns out to be really good. Raban seems to have a firm grasp of storywriting and interactivity. This is a perfectly well-crafted game, limited only by its relatively small size. I imagine, though, that many judges will be happy to find a quick and enjoyable game with excellent handicraft.

In this game, you are texting with your mother. You come from a family of immigrants, and your mother decides to try and teach you Tagalog over the phone. She quizzes you on your life and choices while trying to introduce you to various grammatical rules which, of course, you could never absorb in a single sitting, but which she seems determined to impart.

This game uses slow text to good effect, which is really rare. I think the keys are having a very short game with well-defined parameters. Here, we know we're in a text message conversation which can't last too long, and the game is advertised as short. The delays are realistic and not too long.

I think the best part of the game is showing the tension between a mother (especially a southeast asian mother), her desires for her American-raised children and the children's own personality and feelings. I think this is great.

+Polish: Very polished.
+Descriptive: The characters really came alive.
+Interactivity: I felt like my choices really mattered.
+Emotional impact: Felt some tension. Worried I'd say the wrong things.
+Would I play again? Sure!

At Night, by Oscar Martinez

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful:
A shortish multimedia Twine game about demons attacking, October 9, 2020
by MathBrush
Related reviews: less than 15 minutes
This is a fairly short game, and the authorís first game. Because they mentioned trying to learn things, Iíll keep that in mind.

This is a multimedia-heavy game, and it encourages you to use headphones while you play and uses timed text, sometimes fast and sometimes slow.

The game is translated from Spanish, but I didnít notice for a while because itís a fairly good translation. But it needs some more work; when running around the room, for instance, one of the links was Ďpedizquierdaí.

The story is about being creeped out and attacked by a demon at night. Interaction-wise, you have a sort of maze (thatís not really a maze), a couple of Ďguess the right optioní things and some battles.

Knowing your audience is important. A couple of things to keep in mind about IFComp are:

1.The winning games are often very polished, having been worked on for dozens or hundreds of hours. Not every game does this, but
2. Having your games tested is a plus. Having it tested by people whoíve done IFComp before is an even bigger plus. Having it tested by a lot of experience people, responding to their feedback, and improving your game over months is best.

3.Making fun of the player isnít as popular as it once was. For instance, if you choose the wrong thing, the game has the demon say:
I think youíre too stupid for me to feel like playing with you.It was the worst decision you have ever made, but thanks for being so stupid.

As a player, thatís not super fun to read. Itís not horribly bad, and I know itís about the person in the game, but it was my decision, and saying Iím stupid is kind of frustrating.

4. Multimedia and timed text can make a game look a lot cooler, but if you think about, why are people even interested in a text competition? Some people like it because the games are easy to make. Others are blind and use text to speech readers. Some (like me) like having games you can play as fast or as slow as you want, take breaks, play without sound while taking a break at work or at home. So having a lot of your game dependent on keeping up with the text or having to listen intently to the sounds can be hard. Thatís why games like Limerick Quest that have timed text have options to turn it off.

Overall, I think this game shows cool programming and a fun writing voice. Itís okay that it has some faults, because itís your first game. Nothing would be more depressing than having your first game be your best game, because itís all downhill from there. I think of Victor Ojuel and Ruber Eaglenest who both entered IFComp for the first time with games that were heavily criticized. They listened to the feedback, tried again and both placed in the top 10 with excellent games (and Victor has a job as a narrative designer now).

+Polish: There are bugs and typos, but the sound effects and art are fancy.
+Descriptiveness: The game makes its world come alive.
-Interactivity: I was frustrated by having to choose exactly the right option.
-Emotional impact: This game didn't really impact me.
-Would I play again? As it currently is no.

Saint Simon's Saw, by Samuel Thomson

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful:
A unity game with 3d cards similar to the Tarot, October 8, 2020
by MathBrush
Related reviews: less than 15 minutes
This unity game is more of a reimagining of a tarot deck than anything else, like the text describes.

Itís a 3d game with responsive physics. You can pick up a card, place it in the correct spot (or just slop it around), flip it over, flip it over part way.

Cards can be placed in four different positions, and then the game will register the full reading for you.

Itís an impressive use of the 3d engine and the art is great. As a purely narrative game, I didnít feel a strong emotional connection to the cards or the readings. But this will almost certainly be the most technically impressive game I play in this comp

+Polish: Immensely polished.
-Descriptive: I found the card meanings and descriptions fairly vague.
+Interactivity: Smooth and nice 3d interactions.
-Emotional Impact: I felt distanced from the messages of the cards.
-Would I play again? I'm not sure what I could find in it more than I have. Although to be fair I was always leery of Tarot, which this resembles.

Amazing Quest, by Nick Montfort

3 of 4 people found the following review helpful:
A tiny Odyssey game running in an in-browser C64 emulator, October 6, 2020
by MathBrush
Related reviews: less than 15 minutes
Nick Montfort wrote Ad Verbum, a great wordplay game that predates both Andrew Schultz and Emily Shortís wordplay games (but not Nord nor Bert), and has since then done a lot with the intersection between text and software.

I had heard a lot about this game, mostly consternation and mystery.

Iím happy to take this game at face-value. Without digging deeper, this reminds me of ASCII and the Argonauts, but slightly less complex.

In this game, you are presented with yes/no options on what kind of interactions to have with a scrambled group of towns. It seems that there is a pattern on what to do (and I was able to be right more than half of the time, so either there is a pattern or the game is good at making you feel there is a pattern, which thereís not really much of a difference there).

Iíve always had a fondness for little games done well. I came up with my current star-rating system on IFDB just so I could feel consistent giving the tiny micro-game ĎCreak, Creakí and ĎCounterfeit Monkeyí both 5/5.

So, yeah, this is cool. Not what I expected from Nick Montfort, but then again I didnít know what to expect, and this definitely fits his recent work. If more about the game is uncovered, thatís fine, but I kind of like its meditative simplicity.

+Polish: It does exactly what it sets out to do.
+Descriptiveness: I found that it packed in meaning in small chunks.
+Interactivity: I liked discovering the pattern.
+Emotional impact: I'm still pondering on sacrificing to Gods of a dusty planet.
+Would I play again? Yeah, I think I'll take another look at it.

The Cave, by Neil Aitken

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
A small, thoughtful fantasy cave crawl turned into a meditation, October 2, 2020
by MathBrush
Related reviews: less than 15 minutes
When I clicked on Neil Aitkenís website, I saw that he is an accomplished poet, with testimonials by other poets including some state Poet Laureates.

So I was interested to see how the game panned out. Games by static fiction authors are often different from games by programmers-turned authors. (Edit: apparently he was also a programmer before too, which explains the smoothness of the game!)

So this game is a cyclical kind of twine game where you wander around a maze of rooms (different on both of my playthroughs, with about half the rooms the same and the other half different). Itís a cave and itís influenced by standard fatnasy tropes (treasure, magic runes, lizard people, magic pools, etc.) and you can gather various items and use them as well as gathering things like Ďincomprehensible wisdomí which I thought was a nice touch.

Visually, the game uses neon-style text for important nouns, kind of like the neon in Cactus Blue Motel. I found it visually appealing.

This game was polished: no bugs, no typos that I found. Usually first-time game creators tend to have a few unfinished ends here and there (blank passages, macros typed incorrectly), so that was pleasing.

Overall, I would say that the line by line writing was excellent. Iíve found over time in the comp that a lot of people who try to create poetry in IF fail to inspire me, but I was genuinely into the writing here. As an overall story and as a series of interactions, it didnít excel to me; it was competent, but I feel it could have been more ambitious. The same could absolutely be said about my own game in this competition. I would definitely consider this a game for the author to be proud of.

+Polish: The color highlighting around important words is nice, and this game had no bugs or typos that I found.
+Descriptiveness: Lovely writing, very nice.
+Interactivity: The overall structure didn't stand out to me, but the variation and the many ways the inventory can be used was fun.
+Would I play again? Definitely.
+Emotional impact: Yes, a kind of meditative, chill emotion.

Equal-librium, by Ima

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
A short game about the big consequences of small actions, October 2, 2020
by MathBrush
Related reviews: less than 15 minutes
Equal-Librium is a short, replayable Twine game about how our daily choices affect our lives in deep ways, and interesting topic that I had actually been reading about before the comp began.
The game uses complicated styling, like shaking text and some timed delivery (which didn't really annoy me here as it was fairly fast and the game was short). It emulates e-mail systems.
The story is about being a CEO of a company and receiving a bribe offer with ecological consequences. There are several endings with a suggestion to replay.
I found some typos and a broken macro, but the story was interesting.
-Polish: The effects were fancy, but there were too many typos and errors for my liking.
+Descriptiveness: I found the writing vivid and interesting.
+Interactivity: Branches a lot but is short enough to make replaying feasible.
-Emotional Impact: I got where it was coming from, but for some reason or another the message didn't sink in.
+Would I play again? Wouldn't mind giving it another spin to find more endings (already found 2).

Instincts, by Madison Vassari

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
A short branching Twine game about a ritual and your child, August 4, 2020
by MathBrush
Related reviews: less than 15 minutes
This is a fairly-well put together Twine game with background sounds. You are driving down a road late at night, and you need to abandon your child in the woods.

The writing was descriptive and the game was fairly polished, but it felt a little short for the heavy themes being developed, and many choices lead to early deaths, making it more of a gauntlet structure.

As a small, self-contained Twine game, though, I think it's successful. Maybe I just wanted a longer and more involved version of the same story?

"Do Not Meddle", by Teaspoon

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
A clever speed IF about resisting standard parser tropes, July 18, 2020
by MathBrush
Related reviews: less than 15 minutes
This game, made for a Speed-IF and never fully developed, reverses standard tropes. It may not even work as a longer game; as it is, could just use a little polish.

You play as one of/a series of young boys applying to be a household servant. As a 'test', you must resist several things tempting to an adventurer: a key in its lock, a partially-open door, a covered dish, etc.

It's cute and short. There are some bugs and it is not polished, but I enjoyed it.

The Voodoo You Do, by Marshal Tenner Winter

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful:
A well-put together Speed IF with a surprising amount of detail, June 23, 2020
by MathBrush
Related reviews: less than 15 minutes
MTW, the author of this short speed IF, has always had a talent for putting together locations and NPCs. Speed-IFs are usually very sketchy, but this game manages to have a large map, responsive items, good error messages, and even a conversation (which I know from experience is difficult to implement in a short time).

It involves the Voodoo or Voudon religion. While one part of it revolves around the use of (Spoiler - click to show)Voodoo dolls, which just tonight I discover actually originated in European druidism, most of it seems to represent Voodoo beliefs in a fairly accurate and respectful way, the kind of accuracy you'd expect in a game where you visit the Christian heaven.

I think Speed-IFs would be much more enjoyable to play if more of them were this well put-together. I'm not giving 5 stars, though, because even as a speed-IF it still has to compare to longer games.

Please Answer Carefully, by litrouke

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
A short but effective horror game, June 12, 2020
by MathBrush
Related reviews: less than 15 minutes
This game is centered around a survey and uses various literary and programming techniques to establish a creepy atmosphere.

I found it inventive and effective. My ratings are adjusted to the length of a game, so I consider this a 5-star game for a short, under 15-minute work.

Otherwise, I don't want to give away too much. Very fun!

Tallest Trees, by Peter Bates

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
A short fantasy tale with good worldbuilding and the promise of sequels, June 6, 2020
by MathBrush
Related reviews: less than 15 minutes
I rate games on a five point scale. This is a shortish but broad Twine game where you are being hunted by something magical and must use your equipment to survive. It branches heavily, enhancing replayability.

Polish--The art is good, the game seems well-thought out and designed. Pretty good.
Descriptiveness--Very good. I could picture it all in my mind vividly.
Interactivity--It's hard to play without learning by death, so I struggled a bit with this one. And widely branching games are a bit frustrating at times because you have to replay the beginning over and over to see all the different ends, but it's totally a valid stylistic choice.
Emotional impact--I felt moved by the story. I like fantasy, especially TTRPG-adjacent fantasy like this.
Would I play again?--I've already played it a few times, so yes.

Beautiful in His Stasis, by Hannah Nyland

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
An unusual experiment in place and time; horror, June 1, 2020
by MathBrush
Related reviews: less than 15 minutes
This game was interesting.

In initial appearance, you are in a house and have several options for exploring it, with no option allowed twice in a row but otherwise full freedom.

Over time, the game changes in both subtle and overt ways.

It works well technically, and the idea is good, there's just not much of it, and I feel like the concept needed a bit more time to come to fruition.

In any case, the author is clearly good at both writing and programming, so I'd be interested in further games.

Investigative Journalism: A Welcome to Night Vale Fan Game, by Astrid Dalmady

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
A polished and stylish Night Vale-style game with investigation and danger, May 28, 2020
by MathBrush
Related reviews: less than 15 minutes
I grade games on a scale of 5 stars, in the following criteria:

*Polish. This game is very polished, with custom sounds, varying backgrounds and images, complex menus and text input.
*Descriptiveness. This game nails the Night Vale voice and has vivid non-descriptions of real things and real descriptions of non-things.
*Interactivity. I felt like my choices mattered and had consequences. The game wasn't quite linear and not quite lawn-mowery, and I felt good.
*Emotional impact. I felt amused.
*Would I play again? I think I would.

This is a game in which you have to track down The News, a wild beast which has escaped in Night Vale, a town where every conspiracy theory is true.

silences, by beams

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful:
A '2-command' game in texturewriter, April 16, 2020
by MathBrush
Related reviews: less than 15 minutes
This is an odd game. I was excited to see it used texture writer, a system that often produces unusual games.

In texture, you slide 'action' blocks onto 'noun' blocks. This game switches that around a bit, more just sliding one of two nouns (eye, shoulder) onto adjectives and nouns.

It took me a while to figure out the functionality (which is (Spoiler - click to show)'eye' provides a description using several adjectives while 'shoulder' adds the word to a sentence, except at the very end where you get one or more endings.

I didn't really know what to make of it all, but it worked for me, the discovery of the use of the nouns providing the same kind of feel that solving a puzzle does.

My favorite insight was realizing (possibly incorrectly) that the game provides insight into the author's feelings about themself.

Catch That Kitty, by Rohan

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful:
A kind of confusing Twine game about gangsters and...stuff, April 8, 2020
by MathBrush
Related reviews: less than 15 minutes
This seems like a first-time Twine author's game, with at least no broken links.

The writing is rushed and seems untested. Here's a sample:

"He pulls out a big rotten fish and throws at you, it hits at at the head and knocks you unconcious."

There is some funny humor, but a lot of it didn't make sense even as nonsensical humor.

I think this just needs to be heavily revised. At its best, it could end up like the madcap game Escape the Crazy Place, but at its worst it still represents a step forward for the author.

The Golden, by Kerry Taylor

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful:
A very short Twine story with allusive worldbuilding and implied relationships, April 7, 2020
by MathBrush
Related reviews: less than 15 minutes
This short Twine game about some disaster making people not want to go out (at first seeming like Covid, later not so much).

It satisfies my 5 requirements for stars:

-Polished. This has great understated use of color and is organized neatly, with an interesting mechanic at the end.

-Descriptive: The house, people, and items and even mood were palpable to me as I read.

-Emotional impact: I could really feel the emotions the game was pushing out, maybe just because of my quarantine experiences.

-Interactivity: The card game was a nice change, and I felt like my choices in general had some kind of impact, if nothing else than in my roleplaying.

-Would I play it again? I already did. I like the feel of it. Might play it again.

composites, by B Minus Seven

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful:
Classic B-Minus. A short, surreal poem in Twine format, April 5, 2020
by MathBrush
Related reviews: less than 15 minutes
B Minus makes what I would describe as anti-games. Just like Ryan Veeder likes to do counter-culture things like making very elaborate set pieces that are useless in the game or giving anti-climactic climaxes, B-minus likes to have functionality that's not all that functional.

In this case, it seems like the links might have some kind of strategy or purpose, but instead it's more like file folders, with the game ending if you get too deep.

The writing is opaque and symbolic, with elaborate language and constructions. I learned the word "aubade", a poem appropriate for dawn or morning.

B-Minus is an author that either pleases you or puzzles you, but I feel pleased.

GUNBABY, by Damon L. Wakes

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful:
A madcap baby-mecha twine game, April 4, 2020
by MathBrush
Related reviews: less than 15 minutes
This game consists of the following elements:
-Custom graphics and animations
-Custom sounds
-4th-wall breaking goofy storyline
-A baby in a robot suit destroying things

These elements are all good in themselves, but this could have used a few more pass-throughs. The sound is loud and has no visible controls. The choices imply freedom without granting it or even, after choosing, the illusion of freedom. It implies strategization while taking it away.

The concept is funny, and I laughed, though, which is what the author wanted. So I believe that the author has been entirely successful in their goals.

States of Awareness, by Kerry Taylor

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful:
A short, pleasantly surprising short zombie Twine game, April 3, 2020
by MathBrush
Related reviews: less than 15 minutes
This short Twine game has you play as a young character surviving alone after some time of zombie-style apocalypse. You have to make some critical decisions regarding an old acquaintance.

I thought at first that this was just a heavy-handed riff on the coronavirus, but then it took a turn which pleasantly surprised me and which I'd like to see more of in Twine. Thoroughly enjoyable.

The author's conent warnings include profanity and a non-consensual kiss.

Assemblage of Angels, by Els White

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful:
A short fantasy love story about invention and angels, April 3, 2020
by MathBrush
Related reviews: less than 15 minutes
This is a shortish Twine game by Els White, author of the popular Twine game To the Wolves and writer/designer under Spider Lily Studios.

This game isn't meant to be epic, just a simple love story, but it has fairly heavy world-building done through implications. I felt like it explored class politics, transitioning, gay relationships, theology, etc. all in ten minutes.

There are some nice visual effects that add to the play (you literally assemble a visual angel), and I enjoyed the time I spent playing.

Another Love Story, by HťlŤne Sellier

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful:
A charming and chilling story of nature, photography and love, April 3, 2020
by MathBrush
Related reviews: less than 15 minutes
This is a Ren'Py story that uses beautiful photography with a mostly linear story broken up by binary choices.

These binary choices always have an immediate effect, but I don't know if their influence lingers later on.

I love the type of story. It's almost like a romantic version of the Turn of the Screw. The hero is confused, foggy--possibly non-neurotypical. They have someone at home--sister? caretaker? spouse? And they encounter someone in the woods. But who and what are they?

The answers are never fully revealed, but gradually hinted at more and more. I found it effective.

Si j'avais su..., by Eve Mercť

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
An amusing French twine game of unintended consequences, February 23, 2020
by MathBrush
Related reviews: less than 15 minutes
In this game, which has beautiful graphics, you have risen to the throne after your mother was accidentally poisoned by a drunk witch.

You have numerous binary options, and one (or both) options will have humorous, unintended consequences.

It's not too long, but it is polished, descriptive, and amusing. However, I found its interactivity a bit frustrating at times, but I could see my self playing again.

La fťe des rÍves, by Eve Mercť

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
A cute, funny French game about dreams and fairies, February 7, 2020
by MathBrush
Related reviews: less than 15 minutes
I've long enjoyed games about fairies, other worlds, and dreams. This game doesn't branch much, but provides plenty of humor and child-like fantasy.

You play an insomniac who is visited by the dream fairy. The dream fairy attempts to diagnose your insomnia, taking you from person to person to try and find someone who can help.

Raishall, by Jac Colvin

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful:
A short choicescript game with horror elements and moral choices, November 24, 2019
by MathBrush
Related reviews: less than 15 minutes
This is a Choicescript game written in less than 4 hours for Ectocomp 2019.

I had a lot of fun with this one despite its size. The author managed to cram a lot in. There's a 'build your monster' segment followed by a series of moral choices. It provided a feeling of agency beyond its substance and had solid writing.

Loved it! If you want more monster stories from this author, they also wrote Each-Uisge from IFComp 2019.

holloween spookie adventure chapter 1, by rhl2123

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
The very beginning of a Halloween game, November 23, 2019
by MathBrush
Related reviews: less than 15 minutes
I'm pretty sure this game is the result of someone opening up Quest for the first time, putting in some rooms and an object, and sending it out. Probably a younger person as well.

There's nothing wrong with doing that, but it's not really a game. It's three locations and an item and nothing else. In addition, it's released as the code for the game instead of the finished game itself.

I'm glad the author figured out how to use Quest, and if they want to make longer stuff, more power to them.

Limerick Night, by Pace Smith

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful:
A limerick-styled short horror game, November 20, 2019
by MathBrush
Related reviews: less than 15 minutes
Another Smith limerick game
But this isn't more of the same.
Instead of a jolly
heist or other folly
You're seeking to kill or to maim.

Who then is your target, your foe?
A vampire's the one who must go.
Or 'wampire' I mean
(since that's what my screen
displays as the name of the foe.)

But to my surprise there's a twist!
I had guessed the genre, and missed.
It's truly perturbing
This game is disturbing
So keep it right off your kids' list.

If you liked the Heist game, here's more
That also deserves a good score.
The writing's well done
I found it quite fun
So I'll give this short game a 4.

(Edit: improved with suggestions from A. Schultz).

The Village, by Helene Vitting

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful:
A story about a terrifying small town, November 19, 2019
by MathBrush
Related reviews: less than 15 minutes
This game has you travelling to live in a small village where electronics are banned, church is every night and the rules must be enforced.

This is a common theme in horror (like Midsommar), and this pursues a lot of those tropes.

I found the story interesting and exciting. The formatting threw me off, since the paragraphs sort of ran together. All in all, though, it was a fun short horror experience.

The Reptile Room, by Elizabeth Smyth

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful:
A short speed-IF twine game with a surprising amount of worldbuilding, November 18, 2019
by MathBrush
Related reviews: less than 15 minutes
This game is very small, smaller than almost all the Twine games in IFComp. Made in 4 hours for the speed competition known as Ectocomp, it seems the author spent most of the time working on polished writing and world building.

I think it was very successful. I found myself repeatedly surprised as I read, each time realizing how the surprise connected with proceeding material. The author does an excellent job of choosing what to reveal and what to imply. I'd give more details, but it's better to just play it yourself!

There's some violence and brief strong profanity.

O Verbo, by Janos Biro

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
A charming short creating tale with a difficult puzzle in it, November 16, 2019
by MathBrush
Related reviews: less than 15 minutes
This Portuguese game is a nice, compact Twine game about creating something when you are an omnipresent, solipistic being. There are a lot of options, and the consequences of them can be unexpectedly amusing and spot-on.

Many options lead to a sort of puzzle, which gives you more and more hints. I had difficulty with this, especially due to the language barrier.

Overall, the writing and the interactivity was very satisfying.

American Maniac, by MelonPro

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful:
A bloody and violent short Twine game, November 14, 2019
by MathBrush
Related reviews: less than 15 minutes
In this game, you are a maniac who shoots all of their enemies with a shotgun at a party.

Half of the game is devoted to saying why you hate people, and the other half is devoted to gruesomely describing the blood and guts that come out when you shoot them.

Their are numerous typos and errors. Given its poor taste, I cannot recommend this game. Even if it's somehow a parody, a non-American's perception of Americans, I think it could have been done less offensively.

Crumbs 2: The Will of the People, by Katie Benson

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
A short Twine depiciting a near-future Brexit scenario, November 12, 2019
by MathBrush
Related reviews: less than 15 minutes
Katie Benson has a specific genre of games she makes that work pretty well. They are Twine games with some light styling and multiple endings, with a branch-and-bottleneck structure.

Structurally, they're all very similar, but Benson has done a lot of exploration of controversial topics, innovating in the subject matter portrayed rather than in the mechanics.

This game is a sequel, and has the player working in a food kitchen in a version of Britain where the British Jobs Act has given subsidies to companies hiring British citizens (I think).

I found two different endings. There was one encounter that occurred twice in the game with identical language (Spoiler - click to show)(talking to the cop), but it was otherwise a smooth experience.

The Crimson Terrors of Delamay Manor, by Logan Noble

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
A short Lovecraftian Halloween tale, November 12, 2019
by MathBrush
Related reviews: less than 15 minutes
I've rated this game on my 5 point scale:

Polish: The red color on the choices is a nice effect, but typos and grammar problems drag this point down.

Descriptiveness: Very good! Lots of vivid images here.

Interactivity: The available choices felt pretty satisfying, especially for such a short game!

Emotional Impact: The shortness and over-the-top-ness limited the emotional impact for me.

Would I play again?: I tried all the options, and I think I've seen everything I need to here.

Edit: Overall, I would say that all of the problems could be fixed by having more time. As a Speed-IF, this is good!

Wild Party, by kunludi

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful:
A bilingual javascript game with some inventory management and conversation, November 11, 2019
by MathBrush
Related reviews: less than 15 minutes
This one was a hard one to score. One of its main features is language. It's bilingual, and part of a project that produces multilingual games, which is something I support.

This means that many of its language errors come from incomplete translation, which means I'm more inclined to go easy on them. The most egregious error I saw was an entire passage in Spanish included in the English version (I'm sorry, I don't remember which passage it was!) There are other errors as well.

The system is interesting. Functionally, it's very similar to Ink: text continually scrolls downward, instead of replacing like Twine, and you either click a 'more' button or select from a menu of choices.

However, it's not actually Ink, I think, and seems to be a custom system that needs some work. Ink and Twine have me used to lovely little transitions between text (not slow fade-ins, but quick scrolling animations and so on). This game just adjoins the new text quickly.

Similarly, punctuation (like ---) are used for line breaks instead of nice horizontal lines. These are all things that can be added to over time.

Storywise, there's an interesting plot about abducted Russian scientists and bizarre experiments. But I was so caught up in the new system and multilingual aspect that I didn't have a chance to immerse myself in it as much as I'd like.

Whole Souls, by Drumclem

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
A space horror tale with great elements that don't blend well, November 10, 2019
by MathBrush
Related reviews: less than 15 minutes
I've played this game 4 or 5 times now, trying to find if I've missed something important (and if I have I'll update this review!)

You are in space, having a family dinner on Halloween through a videocall. You can guide the conversation as your family clashes with each other over things like religion and politics.

Then something happens, and the game takes a more linear turn, then ends.

The twist involves several elements, and I just don't see how they all connect together. I'm a fan of leaving the most frightening parts of horror as mere suggestions, but we have so many things here: (Spoiler - click to show)a time loop, suggestions of being an android, government conspiracy, mind control taken from Bioshock. Each part is great, and the writing is good, but how does it all tie together? The simplest explanation is that (Spoiler - click to show)you are an android and your 'family' has always been fake, and your programming gets reset. But then why change the clocks? Isn't accurate timekeeping important in space? And why have the elaborate video call setup at all?

Mindful, by Ian Michael Waddell

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful:
A short Ectocomp game about a heart warming cooking blog, November 10, 2019
by MathBrush
Related reviews: less than 15 minutes
This Twine game has an interesting accretive feature: you build a blog post paragraph by paragraph by making different selections (such as for the name, etc.).

It's all fairly mild stuff, but the fact this game has content warnings should let you know it can't last forever.

Presentation is nice and smooth. Good for a quick bite.

Let's Play: Ancient Greek Punishment: The Text Adventure, by Pippin Barr

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful:
An amusing short mythology game with a couple of errors, October 11, 2019
by MathBrush
Related reviews: less than 15 minutes
This is a fun little game. You're dead, and you essentially have the option to pick your own punishment.

It draws heavily on Greek mythology with a little swerve into mathematical history. I laughed. I cried. It was fun.


The implementation could be a bit better. (Spoiler - click to show)X LIST or X CHECKLIST didn't work, but X CLIPBOARD did (which I know was highlighted, but LIST is a reasonable synonym). When I did X NOTE as Tantalus, it said 'Do you mean the nothingred post-it note or the blue post-it note?'. POUR WATER INTO BASIN didn't work as Danaid (although again, it was a different command than the note suggested).

A Blue Like No Other, by Dan Cox

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful:
Some interesting ideas but not really sure where it's going., October 9, 2019
by MathBrush
Related reviews: less than 15 minutes
This game has a retro-looking font. A button on the lower right titled 'messages' tells you that it was found on some old floppy disks.

The idea is that you're supposed to be able to click on certain words related to grammar lessons in the text on the lefthand side of the screen. I opened up the game in twinery to verify this, and there is code there for it, but it didn't work for me on Chrome.

Essentially, there are 6 'grammar lessons' but they are just an excuse for the creator of the software (in-game) to publish chunks of her novel.

Overall, it's interesting, but it's short, and it just kind of peters out. The chrome bug made the interactivity and polish just not there for me.

The one thing I did like was the writing in the actual novel. It was descriptive and interesting.

Out, by Viktor Sobol

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful:
A charming little game that takes an idea and runs with out., October 7, 2019
by MathBrush
Related reviews: less than 15 minutes
This game meets my criteria for five stars:

Polish: I found no bugs, and everything ran smoothly. The game logic was sound.

Descriptiveness: I learned new things. I was intrigued by the game in ways that bled into real life.

Interactivity: This game explores parser space in a way that (Spoiler - click to show)Take, The North-North Passage, and Lime Ergot did. These games take the player-parser interaction and do 'variations on a theme' like composers.

Emotion: I felt a warm glow.

Play again: Sure!

Sobol's been reviewing games for at least 5 years, it's high time he post one of his own. This is a lovely game.

Eldritch Everyday: The Third Eye, by Norbez

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful:
A slightly buggy but compelling Twine game about a surreal horror, October 7, 2019
by MathBrush
Related reviews: less than 15 minutes
This game is currently broken. I don't think it will always be that way, and I'd be happy to change my review if that changes.

You play as a character who experiences a life-changing event that results in the implantation of an alien presence. You shift back and forth between a real world and an alien, and between linear parts and puzzle parts.

There is some strong language. I'm loving the storyline here and would love to see this fixed.


Edit:

The author has made several improvements, although it's not perfect. I completed all three chapters this time, and I really felt a connection with the author. The feeling of impending doom that cannot be escape is truly a relatable feeling after I faced a difficult job search this year.

I love dark, psychological/surreal settings, and this story called to me. Some small things still need tweaking, however.

For the Cats, by Lei

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful:
Rescue the cats!, October 7, 2019
by MathBrush
Related reviews: less than 15 minutes
This polished but small Ink game has you trying to rescue 7 cats from a cruel breeder.

You have three different places you can go to earn 'coals', the currency in the game. Each cat costs 3 coals.

There are many ways to get money, including some dark paths, some scientific. While the game is very short, it has 10 different endings, and is worth replaying a few times.

I may have given an extra star just because I love cats. But what's wrong with that?

The Legendary Hero Has Failed, by Tom Martin

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
Majora's Mask fan fiction with timed Twine events and friendship, October 7, 2019
by MathBrush
Related reviews: less than 15 minutes
This is one of two clear fan-fiction games this comp (the other being one set at Hogwarts).

This game is based on the Zelda game Majora's Mask. You and your buds are NPCs in that game, and since the moon is going to kill everyone, you sit on a hill drinking beer, shouting at the moon and waiting for the world to end.

It has some good animations, and some interesting text effects (such as giving you a five minutes time limit). It has some strong profanity. I found it descriptive and enjoyable.

Lucerne, by Dimitri Kaviani

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful:
A great story with no interactivity and some typos, October 7, 2019
by MathBrush
Related reviews: less than 15 minutes
This is a mid-length story, kind of between a creepypasta and fable in tone, presented as a completely linear story with a single link on each Twine page.

It has a few typos: wading instead of fading, for instance.

So the interactivity, polish, and replay value are low here.

But I liked the descriptions. Not everyone will like this story, but I have a very specific niche that I like, which is games/stories where you are transported to a dark shadow world and must conquer it with the power of light. (Eidolon, Kingdom Hearts, Zelda: A Link to the Past, Twilight Princess).

This seems like it's drawn from some game design, though. It mentions stuff like 'a ladder 30' above you', 'a 10' monster', 'a 10' globe of light'. The character (in this completely static story) collects globes of light to upgrade their weapon.

So, it's interesting, and weird, but I enjoyed the story.

Break Stuff, by Amy Clare Fontaine

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful:
A powerful game about destruction and catharsis, October 7, 2019
by MathBrush
Related reviews: less than 15 minutes
There are some things that definitely need trigger warnings, and the warning for this game is self-harm.

(Spoiler - click to show)This game uses bare styling in Twine, but it's text layout, pacing and link structure are very polished. The writing is descriptive, with some profanity appropriate to the situation you're in. I felt strong emotions during this, first feelings that drew me in and helped me identify with the character, and then feelings of horror as I chose the 'bad' choices later involving self-harm. I didn't know it would be that bad, which perhaps is how the protagonist feels.

A powerful game.


Rip Retold, by Hipolito

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
A sweet little tale re-doing Rip van Winkle, October 7, 2019
by MathBrush
Related reviews: less than 15 minutes
This game is fairly straightforward design-wise and writing-wise. You are a kid that witnesses a modern-day Rip van Winkle fall asleep.

Instead of focusing on the dramatic event, the game talks about the repercussions over the years, the effect it has on the community.

It's a little too short to become involved with the characters, but I found the whole idea charming and a good reminder of the effects we can have on each other.

Abandon Them, by Alan Beyersdorf

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
An illustrated, short game dealing with the moral choices in Hansel and Gretel, October 6, 2019
by MathBrush
Related reviews: less than 15 minutes
This is an interesting game. It has custom art and animations in the Godot engine. You play as three characters (well, four characters, but two are at the same time) as you go through the story.

It is very short, with just a few screens and one choice per screen.

It's a philosophical game. In the beginning (which I now realize presaged the end), you are asked to abandon the characters as soon as the game is over (hence the name).

I realize now as I write this that (in regards to that ending) (Spoiler - click to show)I was surprised and annoyed that the game just stops in the middle. I wanted to know more. But isn't that the whole point? That I had promised to not care?

So it is clever, but it left me feeling frustrated. Also, I feel like it could do better in its choices; for a few options, none of them were things I'd like to do.

Iamb(ici), by Jo Lourdez

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
Immerse yourself in a world of poetry users, and maybe find a special one, October 4, 2019
by MathBrush
Related reviews: less than 15 minutes
In this game, you play as a new user on a poetry forum. You select from 3 usernames of varying respectability (and they all get commented on). You can then join 4 or so different chat workshops.

Each one has different characters, all reminding me of real-life forum members: the rude ones, the funny ones, the cute ones.

I got the Kanojo ending, which I enjoyed. The game's not too long, but it's replayable and its length suits its purpose.

I didn't feel strongly emotionally invested, but it's polished, descriptive, has good interactivity and I would (and did) play it more than once.

Slugocalypse, by Charlotte Blatchford

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful:
A funny game about giant slugs that ends too soon for me, October 4, 2019
by MathBrush
Related reviews: less than 15 minutes
This is a game that I like, but which I feel could have been quite a bit longer.

It's got fun illustrations, an enjoyable premise (giant slugs attack everything), and the beginnings of inventory- and location-based puzzles.

But then it's over so quickly. It's 10,000 words, and you don't see most of those because it branches a lot.

In a way, it's kind of like Dungeon Detective 1 last year. I liked that game, too, but it was also too short, and the author made a bigger sequel (Dungeon Detective 2) this year that was much longer, and I loved it.

If anything, I just want more of this. Would love to play more games by this author.

The Surprise, by Candy Meldromon

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
A micro-game about an important moment in life, October 3, 2019
by MathBrush
Related reviews: less than 15 minutes
This game reminds me of one I've looked for for years. In 2015, when I started playing IF, I played a parser game where you've just had a fight with your husband, and you eventually find (Spoiler - click to show)a used pregancy test in the trash. It was very short, and it comes to my mind often.

This game is a choice game, but has a similar theme. With only a few links in the game, it manages to be pretty tricky at times to advance the story. The styling has been modified somewhat, most notably by some timed text which is pretty appropriately used here.

It's hard to get emotionally involved in such a small game, though, and there is a tug of war between the puzzly link interaction and the heartfelt story. I feel like the interactivity doesn't pair well with the drama.

In any case, as a person I can identify with this moment and the feelings involved, and it brought back vivid real-life memories. I wish them the best!

Eye Contact, by Thomas McMullan

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
A short conversation augmented by expressive eyes, October 2, 2019
by MathBrush
Related reviews: less than 15 minutes
The concept of this game is clever. You're having a conversation with a friend, and every emotion of the NPC is expressed by a photo of eyes. It's the same person, same pose, but with anger, happiness, sadness, etc. in the eyes.

It's very effective, kind of how emojis help express emotion in texts.

The one drawback in the interactivity and emotion of it is that it all seems a bit shallow. The story is toothless, a frivolous problem with hints at relationship issues. This same technique with a deeper story (not necessarily longer) would be splendid. As it is, it's presented in a very polished and well-done manner.

Yellow Dog Running, by Sam Kabo Ashwell

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful:
A terse, symbolic dark Speed IF game, August 26, 2019
by MathBrush
Related reviews: less than 15 minutes
Sam Ashwell's games always seem to be from a parallel universe where IF developed in wildly different directions. They don't 'fit in' with usual IF tropes.

In this game which quotes (and reminds me of) T.S. Eliot, you are pursuing a wounded troll across a desert while being pursued by Yellow Dog.

The feel is sort of like a mix between Stephen Kings's Dark Tower and mythology. You encounter a series of obstacles, characters you deal with through menus (reminding me of De Baron. This game reminds me of a lot of things!)

Pure symbolic obscurism can be pretentious or effective. But I'm a sucker for it, so it definitely is 'effective' here for me.

Cat Simulator 2016, by helado de brownie

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
Achieves its aim: to be a small game depicting a cat's life, August 22, 2019
by MathBrush
Related reviews: less than 15 minutes
This game was one of the author's first games, and it is small and simple.

However, it matches my ratings system well. It achieves emotional impact in that it makes you think of being a cat very well. It puts you in the mindset of the cat and all the actions are things my cat does.

It's polished in its smallness, and the interactivity work well, as it doesn't feel like lawnmowering to play and the links are placed well, better than many longer works.

It's also descriptive, and that's 4 of my 5 stars right there.

Sirens in the Distance, by Astrid Dalmady

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful:
A short mermaid story with layers of duality, July 2, 2019
by MathBrush
Related reviews: less than 15 minutes
This game only lasts for about 1000 words, so it's a quick read.

It was made for MerMay, so it makes sense it would be about mermaids. But the title has multiple meanings, and the game itself deals with ambiguity and feeling.

This is a slight snack of a game, but it left a good feeling. It reminded me of my time living in Hawaii, in many ways, although I imagine it more as a cold Atlantic ocean than the Pacific.

Living Will, by Mark Marino

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
A will that can change in real-time. Short choice game, June 27, 2019
by MathBrush
Related reviews: less than 15 minutes
This game features an old man who made a fortune in the Congo. It's set in the near-future, with a variety of corporations mentioned.

It is a short game, with the bulk of interactions taking place near the end of the game. Basically, you can pick which character you are, and raid the shares of the others.

It reacts quite pleasingly. But I noticed that the interactivity was fairly opaque, and the story hard to grasp. Marino's later games feature detailed and exciting stories with clear interactivity, which is a development I'm very happy with!

Sam and Leo Go To The Bodega, by Richard Goodness

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
Munchies simulator, June 26, 2019
by MathBrush
Related reviews: less than 15 minutes
This game portrays two stoners with a friendly relationship grabbing food to eat. There are four aisles in the grocery store, and most of the game involves selecting different foods and seeing what comes out.

It's weird, it's short, but it works. Scattered strong profanity.

The Challenge, by ViRALiTY

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful:
A simple CYOA with now-gone graphics, June 26, 2019
by MathBrush
Related reviews: less than 15 minutes
I played the archive.org version of this game, which now lacks the original graphics, which I understand were simple 3D graphics.

All that's left is the choice structure, which is meager. You are in a 3d area, and you can turn left and right and go up stairs. I played another game recently using Unity that had similar mechanics, but I can't find it now. (Maybe from Introcomp 2019?)

The game ends after a few moves. Pretty disappointing.

PTGOOD 8*10^23, by Sartre Malvolio

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
Short and stupid, both on purpose, June 26, 2019
by MathBrush
Related reviews: less than 15 minutes
Sometimes I find purposely bad games charming, and others have found this one so in the past, but I think it's just dumb. Especially since you have to open a window in the first room to make a later exit work, for no reason at all!

All you do is explore a lab to find and kill Slan Xorax (an alias for Jonathan Berman). Not much else here.

Wumpus Run, by Elfindor

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful:
More fun than I thought it would be, June 26, 2019
by MathBrush
Related reviews: less than 15 minutes
Wumpus is an old game, and Andrew Plotkin had long since done an amazing remake of it by this point (Hunter, In Darkness). But this Adrift game was surprisingly fun.

You wander through a pretty bad maze (although you can find a nice, hand-drawn map), avoid obstacles, and try to kill the wumpus and escape.

I won on the second try after about fifteen minutes or so.

Simple Adventure, by Paul Allen Panks

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
A regular old Panks game with the same old stuff in it, June 26, 2019
by MathBrush
Related reviews: less than 15 minutes
Paul Panks made one pretty cool game, and then made a ton of little games which are all very similar.

When I started this up, I thought, "I wonder if I'll be in a village with a 2-floor tavern and a church." Lo and behold, I started in a two floor tavern next to a church. Is my first enemy a hellhound? Yep. Then I fought a dragon. That was new. But the game was over after that.

Not much here, but at least it all works together as long as you're familiar with Panks' style (GET, not TAKE, and WIELD weapons and WEAR armor).

PTBAD6.5: The URL That Didn't Work or Have You Seen the Muffin Man? He Is Quite Large, by Jonathan Berman

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful:
Fails at being a horrible game, June 22, 2019
by MathBrush
Related reviews: less than 15 minutes
In the PTBAD series, which is generally an ill-conceived series of intentionally terrible games, this one manages not to be too terrible. It has generally smoothish implementation, not-too-hard main puzzle, and a poem that has crosses the line from awful to sublime.

Uses Adrift 4.0.

The Storm, by Stephane F.

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful:
Brief, unusual existential horror, June 20, 2019
by MathBrush
Related reviews: less than 15 minutes
I played the French version of this game before. I like this game, it calls to my exact sort of tastes in games. But it may not call out to everybody. It's like Cannery Vale, which is one of my top 10 games of all time but which didn't win IFComp, or Creak, Creak, a tiny game by Chandler Groover.

In this game, you wake up in the middle of the night to strange sounds in the garden. You can explore your house, but everything seems off.

Great for fans of existential horror. Very short parser game.

SCP-3939 [NUMBER RESERVED; AWAITING RESEARCHER], by Croquembouche

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
A short self-referential narrative describing an anomaly, June 13, 2019
by MathBrush
Related reviews: less than 15 minutes
This game is short but satisfies all of my requirements for 5 stars:

Polish: This game has a custom format with well-designed buttons and overall CSS and layout.

Descriptiveness: There are several characters who are described in exquisite detail (or not, with good reason), and the location and item descriptions were evocative.

Emotional Impact: I could really identify with the researcher and the anomaly. The final description complemented the main narrative in an excellent way.

Interactivity: This game allows quite a few paths, but is self-deprecative. It says: (Spoiler - click to show)This may be a multiple-choice story, but there's no multiple endings. If you pick the wrong options, the story has to pretty much drag you to me so we can have this little chat. You see, fundamentally, this just isn't a good multiple choice story. That's not what it is. It was never supposed to be that. A good multiple choice story has decisions, it has character development, it's got different pathways to get to different goals and most importantly it's got replayability. There just has to be at least one ending where you die. It's a game, and there's a different way to play every time. This is not a game. These are special containment procedures. And these procedures make a very bad game, but they do a very good job of containing me.

Coincidentally, I disagree with the game's self-identification as a bad game and with its overall design philosophy. The material in the spoiler is only one way of doing things.

Replay: I enjoyed this both times I replayed it.

CRY$TAL WARRIOR KE$HA, by Porpentine

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
A violent and sexual metaphor-ridden game centered on glam and Kesha, June 13, 2019
by MathBrush
Related reviews: less than 15 minutes
This is one of Porpentine's games that highlights one fact of her games (especially her early games) more than any other work of hers: intense, destructive femininity. This is explored in other works, especially Cyberqueen and With Those we Love Alive, and, well, all of the other works, but it is the lifeblood of the game.

This game centers on being Kesha, infused with powerful glitter and mascara, driving vehicles named after genitals and destroying hater-men in a techno-cyber-surreal-sephora mashup.

It's more gruesome and sexual than I like, and Porpentine herself seems more toned down now. But the production values are really excellent. Few people, perhaps none, have managed to extract as much presentation value out of Twine's basic features.

The Train, by Obter9

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
A short twine game about a train, amnesia, and identity, June 13, 2019
by MathBrush
Related reviews: less than 15 minutes
There is a curious sub-genre in interactive fiction about surreal games on a train. There is something about the train as both metaphor and as a constrained, linear, isolated space that makes it ideal as both a narrative setting and a game setting.

Combined, then, these make for a perfect combination when it comes to interactive fiction.

As a standalone game, this one is short and trope-reliant but well-paced and compelling. You wake up with amnesia, opposite an old woman on a train. The game doesn't last long, but choices you make matter.

An interesting short read on a lunch break.

Almost Goodbye, by Aaron A Reed

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
Procedural generation, loss, and relationships, June 13, 2019
by MathBrush
Related reviews: less than 15 minutes
This game would be a 3 star game if not for the highlighting.

Visually, it's presented beautifully, with background images, multiple textured text boxes, and UI options.

Structurally, as a standard choice game, it leaves a lot to be desired. You have a menu of people and a menu of places, and take turns picking one then the other. For each pairing, you have a binary option or two. There is a lot of text per choice.

But with the highlighting on, you can see the trick of this game: some of the game is procedurally generated. Not in the sense that the game uses predetermined text replacement based on your choices, but in the sense that there is some kind of corpus generating new sentences.

Is this useful for the game? It's cool to see your choices produce new things. But a hand-written sentence would likely be just as good or better, which is the perpetual problem of procedural generation.

Still, the highlighting gave me a sense of involvement, and the overall story was dramatic and touching.

Cup of Frost, Palm of Gold, by Emma Osborne

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
A polished fantasy/mythology twine game with extreme branching, June 12, 2019
by MathBrush
Related reviews: less than 15 minutes
I saw this game a few months ago, and I was pretty impressed. It has a beautiful story to tell.

The format is large pages of text with 2 choices at the bottom. The choices split quickly, so you get very little of the game in each playthrough. However, replay is quick and enjoyable. I've seen 3 endings.

The idea is that 4 siblings are chosen every few decades to become demigods corresponding to the seasons. You can choose summer and winter, love or war, peace or sadness.

I do wish their was less extreme branching, with more of the main story in each playthrough, and that it was easier to make decisions based on a strategy, but this is a stylistic choice.

Haywire, by Peregrine Wade

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
A great superhero game divided into many small branches, June 9, 2019
by MathBrush
Related reviews: less than 15 minutes
This game could have been more accessible and/or popular with some design changes. It suffers strongly from ďTime CaveĒ effect. Instead of having an overarching narrative, itís made of a dozen or more distinct threads with very little in common. It branches wildly.

Each playthrough is, to me, a 3-star game. But the whole story is pretty cool. I discovered stuff on my 4th and 5th playthroughs that changes the whole story (although I am ever an enemy to slow-text in IF games ).

I could see this game having been made slightly more coherent, with some of the best scenes always occurring.

But this could all be down to authorís choice. Did the author want most of the game to be hidden away as a reward for the careful reader? Thatís a valid design choice, limiting the number of people who enjoy the game but increasing the joy in those who do. Hanon Ondricek has many games in that style in the past, but heís now done stuff in many styles.

Anyway, this is a pretty cool superhero story.

Time Passed, by Davis G. See

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
A short, intense twine game about a relationship over time, June 1, 2019
by MathBrush
Related reviews: less than 15 minutes
This game is fairly short, and can be completed in 4-6 clicks. Each page has some Ďasidesí that take you into a few paragraphs from your past, and one Ďreal linkí that takes you to the next page. The shortness, combined with the absence of strong choices, are why Iím taking a point off. The styling is spare, but color transitions and positioning of various link types show signs of careful thought and polish.

Otherwise, this is an emotional short story about a school crush and a chance to meet them after many years, one complicated by gender preferences.

Itís hard to go into more detail, because thereís just not that much there.

Careless Talk, by Diana Rider

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
A slight game with a heavy message about discrimination, May 27, 2019
by MathBrush
Related reviews: less than 15 minutes
This game is short and mostly linear. Many choices that are presented, in fact all, it seems, either don't actually work (your character can't choose them) or has no effect.

Within that short time and constrained play system, though, the author manages to build up an entire world and vividly describe a wide variety of characters. I felt emotionally invested in the game.

I'm not sure that this game would be better serviced by being longer. It has a short tale to tell with a clearly defined narrative arc.

The general idea of this is bigotry, and features a world where magic blends with the era of British sailing ships and naval domination.

I'm taking off two stars, one for interactivity (I feel like the game could have at least remembered a bit of our earlier choices, like the way we handle the bigoted crewman), and one because it has little replay value. It's been over a year since I played, and I remembered the entire game when I just replayed it, finding nothing new. Perhaps this is actually a good thing, a story so vivid it's seared into your brain? But 3 stars is where I'm leaving it for now.

Dreamland, by Tatiana Statsenko (as eejitlikeme)

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
A small series of dream vignettes , April 21, 2019
by MathBrush
Related reviews: less than 15 minutes
This game is fairly simple, but a pleasant way to pass the time.

You are given warnings about how what you do before bed affects your dreams. Then you fall asleep.

You experience 3 dream vignettes, one with a puzzle, one with little agency, and one with a few moral choices. The order you experience these vignettes in depends on your earlier actions.

This game would be good for an interactive fiction class to analyse, because it has some delayed branching, a variety in choice structures, and is small enough to digest.

However, the game itself isn't strongly polished. I had the impression of grammar mistakes at times, and the visual presentation could be developed more.

The Ballroom, by Liza Daly

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful:
A brief demonstration of an innovative method for changing a story, April 20, 2019
by MathBrush
Related reviews: less than 15 minutes
Liza Daly has come up with quite a few ways of presenting stories in the past, including complex parser games, the precursor-to-Twine game First Draft of the Revolution (in tandem with Emily Short), and the Windrift engine.

This game builds on that earlier material. It is very short, finishable in 5 minutes (unless I missed something major!).

Basically, there is a sequence of choices in the story, each of which can be revisited at any time. There is a bit of hysteresis, a term Emily Short has used before to describe how doing and undoing choices doesn't just put you back where you started, but has lingering effects.

a short walk in the spring, by Amorphous

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful:
A partially-random walk in the forest, April 20, 2019
by MathBrush
Related reviews: less than 15 minutes
This was an interesting game. Perhaps the most interesting part was the author's afterword.

The idea is that you set off to several journeys that are procedurally generated. Along the path, you can control how surreal the messages are by staying on the path or wandering away.

Much of the conversations at the end of each journey were repetitive, which the author states is a bug. It gave an interesting effect, though, almost like a dream, a ghost conversation, or a fading memory.

Writing Program Five, by Dan Cox

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful:
An intriguing experiment that is at times confusing, April 14, 2019
by MathBrush
Related reviews: less than 15 minutes
This game is a sort of meta-commentary on writing and the nature of writing, technology, and maybe a bit of Sci-Fi.

It's format is essentially that of a cited and annotated series of paragraphs, each on separate pages. The presentation is slick, handling different browser sizes adeptly.

There is an extra layer to the game allowing you to access a command prompt with a few actions.

This game constantly hints at their being more, but I felt like that promise never materialized. That may be part of the point, but I feel that somehow just a couple of small tweaks here and there could have made everything gel for me.

Dashiell Hamlett: The Blue Dane Meets the Black Bird, by Tony Pisculli

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful:
A deconstruction of Hamlet in Ink, April 14, 2019
by MathBrush
Related reviews: less than 15 minutes
More than any other piece of Western literature, Hamlet has been mangled up and mashed and transformed, from Hamletmachine to Lion King. But it makes sense, because it's a compelling story.

This version is a mashup between The Maltese Falcon and Hamlet. It borrows heavily from noir tropes, to the point of parody, but it also features heavy elements of surrealism.

This is a short, linear game that maintains an illusion of slightly less linearity.

It's an interesting concept. Some of the surreality was hard to distinguish from bugs at first, and this created a kind of disconnect between me and the interaction.

Our Darkest Thoughts, by Jesse Villa

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
A short Twine game about identity and depression., April 8, 2019
by MathBrush
Related reviews: less than 15 minutes
This short Spring Thing game is in the genre of text games that take a major issue confronting humanity and explore it through a player's story. In this case, it reflects depression.

You wake up in the dark, forced to rely on sense besides sight to discover more about yourself.

This game is dark, literally and metaphorically. It allows you to do anything you set your mind to.

I felt like the game's mild puzzles contributed to a sense of agency. But somehow I felt an emotional distance from the game, perhaps because of my personal feelings regarding the subject matter.

Darkness, by Jeff Schomay

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful:
A short contemplative metaphor game based on the new Elm Narrative Engine, April 7, 2019
by MathBrush
Related reviews: less than 15 minutes
This game is designed to showcase the Elm Narrative engine. Although it's not the first game written in the engine, it's the first I've seen.

This engine is based on the Elm programming language. From what I've seen of the engine, it features less emphasis on branching and more on context-sensitive choices (which would be useful for inventories and such).

In-game, the same link can have multiple effects depending on when you click them. Because the links can scroll out of view, there is a handy top bar listing all active links. This gives an experience somewhere between Twine and Robin Johnson's Versificator engine (which the author praises in an early dev blog).

There was one critical issue that cause me trouble. Due to the large font size, I usually had to rely on the bar, and the bar wasn't always there. I had to tap the up arrow to make it appear. This was the case in both Chrome and Firefox. I know this is just an option in the engine, as the other sample games use a constant menu bar.

Everything else about the engine was smooth and enjoyable. I could see this engine gaining wider adoption.

As for the game itself, it is a metaphorical game about the pursuit of light and darkness. It's short, contemplative, and even melodic at times. I had difficulty making an emotional connection, though, which may be related to my interface frustration.

Quiet, by Martyna "Lisza" Wasiluk

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
A contemplative game about the role of words vs expressions in conversation, April 7, 2019
by MathBrush
Related reviews: less than 15 minutes
This game joins the growing sub-genre of twine games where you express yourself with emojis (including 10pm, a recent French IFComp game, and parts of Known Unknowns).

The author speaks about being a quiet person and the game forcing you to consider the effects of that. That's an angle I really haven't seen explored before, and it was telling.

I found the game frustrating, because I couldn't guess the effects of my choices. But maybe that's the point? Intentional frustration for the player, depicting the problems quiet people unwittingly cause? If so, it's quite clever.

I Will Be Your Eyes And Hands, by Cam Miller

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
A short, thoughtful and polished take on dystopia, April 6, 2019
by MathBrush
Related reviews: less than 15 minutes
This game is a take on dystopia in the well-trodden vein of Kafka and Orwell, but I think it does well, mostly due to pacing and attention to graphical detail.

This game is more of dynamic fiction than puzzle. The interactivity is there to draw your participation in the story, and it does a good job of that.

smooch.click, by Devon Guinn

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
A short game about kissing with great design obscured by the execution, March 12, 2019
by MathBrush
Related reviews: less than 15 minutes
This is a simple game. It's a random kissing simulator. Input gender, then make some atmospheric real-time twine choices about your feelings, then kiss. Over in 5 minutes.

Reading the documentation and looking at the game structure, though, it's clear there's a bit more here. The game does some state tracking and the best endings are hard to find. Reading the source code, I find the worst endings (found by (Spoiler - click to show)Making choices that increase anxiety) highly amusing.

But finding these endings isn't even possible sometimes due to RNG, and the game doesn't do a stellar job of giving you feedback on your choices.

But perhaps this is an intentional choice? A way to model the inherent uncertainty in romantic relationships?

In any case, this is a fun game to poke around with, especially if you look under the hood. Good styling, too.

+ = x, by Chandler Groover

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful:
A twisted Texture tale. Short and obscure, a sci fi story, March 12, 2019
by MathBrush
Related reviews: less than 15 minutes
This was a controversial IFComp game. Chandler Groover, known for writing well-received games with dense, descriptive writing, released a short and cryptic game for IFComp.

After listening to the author talk, and playing it myself, I now think I know what it's all about.

The clear part is that there is a fortune telling machine. People are 'added', which summons them to the machine. There, they are either equalized or multiplied.

After finding the easter egg, I realized on my most recent playthrough:

(Spoiler - click to show)The fortune telling machine is the engine for a spaceship/planet. Each person who is 'multiplied' is erased from existence. The energy from erasing them is used to rewrite the timeline to one where the planet is in another space. Movement by not moving, just changing the timestream.

Figuring this out made me like it more, otherwise I'd give it a 3. Nice presentation and good use of the Texture format.

I still don't know what being Equalized means.

LET'S ROB A BANK, by Bethany Nolan

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
A minimal heist game in Twine with strong characterization, February 18, 2019
by MathBrush
Related reviews: less than 15 minutes
This is a shortish replayable twine game where you assemble a team for a heist. You choose people for different roles, such as getaway driver, then see what happens.

It seems like a very branchy game, but a big chunk of branches are eliminated early on by one choice, making it smaller than it seems. The styling is non-existent, using the standard Twine design and formatting.

The characters are memorable, though. It's pretty intense for a humor game, and I played it several times.

Pegasus, by Michael Kielstra

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful:
A short and emotional tale about partners in a futuristic organization, February 13, 2019
by MathBrush
Related reviews: less than 15 minutes
This is a fairly stripped-down parser game, mostly involving linear conversations and simple tasks where you follow orders. The emotions are on-the-nose, and the descriptions are small.

But I liked the game. For my personal, somewhat cheesy style, this game was a great fit. I've played it a couple of times, and I enjoy the relationship it develops.

Panoptique, by Hugo Labrande, Nighten Dushi

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
An illustrated parser game with multiple independent tracks, February 1, 2019
by MathBrush
Related reviews: less than 15 minutes
This French IFComp game was written using Vorple, allowing it to have a dozen illustrations.

In stark contrast to the freedom of parser or the generally linear Twine games, this game has twelve different screens you can pay attention to, each of which has its own timeline. This makes it more like Varicella or Master of the Land, which implement similar parallel timelines.

However, just as with those games, I found it difficult to make and carry out plans.

I believe there may have been an error in the scoring. Despite receiving positive feedback on many of my police reports, and playing through a half-dozen times, my score only went down from 100 out of 1000, sometimes even becoming negative. My final scores were 100, -50, 80, and so on. I checked the walkthrough after and it seemed to say I was doing a good job, so I don't know.

Le jour oý la Terre dťgusta, by Yakkafo

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
An amusing take on alien-human interaction, January 31, 2019
by MathBrush
Related reviews: less than 15 minutes
This game employs two common tropes but combines them in a fun way.

The first is communication using emojis. Like B.P. Hennessy's Known Unkown's and litrouke's 10 pm, you have an array of emojis you can pick from and combine into different emoji sentences.

The second trope is 'aliens communicate and we must decode it', like Contact, 2001, or Close Encounters of the 3rd Kind.

This particular game takes a humorous approach. I was faked out twice at the end, which I enjoyed. I used google translate, as there were many French words I was unfamiliar with.

It's a fairly short game, with 4 chapters and an epilogue, but each chapter being only a couple of choices.

I felt like the game respected my choices and made an effort to be interactive.

Firefly, by Indigo

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
A partially illustrated futuristic sci-fi tale, January 28, 2019
by MathBrush
Related reviews: less than 15 minutes
This is a French IFComp entry, and it worked pretty well for me.

You are a cybernetic soldier who has been massively damaged on the field of battle. You have a screen/HUD sort of thing that you can control (the theme of this year's comp is 'screens'). Clicking on different armor pieces gives you different options.

The storyline, dealing with the aftermath of war, goes in fairly standard directions for sci-fi, but I found the presentation charming and my mangled non-Francophone reading ability found the writing interesting. Slick game, and not too long, for any English speakers trying to get some mileage out of Google translate.

Escape Game, by Bryan

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful:
An incomplete puzzle Twine game from the French IF Competition, January 25, 2019
by MathBrush
Related reviews: less than 15 minutes
This game presented a conundrum to me. As a non-native French reader, I couldn't tell if the lack of punctuation and capitalization was avant-garde or the result of less-than-perfect design processes. However, I reached a point where 2 out of 3 choices lead to death and the third said 'click anywhere to edit this node', so I believe that this is simply an incomplete game.

But the idea of it is fun. It hearkens back to more riddle-based gameplay than most narrative-focused Twine games. You're trapped, and there's a madman with a knife coming to get you. You must find six digits to unlock a door, each digit being given as a reward for a puzzle. Puzzles include logic puzzles, wordplay puzzles, etc.

I would have liked to see this finished and polished. But, in its incomplete state, I can't recommend it.

I Should Have Been That I Am, by E. K. Wagner

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful:
A short game about autonomy and robots with one big moment, January 7, 2019
by MathBrush
Related reviews: less than 15 minutes
Zarf/Andrew Plotkin has said before that he thinks about a certain interaction he wants players to experience in a game, and then builds the game around that.

This game was built around one interaction at the end. Itís a cool interaction, but the rest of the game doesnít do enough to build up to and support this special interaction at the level it deserves. Itís like having a small 1-tier cake with a huge crystal wedding topper that it canít quite support.

The cards were a nice visual feature: this is set in a futuristic Vegas casino, and you can see the cards being dealt.

Overall, this shows a high level of craftsmanship, and I anticipate that a longer game by this author would be great.

Bi Lines, by Naomi Z (as Norbez)

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
A shortish, nice-looking Twine game about bisexuality, January 7, 2019
by MathBrush
Related reviews: less than 15 minutes
Norbez has written quite a few games over the years now, including several IFComp games, and itís clear that their style is progressing, adapting, and improving. This is the best Norbez game Iíve seen, and definitely one of the best ďPSAĒ games Iíve seen. Just like Depression Quest for depression or Hana Feels for self-harm, Bi Lines is meant to help you consider what itís like to be a bisexual man in an unacceptably society.

What made this piece work for me was the presentation. Nice chalk/like effects when you click on choices, smooth writing, and a supernatural setting with a reporter talking to ghosts make an excellent frame over the deeper charcterization choices and the central narrative.

This game takes place over three days, but is still fairly short. It contains some strong profanity in a scene or two. I recommend this game.

Campfire Tales, by Matthew Deline

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful:
A campfire tale with randomly generated elements, November 24, 2018
by MathBrush
Related reviews: less than 15 minutes
This game isn't bad in it's own category, it just happens not to be what satisfies my criteria for stars, which is why it got a low score from me.

This game uses randomization of elements taken from some sort of database (so that figurines might be of monkeys one playthrough or of dogs on another).

The player has some text input, and there are images, but overall it seems like you just get a story to read that you don't have much effect over or investment in.

The game shows a great level of skill, though.

And You May Find Yourself, by VPC

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
An incomplete texture game about a surreal world, November 24, 2018
by MathBrush
Related reviews: less than 15 minutes
In this game, you wake up in the world described in Talking Head's 'Once in a Lifetime' song. You have a beautiful house, a beautiful wife, and none of it makes sense.

This is a texture game, and has great promise. Unfortunately, it is not complete at all.

If you experiment with it, note that it has some sensuous scenes.

Linear Love, by Tom Delanoy

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
A demo for Glyffe, an engine where you physically move through text, November 19, 2018
by MathBrush
Related reviews: less than 15 minutes
This was a game meant to show off a particularly interesting engine, but which may not have been the best choice to show it off.

Glyffe lets you navigate (using arrow keys) around a text on screen, with interactions happening when you run over something. There are interesting Glyffe 'worlds' with red FIRE and grey WALLS and DOORS that you can physically interact with.

But this game is just a long text, where running over a paragraph makes the next pop up. The text is interesting, but the interactivity of this example wasn't sold to me.

Awake, by Soham Sevak

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful:
Part 1 of an AI sci-fi story, November 9, 2018
by MathBrush
Related reviews: less than 15 minutes
This is a short, incomplete science fiction story.

This game has excellent worldbuilding, you can really get a feeling for the kind of place that you're in. It's a high-tech sci-fi scenario.

However, it feels more like a good first effort than anything else. Formatting is kind of off, with no spaces between paragraphs. The clinical tone isn't quite nailed, with first names being used for researchers (like Dr. Sarah and so on).

I believe a further game by this author, with practice and polish, will turn out great.

Dance in Blood, by Intudia

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
A short branching teenage camp horror game, November 6, 2018
by MathBrush
Related reviews: less than 15 minutes
This game is in the Intudia system, which was also used for Addicott Manor in IFComp.

This game is quite short, as is appropriate for the Ectocomp competition. It's also a widely branching game. You are a counselor on a bus trip to a camp. You have about 2-5 choices on any branch.

The story is about murder, supernatural violence, etc. and relies on several stereotypes and tropes of teenage slasher films.

The Magistrate's Chambers, by Stewart C Baker

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
A Chinese literature-inspired short Halloween story, November 5, 2018
by MathBrush
Related reviews: less than 15 minutes
This fairly short Twine story has us playing as a magistrate's assistant, reviewing three different accounts of ghosts by three different characters.

The characters are inspired by the Chinese novel Di Gong An.

I found the setting interesting and the writing well-done. The only real choice was the order of the stories, but there was a bit of a puzzle at the end which I was pleased with.

Please Help Me, by Phillip J Rhoades

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
A promising first entry in the Ectocomp competition, November 4, 2018
by MathBrush
Related reviews: less than 15 minutes
This is the second Ectocomp game I've played by howtophil, and I have to say that it's not as good as his other, and I actually think that's a compliment.

This current game was, as far as I know, the author's first completed work. I remember testing it in the forums. It implements several clever ideas/puzzles, one puzzle in each of four rooms.

However, it sort of attempts too much at once, not leaving enough time and space for careful implementation.

The author's second game in this competition, Wake Up, was written in less time but with more skill. It had a narrow focus, excellent implementation, and a great overall structure. It's clear the author is learning by leaps and bounds.

So I can't strongly recommend this game, but I can recommend Wake Up, and I believe the next games to come from this author will continue to increase in quality.

ZOINKS!, by Elizabeth Smyth

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful:
An entertaining short Twine story based on a classic kids' cartoon, November 3, 2018
by MathBrush
Related reviews: less than 15 minutes
This is a feel-good game, which, as the author pointed out online, is very different from their last game, Bogeyman:

"my entry for ifcomp, which is genre-neutral: "extremely disturbing", "relentlessly horrible"
my entry for ectocomp, which is specifically halloween-themed: light-hearted family-friendly HIJINKS"

This game is based on a classic kids' cartoon, and it holds up well. You have a big, lawnmowery exploration phase looking for supplies before setting up a home alone-like defense.

The game feels slight and smallish, but polished; this makes it perfect for a casual competition like Ectocomp.

The Grievous Miskatonic Modus, by Lynda Clark

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
A Texture Halloween game with some great moments, November 3, 2018
by MathBrush
Related reviews: less than 15 minutes
This game is a shortish Texture game with a Halloween theme. You are brought before a macabre group and forced to perform a ritual.

The Texture programming was more complex than I'm used to, which was a nice change. It felt like a real puzzle. At first, I thought it was similar to Moon Goon, with an altar containing 'assorted items', but the ending couldn't have been more different.

I loved the overall plot design in this game. Given its fun-to-length ratio, you should just go try it.

The Experiment, by dk5000p

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
An interesting speed-IF that uses audio exclusively, November 2, 2018
by MathBrush
Related reviews: less than 15 minutes
It was great to see something as complex as an audio game entered.

The controls are simple: 1 to say yes, 2 to say no. It uses Unity. I wished there were a pause button, but that would matter more in a longer piece.

The game is made using voice changers. The main 'scary' voice is highly distorted, but I was able to hear it most of the time. Your character's voice is like a chipmunk.

The story is that you've been kidnapped after signing a waiver, and you have to answer questions from a questionnaire. My game ended after two questions.

mESSYWITCH, by B Minus Seven

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
A messy game about a messy witch, October 31, 2018
by MathBrush
Related reviews: less than 15 minutes
B Minus Seven writes games that are more surrealist poetry than anything else, and this is no different.

It's unabashed in its content, using profanity, brashness, confusion and vulnerability. It's also very short. You pick from three things in a cross between a recipe book and a shopping list, each one with 1-3 more options before returning.

It didn't really gel together for me, but for fans of B Minus Seven it is a great addition to the oeuvre.

The World the Slugs Made, by Hatless

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
A twisted slug-based horror story about modern information sources, October 31, 2018
by MathBrush
Related reviews: less than 15 minutes
This is a political game by what I presume is a non-native English speaker who is very experienced in their own language, as there are numerous typos together with a very creative story.

The game also contains a great deal of offensive material, but it's difficult to tell who it's aimed at; I could see it being equally offensive to everyone, but curiously inoffensive at the same time.

The central storyline is that slugs have changed the world into a hyper-connected group of individuals that subsist on trashy news stories, including stories about Soros and Clinton.

Playing this game was certainly an experience.

Crumbs, by Katie Benson

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
A political slice of life game, October 31, 2018
by MathBrush
Related reviews: less than 15 minutes
This is a speed-IF game, written in just 4 hours, but it has some pretty good heft; I've seen some IFComp games with less material, and it has nice styling.

It presents a scenario in which you've run out of biscuits, and the effects of Brexit have made it difficult to get enough food.

There are multiple paths, most of which have no choices (which makes sense for a Speed-IF), and the game encourages replay. Probably the best use I've seen of Twine in a Speed IF for creating the most material in the shortest amount of time. A nice game to add to Benson's growing portfolio.

Moon Goon, by Caleb Wilson

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful:
A surreal blood world, caught in a moment of time, October 31, 2018
by MathBrush
Related reviews: less than 15 minutes
This is a neat little puzzle/story written up in just a few hours.

You are in one of Caleb Wilson's bizarre worlds, a world of blood and ectoplasm and strange gods.

You are provided with a multitude of items and left to sort it out for yourself. Every object has a use, and in the end there are 7 ways to finish the game.

The best part of this game is the immersive worldbuilding.

Wake Up, by Phillip J Rhoades

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful:
A short nightmare speed-IF based on a real experience, October 31, 2018
by MathBrush
Related reviews: less than 15 minutes
First, a note about my ratings. This game is very short and is necessarily unpolished (as a game written in just 4 hours). So I took off one star for that.

But I found it had emotional effectiveness, I would play it again, the interactivity worked for me, and the writing was descriptive.

You are having a terrible nightmare and feel paralzyed. There is only a small amount of time to help yourself.

It took me a couple of play-throughs to get through it, but I was impressed at the level of craftmanship in an Ectocomp game. Well done.

This Is A Real Thing That Happened, by Carolyn VanEseltine

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful:
A moral lesson, experiment, or thoughtpiece as an Inform game, September 19, 2018
by MathBrush
Related reviews: less than 15 minutes
I found this game to be touching. It's an online-only Inform game that asks you to make a certain moral choice.

It has a unique sort of interactivity that is only available in an online game. Due to the specific response I got, I'm not sure if this kind of interactivity is still operational.

It is short, and deals with the nature of story vs. game (among other things).

Jetbike Gang, by C.E.J. Pacian

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful:
A twiny jam 300 word branching futurepunk story, May 23, 2018
by MathBrush
Related reviews: less than 15 minutes
This is Pacian's only Twine game I know. Entered in the popular Twiny Jam competition for twine games of 300 words or less, this has a Time Cave type structure. You can see all endings by lawnmowering, but it might be more fun just to explore 4 or 5.

The story is grim and gritty. You are part of a jetbike gang, and the cops are coming. All of the branches are short, and they all paint out a dystopian world of grime and flame and bad relationships. It is a vivid world.

Human Errors, by Katherine Morayati

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful:
A help-desk for wearable emotion-manipulators. Fiction through bureaucracy., May 22, 2018
by MathBrush
Related reviews: less than 15 minutes
This is a complex Twine-and-Javascript based game that reproduces the help-desk environment from IT. You are given a bunch of tickets or help requests to address. You can dismiss them, respond to them, rank their severity, etc.

But instead of normal IT, you're troubleshooting a device that creates impulses in others.

As you progress, your performance is evaluated, and others might respond to you. The story slowly splays out.

It's an odd story, too. Like Morayati's other works regarding technological dystopias (Laid Off from the Synesthesia Factory, Take), the game explores uncomfortable parts of the human condition.

The game takes real-life issues (like the below-minimum-wage oppression of gig jobs like Mechanical Turk, having to buy cheap knock-offs of products that can harm you, workplace harassment, etc.) which people have gradually become numb too and puts them in a startling new light by applying them to new situations.

If you liked this work, I strongly recommend the two other games I mentioned earlier.

Mystery House Makeover!, by Anonymous

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
A silly short game involving replacing lineart with clipart, May 11, 2018
by MathBrush
Related reviews: less than 15 minutes
This was from the Mystery House Taken Over competition, where IF authors were tasked with revamping the old, famous adventure game Mystery House.

As far as I can tell, this game only allows directional commands, and all that happens in each room is that a piece of original, poor quality line art is replaced with a piece of badly cropped clip art as a joke. I found it amusing, but the game is so small and light as to be hardly there.

If anyone finds additional content, let me know and I'll revise my review.

The Public Tarot, by Marilyn Roxie

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
A well-polished Tarot simulator, April 28, 2018
by MathBrush
Related reviews: less than 15 minutes
This game allows you to experience three different randomly generated tarot readings, complete with illustrations.

This is a polished game, and it incorporates information from a survey done about people's impressions of the cards. So it's almost like having a reading randomly selected from several dozen other people's readings.

It was impressed, but I saw it as an intellectual exercise without gut feeling.

Remember Remember, by Chandler Cash

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
An illustrated surreal Twine game with earnest writing, April 28, 2018
by MathBrush
Related reviews: less than 15 minutes
This game starts you in a dark room with several voices talking to you. There are eight doors, some locked, and others not. Your goal is to escape.

The different voices seem to represent parts of your psyche, and the short game is a game of self-discovery. It is illustrated with hand-made colored pencil drawings.

The writing is littered with typos, and the storyline is somewhat confusing. It was descriptive, though, and good at evoking emotion.

MAR/TEAR, by Iliria Osum

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
A poetic exploration of four women's deaths and the cause thereof, April 28, 2018
by MathBrush
Related reviews: less than 15 minutes
This is a fairly brief game written in free verse. It seems to draw on the writings of four famous women who died, mostly in controversial situations (including deaths that resonated in the trans and African-American communities).

The writing was interesting, but the free verse format made it hard for me to make an emotional connection to the writing. It was interesting looking up the four women in the story.

twenty two-hundred, by Sean Navat Balanon

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
A brief slice of life in an anime-inspired techno future, April 28, 2018
by MathBrush
Related reviews: less than 15 minutes
This Twine game uses appropriate styling and occasional graphics to tell a slice-of-life story in a world where cybernetic enhancements are common.

You have encounters with two different friends whose lives are different than most people's, and explore some unusual technology.

It feels like a brief vignette of a larger world, either a fan fiction, a taste of the author's own universe, or an introduction to a longer game.

The Case, by Axel Cushing

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
A short, text-heavy twine game about a detective taking a case, April 27, 2018
by MathBrush
Related reviews: less than 15 minutes
This is a short Twine game that leans heavily on standard detective tropes. You, a hard bitten male detective, have a female client come in with an extensive backstory that you explore through various links. A lot is made of her appearance, but more in a deductive way than a seductive way.

The woman's story is about suspected adultery. The story uses standard Twine styling and has a heavy amount of text per choice, making it more like a story with distinct branch points and less like a mechanics-driven game or visual art piece.

Overall, I would have preferred some more deviations from the noir formula or some more compelling mechanics, but what's here is done well.

Attack of Doc Lobster's Mutant Menagerie of Horror, by Duncan Bowsman

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
A systematic monster creation system speed-IF game, April 22, 2018
by MathBrush
Related reviews: less than 15 minutes
This game is pretty fun. You have a body on a table, with several items you can attach to them. Every single combination of attachments yields a different monster, which causes a different amount of mayhem. The game officially ends after several monsters you create do a certain amount of mayhem.

REALLY, IF / REALLY, ALWAYS, by Dawn Sueoka

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
An interesting experiment with human-guided AI interaction, April 21, 2018
by MathBrush
Related reviews: less than 15 minutes
This is an interesting game. It's a conversation between ELIZA and some human-mediated input that is taken from a collection of computer-generated speech.

The conversations at first are pure nonsense, but later evolve into partial nonsense, with recurring themes of frustration, curiosity, and romance.

There are sexual references in one portion. The overall feel is one of experimental poetry, very appropriate for the Spring Thing competition.

The 4th Break Up, by Papp Růbert

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
A short game using an rpg-maker that diagnoses your mental illness, April 11, 2018
by MathBrush
Related reviews: less than 15 minutes
This interactive fiction game uses a unique engine: an RPG-maker.

There are no RPG elements, just dialog boxes. You have somewhere between 2-4 choices, and the game gives you a diagnosis of a mental illness.

There are some spelling mistakes, and the game is pretty short. But it's creative and uses images in an interesting way.

Murder on the Big Nothing, by Tony Pisculli

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful:
A clever parser take on memory and time with some unfinished corners, April 11, 2018
by MathBrush
Related reviews: less than 15 minutes
This game reminds me of last year's spring thing game Niney, where you gathered up 'roles' and distributed them to other characters.

This game isn't similar in form or content, but it's similar in creativity. Your motions affect time, and there are hidden stats affecting what you are able to do.

My main interest in playing this game was piecing together the backstory, which was fun.

There were some unifinished corners here and there; many of the standard responses (like X ME) are left with their standard forms. But I enjoyed this.

Nouns, by Andrew Plotkin

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
A They Might Be Giants Nanobots tribute game with disappearing words, April 10, 2018
by MathBrush
Related reviews: less than 15 minutes
This game is part of the They Might Be Giants Nanobots tribute album. This 'album' consists of Twine games inspired by the songs and their lyrics, and is a sequel to the Apollo 18 Tribute Album of parser games in 2012.

I passed over Nouns at first, as it's fairly minimal. I was learning Twine at the time and downloading games to look at the code, and Nouns had a tiny, tiny 'game map'. Then I realized it was all javascript.

The game consists of one passage, almost all of whose words are links. Clicking on each link transforms the game.

I thought it was random at first, but on subsequent playthroughs, I realized there was a specific pattern involved. I liked it.

I only took off one star because I didn't engage with the game on an emotional level. Otherwise, the game is polished, descriptive, with good interactivity and a nice overall experience.

The Imposter, by Enrique Henestroza Anguiano

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
A crisp and smooth small illustrated Windrift game, April 8, 2018
by MathBrush
Related reviews: less than 15 minutes
This is the first game to use Liza Daly's windrift system besides her own.

I found the writing in this game to be sharp and evocative; I loved it, and might nominate this for best writing of 2018 when that time comes around.

It's very short, and the interactivity is quite limited, but the visuals are placed very well, and the styling and writing come together in a really pleasing way.

The Eyes That Look Back, by Leno

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
A gripping short creepy story about identity , April 8, 2018
by MathBrush
Related reviews: less than 15 minutes
I found this short horror story compelling. You are someone, somewhere, intentionally vague, and you have a knack for finding faces on things.

The game is more than just that, of course, but I found it compelling, especially with the multimedia.

I don't want to say too much about it, because experiencing it all is the point. I wasn't satisfied with the conclusions of the piece though, even after experimentation. But that's something that's due to personal taste.

This has nothing to do with my rating or even something I think the author should do, but I wish the game had included a gallery of found faces. But I can satisfy that interest by my own searches. I like this game.

Happy Pony Valley Riding School, by Lynda Clark

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful:
A short humorous horse relationship game, March 18, 2018
by MathBrush
Related reviews: less than 15 minutes
This game is billed as just a demo for doing relationships in twine, which affected my perception of it (in the sense that I assumed it wasnít a fully fleshed game), but it manages to have a lot of heart and some neat tricks.

It is based on a riding school with three different ponies/horses, who you interact with in a couple of branching choices. Each one has its own likes and dislikes, which affect the ending.

It succeeded in its goal of making twine seem more like choicescript, and made me laugh a few times. If it was going to be fleshed all of the way out, I wish it were longer and had better cluing as to the effects of the relationship choices and more endings. But as it is I like it.

Her Majesty's Trolley Problem, by Buster Hudson

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful:
An amusing and odd fantasy game involving a series of trolley problems, February 26, 2018
by MathBrush
Related reviews: less than 15 minutes
This game is set in a fantastical alternate world with animate skeletons and talking pigs.

Supernatural trolleys and trolley lines connect different parts of the world together, and you are a harpooner on one such trolley.

Your task is to be confronted with several situations where the good of one is pitted against the good of many and you have to make a choice. This is the classical trolley problem, and also, in this game, a literal trolley problem as you decide who to run over.

There is also a side mystery uncovered by Club Floyd but which I was not aware of.

Dolores and the Cave, by Magda Knight

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
A branching horror story in a cave with a challenging puzzle, February 26, 2018
by MathBrush
Related reviews: less than 15 minutes
This was an interesting game.

You find yourself in a cave in a branching sort of exploration/conversation.

On my first play through, I ended it fairly quickly, and I wasn't too impressed. It seemed like a faintly cheesy sort of Halloween story.

But on my second play through, I encountered much more text, and the game became much more developed, with compelling issues and questions together with a nice puzzle.

Overall, I recommend it for fans of horror.

Ex Materia, by Juhana Leinonen

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
A smooth, short sci-fi/AI game with fancy text effects, February 5, 2018
by MathBrush
Related reviews: less than 15 minutes
This game, similar to Leinonen's earlier Ex Nihilo, is a short text-effects-heavy game about a powerful entity questioning its own existence.

This time, though, the game is linked to all of Wikipedia, and debates the worth of existence of an advanced system. Overall, though, like Ex Nihilo, this game feels like a demo for advanced graphics in a text setting. This isn't bad, but the game is very short.

Definitely worth checking out!

Finish your Foe!, by Oliver Frank

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful:
A fantasy one-move game about combat with an ancient vampire, February 3, 2018
by MathBrush
Related reviews: less than 15 minutes
This game was part of the New Year's minicomp. I was pleased to see that it's a puzzly one-move game, and that the formatting was done well.

The setting is fairly standard fantasy, but it helps establish the setting quickly. You are a sort of paladin facing a 'Red Queen' vampire.

I'm very much into D&D inspired games, and one-move games. But some very basic things were not implemented, like 'pray' (when you're a paladin and the game mentions your orisons). But enough was implemented to be fun.

La TempÍte, by Stťphane F.

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful:
A polished, short modernist tale about a storm, January 20, 2018
by MathBrush
Related reviews: less than 15 minutes
This game is firmly in the modernist tradition of the early 1900s, similar to works by Kafka or T.S. Eliot.

The tags on this game include 'existentialist' and 'absurd', and that's a good description.

The game is dream-like; you are in a lushly detailed house where nothing really matters, and the story drives you forward. It's like a Ryan Veeder game without the Ferris Bueller attitude.

Overall, I found it effective, especially because I forgot the french IF commands and had to look them up (on the french play-IF card http://ifiction.free.fr/fichiers/play-if-card_fr.pdf), so at first I was just typing room names. This gives you a description of the room, but doesn't take you there, and doesn't give you the same description as actually being there. This made the game very odd.

Overall, I liked it.

Stand Down, by verityvirtue

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful:
A short, meditative Twine game about a dual-culture paramedic , January 13, 2018
by MathBrush
Related reviews: less than 15 minutes
This Twine game is intentionally short and linear, but it's not quite as linear as it advertises; basically, you are unwinding after a long day, and you get to pick what order to unwind in.

You seem to be a volunteer for a hospital, as well as a student. Actions like taking off your boots or untying your hair trigger memories from earlier in the day.

I found it fascinating as a glimpse into another, medical world, as well as portraying a character who seems to be a minority in their current situation.

All Hail The King!, by Luke Skytrekker

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
An amusing little medieval/goofy farce, December 17, 2017
by MathBrush
Related reviews: less than 15 minutes
I have to give a caveat about my score first; I think this game is really around a 5 out of 10 on the IFComp scale; it's short, silly, self-conscious. But, it satisfies all of my 5 star criteria:

1. Polished: I didn't encounter any errors, and the writing was consistent, and even the plain twine styling seemed to fit the story.
2. Descriptive: The game has a nice voice and inventive language (I chuckled at the word turdburglar, especially because I misread it at first).
3. Interactivity: The game presented me with exactly the kind of options I wanted at several points in the game. It was actually very effective at presenting options that made me go 'Yes! This is exactly what I want to do'.
4. Emotion. I smiled a lot.
5. Would I play it again? Yes, I'm interested in exploring the mechanics.

So this is technically a 5, but on the 'how much will the average IF player like it' scale, I'd give it a 2-3.

Sacrifice, by Hamish McIntyre

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
Play as a living dungeon in this short looping game, December 3, 2017
by MathBrush
Related reviews: less than 15 minutes
I swear this game was different the first time I played it. In any case, what it is now is a living dungeon Twine game; you are a living dungeon, and adventurers come in in a cycle. You choose from a menu of 3 randomly generated options until either the adventurer dies, or succeeds.

I thought it was clever, and the graphic was helpful. But I felt like it could be further developed.

The Dragon Will Tell You Your Future Now, by Newsreparter

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
An exercise in futility, in Twine format, November 17, 2017
by MathBrush
Related reviews: less than 15 minutes
In 2006, Theo Koutz entered an IFComp game called Sisyphus, where you roll a stone up a hill and it rolls down again. It was a troll game that was smooth and polished.

This is essentially the same game, but with shiny new polish. You have to open some doors, but you can't. Replaying this, though, I found that I actually enjoyed the writing, perhaps more than any other game in the comp.

So this was pretty fun, despite the author's intentions.

A common enemy, by David de Torres Huerta

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
A game about conspiracy and aliens, November 17, 2017
by MathBrush
Related reviews: less than 15 minutes
This game is centered around a spy drama, like the Bond movies. It is translated, with several errors.

The main characters is a chauvinist, who 'negs' women and is over macho. That really turned me off.

It does have a clever plot, involving a conspiracy (led by you) to manipulate the world.

Black Marker, by Michael Kielstra

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
A game about censorship, November 17, 2017
by MathBrush
Related reviews: less than 15 minutes
You play a government censor in this game. You are given a series of incriminating documents which you have to censor; clicking on various sentences blacks them out.

You are graded on how you do. This doesn't matter quite as much as you'd think, but it does affect the final ending.

I loved the feel of this game, the feel of manipulating documents and being in control. I do wish it had been longer or the the censoring had been more closely integrated with the story.

The Adventure of Esmeralda and Ruby on the Magical Island, by Marco "Erik108" Anastasio

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
A cute little Twine tale of kids on an island, November 17, 2017
by MathBrush
Related reviews: less than 15 minutes
This is a cute little game. You play as two kids who are searching for their pet named Sicomore.

You pick the order to visit three locations, then finish off the last location. So there's not much interactivity.

What makes it charming is that it seems like it was designed around a series of characters drawn and named by children, which I liked. The illustrations are provided in the game.

10pm, by litrouke

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful:
A fancy symbol-sliding game, November 17, 2017
by MathBrush
Related reviews: less than 15 minutes
This game has you speak completely in symbols.

You are bird, a child living with a single male named Ty. Ty has problems, and so do you.

You communicate with Ty completely in symbols. What this means in-game is never explained.

This story didn't grab me, but the presentation was slick, and it's a game worth replaying. Sometimes technical stuff is enough to impress me on its own; however, the author has a great knack for characterization as well.

The Very Old Witch and the Turnip Girl, by Megan Stevens

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
A modern fable about a witch and her child, November 16, 2017
by MathBrush
Related reviews: less than 15 minutes
This story is fairly linear, more like dynamic fiction than puzzle-based or branching cybertext.

In this game, you read the story of an old witch who, out of loneliness, creates a girl out of turnips.

This game has Megan Stevens' most imaginative writing of her IFComp games, and presents an interesting analogy between the witch/turnip girl and parents/millenials. It's short, and worth reading.

Something, by Linus Lekander

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
A short branching Twine game about routine and its interruptions, November 16, 2017
by MathBrush
Related reviews: less than 15 minutes
This is a short Twine game entered into IFComp 2017.

It branches in a non-trivial, interesting way. You are lying in bed after an evening with some man and you realize you need to wash your hands. But it's dark, and you don't really want to.

This is a character whose life is centered around routines, and around keeping secrets. I found it interesting, but not compelling.

Nyna Lives, by Sarah Rhiannon Nowack

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
A gauntlet of kitty death in a witches story, November 16, 2017
by MathBrush
Related reviews: less than 15 minutes
This short Twine game has you acting as a witch's assistant for fetching a magical flower.

Every choice that you make leads you either to instant death or further along the path.

The witch who owns you refers to other cats; could this be other lives, or do you play multiple protagonists? A careful reading can reveal more.

The writing was well done, but I would have preferred a different kind of interactivity.

Moon Base, by Andrew Brown

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
A short space horror thriller in Twine, November 16, 2017
by MathBrush
Related reviews: less than 15 minutes
This short Twine game uses specialized styling to give a retro sci-fi fi feel, and the story fits that vibe as well. You are visiting a base on the moon which has been terrorized by space animals. It borrows heavily from the feel of the Alien movies.

However, it is fairly short, and the writing has a few problems that could be remediated by some more careful revision and beta testing. Overall, though, the basic storyline was interesting.

The Living Puppet, by Liu Zian

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful:
My favorite of the 3 Chinese if comp 2017 games. A puppet horror story, November 16, 2017
by MathBrush
Related reviews: less than 15 minutes
I beta tested this game.

This is a story that only branches twice, but does so in an effective way. You are the wife of a puppet master who performs across the country, but you have to make a difficult choice when he turns to dark means to support his work.

It's fairly short, and it uses type-writer effect text on light backgrounds with music/sound effects.

Inevitable, by Matthew Pfeiffer

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful:
A short one-room game about a mad scientist, November 16, 2017
by MathBrush
Related reviews: less than 15 minutes
This is a very short little game where you are trying to get your crazy future-telling device to work.

It's a one-room game, but very little is implemented. I had to decompile the game to figure out how to get the device to work. I had further difficulties with basic commands like going in doors.

The idea isn't bad, but it could be better developed.

Hexteria Skaxis Qiameth, by Gabriel Floriano

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
A game about language and its intrinsic meaning, November 16, 2017
by MathBrush
Related reviews: less than 15 minutes
This game is centered around a language or collection of languages that the protagonist is trying to study.

The central mechanic is that you are presented with 3-syllable words that you can alter.

The discussion centers on the idea that language influences our thoughts and actions, and vice-versa.

I liked this game, but it didn't draw me in emotionally.

Haunted P, by Chad Rocketman

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful:
An intentionally bad game with a few short pathways, November 16, 2017
by MathBrush
Related reviews: less than 15 minutes
This game is a worthy sequel to Toiletworld, by Chet Rocketfrak (presumably the same as Chad Rocketman).

This game centers around Bilbert/Bolbert, who has something wrong with them. You can talk to Bilbert, or enter Bilbert.

There's not much more than that. I found it amusing, but the author is clearly aiming for a 1-star rating, and who am I to refuse?

Grue., by Charles Mangin

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful:
A clever Infocom homage marred by implementation difficulties, November 16, 2017
by MathBrush
Related reviews: less than 15 minutes
This game was fun and clever; I think a large chunk of judges found the concept fun and original.

You are a lurking grue, and you have to devour an adventurer.

Because it is completely dark, you have rely on your other senses.

I had difficulty getting helpful responses from going in different directions, and with the final verb.

Overall, if the feedback from comp judges is implemented, this would be a game that continues to get played for a long time.

…tude CirculŠr, by Adam Black

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
A short poem or series of short poems in a dense, obscure style, November 16, 2017
by MathBrush
Related reviews: less than 15 minutes
This is a shortish Twine game entered into the 2017 IFComp.

It consists of free verse, sometimes with poetic styling, and sometimes in a more conversational tone.

There is some profanity, in a sort of navel-gazing self-aware way. In general, I liked the poetry, though, and found it enjoyable even on a second or third read.

Primer, by Christina Nordlander

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful:
A brief, terror-filled moment in time, November 6, 2017
by MathBrush
Related reviews: less than 15 minutes
This game reminded of another game, which I couldn't remember for a while, but now I recall is the author's 2016 game, Light Into Darkness. I liked that game, but this one is better.

It's a brief moment in time. The game definitely plays around with the typical speed of a parser game, where major events can occur in one command.

I hit on a good ending perhaps by chance, early on, and replayed to stretch it out as long as possible. If I hadn't guessed the command, I might not have liked it as much, but it was good.

Bloody Raoul, by Caleb Wilson (as Ian Cowsbell)

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful:
A very original short gruesome story in an alt-historical universe, November 6, 2017
by MathBrush
Related reviews: less than 15 minutes
This was a strange game. When I started it, I thought, 'Oh, so this is writing which might be something really good, or just fluff'. As I played through, it all sort of fell together, and I liked it.

It's bizarre; a sort of mix between 80's neon punk and Jack the Ripper's London. Plus some of ancient Rome thrown in.

I had a bit of trouble at first figuring out what to do, but I grasped it in the end. I think this was my favorite of La Petite Morte, and perhaps of the whole Ectocomp competition.

Who to Haunt?, by Katie Benson

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
A lighthearted ghost story with you as the ghost, November 6, 2017
by MathBrush
Related reviews: less than 15 minutes
This is a short Ectocomp game that branches strongly.

You play a recently deceased woman who has the chance to go back and haunt one of three different people: her daughter, her old flame, and her enemy.

The game is sort of a gauntlet, because many of the choices are wrong, but you don't always have to restart completely.

I found it charming, with some interesting mini-twists, but overall I had to replay a lot of different sections to see it all.

Corrupter of Dreams, by Robert Patten

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful:
A short, thoughtful horror game about dreams, November 6, 2017
by MathBrush
Related reviews: less than 15 minutes
This is one of those short games that is more like enacting a ritual than solving a puzzle. You find yourself inside a dream, with an unusual purpose.

Like another game which I enjoyed in this comp, your character is more nuanced than the typical interactive fiction protagonist.

It's a speed-IF, so it's fairly short, but it's well-polished. There weren't many surprises due to the foreshadowing, but the imagery was vivid.

Something In The Night, by AnssiR66

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful:
A short spooky tale about going to sleep, November 6, 2017
by MathBrush
Related reviews: less than 15 minutes
In this game, you play someone who's been reading too many scary stories alone in a house, and you're too scared to go upstairs.

This is a great, relatable setup. Things are sparsely implemented, as is to be expected in a speed-IF, but I found no bugs and it had a fun verb choice.

The ending felt abrupt, which was disappointing, but I understand that not much is possible with speed-IF. This had the most relatable PC, for me, of any game I've played this year.

little, by chandler groover

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
A mysterious short horror story about a little, little...girl?, November 5, 2017
by MathBrush
Related reviews: less than 15 minutes
This game is confusing; I played it through 3 times. But it's polished, with descriptive writing, had a haunting emotion, and I've already replayed it a few times. So I'm giving 4 stars.

Most of Groover's purposely opaque work is an allusion to some known fairy tale, which provides a framework for understanding the piece. His original stories tend to provide more in the way of explanations.

This piece is a hidden-object fetch quest, with a sort of standing-up-to-bullies theme that reminded me of Andrew Schultz's frequent theme of 'everyone told you you were worthless and now you'll show them'.

I enjoyed the meta-puzzle of trying to piece it all together. It never gelled for me, but that's okay; having some things left unresolved improves the atmosphere.

YOUR PARTY IS DEAD, by Naomi Norbez

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
A short, linear RPG-inspired horror game, November 5, 2017
by MathBrush
Related reviews: less than 15 minutes
This is a fairly clever game with no real choices, and quite long for an Ectocomp game in terms of text.

The idea is that you are part of an RPG party (feels more like MMORPG than pen-and-paper RPG), and everyone dies, but you linger on.

It dwells a lot on your existence as a ghost, and some parts of it were unique, even for fantasy-based ghost stories.

So, it's mostly a short story, but paced well by links, and its a good short story.

Do It | Hazlo, by Santiago Eximeno

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful:
A short, intense horror game for Ectocomp, November 5, 2017
by MathBrush
Related reviews: less than 15 minutes
This game had me on the edge, and toyed around with my emotions. I was kept in strong suspense, thinking 'This is either going to get 1 star or a high score'.

This was a translation, and it was translated well; it felt idiomatic to me. The writing in general was good.

Very short.

Civil Mimic, by Andrew Schultz

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful:
An obtuse, short word puzzle , November 5, 2017
by MathBrush
Related reviews: less than 15 minutes
I generally like Andrew Schultz's wordplay games, but this one seems ill-conceived.

It has a concept that is very restrictive, and everything in the game is built up according to this scheme.

You are asked to find a friend and set a clock to a certain time. The issue is, there is no hinting as to the correct solution, yet the game only admits one solution. I thought of other solutions, afterwards; why not allow (Spoiler - click to show)5:04 as LIV? or 10:49 as MIL? I know there are time constraints, but the cluing is off here. On the other hand, Schultz's IFComp 2017 game is one of his most accessible, so I encourage you to try that one out.

make build --deity, by joshg

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
A sci-fi twine game with many endings about a powerful AI, November 4, 2017
by MathBrush
Related reviews: less than 15 minutes
This was a short Ectocomp game written in 3 hours or less.

In that time, the author provided nice background music and good text styling.

The game is fairly linear; all of your choices affect only the next paragraph, until the end, when your choices open up a few different ending options.

I wish I knew more about my choices so I could feel better immersed as the character. The storytelling was good; I could definitely see myself enjoying a longer game from this author, and I enjoyed this one.

last&final, by 1beetle

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
Nothing is scarier than reality. Short Ink game, November 4, 2017
by MathBrush
Related reviews: less than 15 minutes
This game was, in its way, the creepiest of the Grand Guignol games.

The actual horror elements are played down; you have 12 hours to work on your animation project. At each hour, you can work, explore (until you use up the storylets) or relax.

Creepy stuff can happen, but soon daylight comes, and all the supernatural elements seem not frightening at all. But as you go to your final exam, you begin to realize how horrifying real life can be (at least I felt that way).

Futility, by A.I. Wulf

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful:
A Twine story about vague hauntings and ghosts and war, November 4, 2017
by MathBrush
Related reviews: less than 15 minutes
This game was entered for Ectocomp 2017.

Like the author's other entry, this game is written using big blocks of text. Unlike the other entry, this one had more typos and grammatical errors, and seems to have been checked a little less.

The story revolves around fellow soldiers Abe and Shep, a psychiatrist, and Mary Shepard, a young woman who seems to have passed away. I had trouble following the timeline and who the narrative character was.

The highlight of the game was the scattered bits of poetry, which I think worked out well.

Saturdays, by verityvirtue

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
A fun little creepy web-based game at a school with some text effects, November 4, 2017
by MathBrush
Related reviews: less than 15 minutes
This is a shortish Ectocomp game with nice styling and some interesting text-hover effects.

You play as a schoolgirl who makes a bizarre discovery with her friends. The game branches quite a bit, with each branch fairly short.

I'd go into more detail, but the interest of the game lies entirely in the oddness of it all.

I found one small issue; the 'cockroach' link led to a page which was just a blank line; this was my first playthrough, and I had to restart. I ended up playing through 3 times.

The devil tree, by A.I. Wulf

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful:
A short example of dynamic fiction with a haunting feel, November 3, 2017
by MathBrush
Related reviews: less than 15 minutes
The author is going for something very different here, something out of the norm. As they state on the Ectocomp page, this game is a short story with no choices.

It's a vaguely mysterious game, with hints of influences from Asia (parts of it reminded me of China, India, and Israel). The blending of different cultures was the most important part to me.

The formatting was very hard to read, though. Pararaphs weren't spaced out, and the text was presented in large blocks. The dialogue could do with some pruning; it had a lot of the quick back-and-forth nothings that real dialogue has, but which do little to improve narrative writing without careful implementation, which was lacking here.

I liked the ending. On a technical note which is not due to the author (I think), I couldn't scroll down, and had to zoom out to read the text.

Where we'll live for nine days, by Pseudavid

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful:
A tangled web of memory's in a possibly alt-earth, November 3, 2017
by MathBrush
Related reviews: less than 15 minutes
This is a purposely obscure short Twine game. It makes extensive use of color shifts and effects.

The story centers on a young (?) couple who have been forced into hiding while people like them are hunted down.

The first part was a lot like the diary of Anne Frank, so much that I thought that would be the final twist.

But it devolves into a dissociative mess near the end, in a pleasing way. The hard thing was that I didn't really know what sort of effects my choices would have, but that's unavoidable with the chosen subject matter.

Saving John, by Josephine Tsay

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
A multiple-futures/presents Twine game involving mental illness, September 28, 2017
by MathBrush
Related reviews: less than 15 minutes
Saving John is a Twine 1 game with the standard CSS and formatting. In it, you find yourself in a dangerous situation and have the opportunity to construct a backstory for what happened.

The backstories involves jealousy, betrayal, love, profanity, and so on. The game is fairly short, but can be replayed several times.

The writing was descriptive, and the interactivity worked, but the story just didn't click with me, and It didn't feel all the way polished.

Snake's Game, by Nahian Nasir

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
A short, surreal horror game in Inklewriter, September 28, 2017
by MathBrush
Related reviews: less than 15 minutes
This game placed low in IFComp 2016. It is in Inklewriter, a beautiful story-focused engine that is now being discontinued.

Snake's Game has several variants depending on the play through, but most seem to deal with a world where time and space can be warped at will, taking you to hell and a variety of other places.

It's fairly short, and the writing felt unpolished, but the other had a lot of heart, making this game more emotionally powerful than most low-ranking games, to me.

Red Moon, by Jonathan Hay

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful:
A one-room, essentially puzzleless horror game, September 28, 2017
by MathBrush
Related reviews: less than 15 minutes
This game was coded in 2.5 days by a first time author with one beta tester. It requires what is generally an annoying way of interacting with a game. By all standards, it should be a fairly horrible game.

But it placed 19th out of 35, and wasn't really that bad. I like fairly campy, psychological horror, and this game provides it. It had great descriptions, and spookily changing descriptions.

This is a very short game. I liked it, in the end.

Batman is Screaming, by Porpentine

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful:
One of Porpentine's earliest twine experiments, September 17, 2017
by MathBrush
Related reviews: less than 15 minutes
This game was created in 2012, and uploaded recently by someone besides Porpentine. It was created at least as early as March of that year, since it's mentioned in an AdventureCow forum.

It is the shortest of the early experiments (which include Myriad and a few others). However, it contains a lot of Porpentine's signature style, including body transformation and horror, protagonists which evoke multiple emotions simultaneously, and surrealism.

This is not the kind of game I imagine Porpentine would release today, but it's interesting as a historical insight.

Donkey Kong, by Andrew Plotkin

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful:
A super short text story telling the background of Donkey Kong, September 15, 2017
by MathBrush
Related reviews: less than 15 minutes
This game casts you as the main enemy in the original Donkey Kong game.

It paints you as a primeval sort of building, unfairly pitted against the mustachioed plumber

It has some fun non-standard responses, but overall, it's over quickly. I mostly like its unity of style.

Dig Dug, by Anonymous

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
A tasteless reworking of the classic arcade game, September 15, 2017
by MathBrush
Related reviews: less than 15 minutes
I was surprised by this game, because I played it in the downloaded Arcade pack, and didn't have a chance to see the tags or genre.

It's essentially just a tasteless reworking of the original game Dig Dug, written by someone with the mind of a 12 year old male who has heard about women but never actually spoken with one.

Night Driver, by David Dyte

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful:
An amusing text reworking of the classic arcade game, September 15, 2017
by MathBrush
Related reviews: less than 15 minutes
The original arcade game night driver had you barreling down a road, swerving left and right down an endless field of white pegs.

This game has a text version, where you can speed, brake, and turn each turn. The conceit, though, is that you're a dad, late at night, and your wife and kids are having an endless conversation with you as you drive. The game eventually ends in a strange way.

MC, by Stephen Granade

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful:
A short game about a random NPC in an unlabeled arcade game, September 15, 2017
by MathBrush
Related reviews: less than 15 minutes
This game has you wandering around in a certain unlabeled arcade game (when it was first released in the IF arcade pack, it was even titled Unlabeled).

It's just a joke game; once you realize what's going on, it's over really quickly. But it's fun while it lasts.

Galaxian, by Stacy Cowley

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful:
A short goofy game reworking the classic game Galaxian, September 15, 2017
by MathBrush
Related reviews: less than 15 minutes
This game from the IF arcade pack is a reworking of the classic arcade game Galaxian.

It portrays what it would really be like for the main character in Galaxian. Considering that there are also two space invader clones in the IF arcade pack, this game actually was pretty well put together.

It's super short.

Invaders, by Anonymous

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful:
A short text game mimicking space invaders, September 15, 2017
by MathBrush
Related reviews: less than 15 minutes
This game was in the IF arcade pack.

Unlike most other games in the IF arcade pack, this is pretty much just a straight-up implementation of space invaders in text. The invaders go left, and right, and so on, and you shoot. I feel like the 2 other invader-like ports had a better implementation.

Space Invaders!, by Anonymous

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful:
An intriguing Space Invader text reworking with some loose ends, September 15, 2017
by MathBrush
Related reviews: less than 15 minutes
This TADS game is part of the IF arcade pack, and is probably the most creative of the 3 reworkings of space-invader type games.

You are in a line of bunkers, and you can dodge left and right, in and out of them as you shoot the invaders.

There are intriguing hints of a storyline, but they seem to go nowhere.

Joust, by Jennifer Earl

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful:
An amusing reworking of the classic arcade game Joust, September 15, 2017
by MathBrush
Related reviews: less than 15 minutes
This game was part of the IF arcade pack, most of whose games were sci-fi related. Just like the way the original game was unusual for taking a fantasy-based viewpoint, this game is unusual in the IF arcade pack for the same reason.

Wizards, trolls, pterodactyls; though this game is short, the setting is fun and inventive.

Lode Runner, by Anonymous

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful:
A text game spoofing the original Lode Runner, September 15, 2017
by MathBrush
Related reviews: less than 15 minutes
This is essentially a joke game in the IF arcade pack spoofing Lode Runner.

It shows the logical result of assuming everything in the game is real, including the more unreasonable parts of the original game.

It's short, but I found it amusing.

Pac-Man, by Anonymous

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful:
A violent and disturbing image of what Pac-Man really is, September 15, 2017
by MathBrush
Related reviews: less than 15 minutes
There is a famous alternate version of the pac-man story where pac-man is an astronaut who is having hallucinations about the ghosts of his compatriots, and the dots are pills.

This game is not the same, but it's fairly similar, and has some profanity and violence. Was this game the origin of that pac-man story, or is it parallel development, or do they have a common source?

In any case, an interesting game from a famous author who has disavowed all of their speed-IFs.

Tilt!, by Mona Wuerz

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful:
Pinball in text, September 15, 2017
by MathBrush
Related reviews: less than 15 minutes
This game is in the IF arcade pack. It has you as a pinball, with very little control over your actions and destiny.

It has a strong narrative with a metaphor between the ball and the human soul.

As a game, I found Enlightened Master to be a better working of a text pinball game.

Pong, by Stephen Granade

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful:
A tedious implementation of Pong with strange words, September 15, 2017
by MathBrush
Related reviews: less than 15 minutes
This game is fairly tedious, but it's well done, and has some great writing. It paints you as the pong paddle, but with a very unusual view on the world itself. It also has some nice text styling.

But getting even 2 points takes just forever. I can't imagine playing to 15 points.

Tapper, by Doug Jones

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful:
Aftermath of a famous arcade game, September 15, 2017
by MathBrush
Related reviews: less than 15 minutes
This game shows you what it would be like if the classic arcade game Tapper was real.

You have to clean up and leave. It's not much, but it has a fun Wreck-it-Ralph behind the scenes feel. It has a more traditional IF style than the other IF arcade games, and is at least complete.

Dad vs. Unicorn, by PaperBlurt

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
An occasionally list rated story of a father and son and expectations, September 15, 2017
by MathBrush
Related reviews: less than 15 minutes
This game is about a father who is macho and masculine, and a son who has taken a different path and identity from their father.

You take turns playing as father, son, or, eventually, unicorn. The meaning of the unicorn is enigmatic to me, perhaps representing social pressure, but you'll have to play to see what you think.

There is some strong profanity, vague reference to sexual acts, and occasional violence.

Inventory, by Joey Fu

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
A nice miniature twine game with a good twist, September 15, 2017
by MathBrush
Related reviews: less than 15 minutes
This game mimics the parser format, with green-on-black text and parser-like writing.

It was part of the 300-word-limit Twiny Jam.

The twist makes this a worthwhile game. Most of the gameplay (in fact, all of it) consists of choosing from a large list the one item that will solve the current obstacle.

What Are Little Girls Made Of, by Carolyn VanEseltine

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
Creepy little ectocomp story, September 15, 2017
by MathBrush
Related reviews: less than 15 minutes
This is a disturbingly creepy ectocomp story from one of the authors of One Eye Open. I knew pretty much exactly where it was going after a few turns, but that's the beauty: the dread of what's coming, not knowing how it's going to come.

Contains a high level of violence.

The Last Sonnet of Marie Antoinette, by Emily Short

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful:
A simulationist speed-IF based on Metamorphoses and Not With Hands, September 15, 2017
by MathBrush
Related reviews: less than 15 minutes
This is a short speed-IF game designed to show off a simulationist library involving the code of both Metamorphoses and peacock.z5 (known as Not With Hands). Emily Short said that her purpose in writing it was to use (quoting):

-- the same materials classes as Metamorphoses, plus some extras;
-- multiple kinds of blades to be used for cutting, efficacious on
different materials;
-- examples of diminution of size, division into pieces, and the
opening of containers based on said cutting;
-- routines for burning objects, taking into account their material
and contents;
-- smoke and carbon smearing (removable);(end quote)

Blue, by Marius MŁller

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
A compelling sci fi horror game with good worldbuilding, September 15, 2017
by MathBrush
Related reviews: less than 15 minutes
This is a speed-IF game from Ectocomp. Written in 3 hours, it has a nicely built up world with its own ecology.

The game is short, and learning about it is the main attraction, so I won't say more about the plot. I had some trouble with some of the interactions, though, but I enjoyed the writing.

The House, by Finn RosenlÝv

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
A buggy adrift speed-IF about a creepy house, September 15, 2017
by MathBrush
Related reviews: less than 15 minutes
This game was entered in Ectocomp 2011.

It is a speed-IF, so it has many of speed-IF's usual problems. in this case, I was unable to finish the game due to not knowing where to place an object. I also had difficulty finding things and guessing verbs.

Death Shack, by Mel S

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
A pretty funny 'horror' story about...the Death Shack!, September 15, 2017
by MathBrush
Related reviews: less than 15 minutes
This game uses some of the more cinematic qualities of Adrift.

It's a speed-IF, so it was written in just 3 hours. But it has really fun animations and text effects. The death shack becomes a recurring character that destroys all in its path. I especially laughed at the hotel scene.

Stuck Piggy, by Mike Desert

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
A completely broken Adrift horror game, September 15, 2017
by MathBrush
Related reviews: less than 15 minutes
This game can't do anything past the first move. It was written for Ectocomp, but it seems not to have been tested at all.

In general, it seems like it would be a creepy game where you play a stalker, possibly having a humorous turn later.

Ignis Fatuus, by DCBSupafly

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
A great speed-IF adrift game about Halloween origins, September 15, 2017
by MathBrush
Related reviews: less than 15 minutes
This game is a sort of shaggy dog story that tells the origin of a certain Halloween tradition.

It's presented in a tragic way rather than a comedic way. You are a juggler in a medieval court where laughter is forbidden, and whose father was banished or killed because of that rule. It's worth trying out.

Decision Makers, by Mehitabel Glenhaber

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
A commentary about choices, based on They Might Be Giants, September 15, 2017
by MathBrush
Related reviews: less than 15 minutes
This is an ultrashort game, written for the nanobots They Might Be Giants tribute album.

The major idea of it is that (Spoiler - click to show)there is a single sentence
where every word is a link; each word that you click takes you to the same sentence, about decisions.
It seems like a commentary/joke on the nature of choices.

Hive Mind, by Cel Skeggs

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
A fun epidemic game where you are the epidemic, September 15, 2017
by MathBrush
Related reviews: less than 15 minutes
This is one of the short Twine games for the nanobots They Might Be Giants tribute album.

You play as a slowly evolving hive mind created in MIT by accident. You have several choices as to how the hive mind will evolve and adapt.

It made me smile, and I found it fun.

Hill of Souls, by Angela Shah

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
A creepy short game experimenting with text output, August 17, 2017
by MathBrush
Related reviews: less than 15 minutes
This game (whose cover art was nominated for an XYZZY award for best supplemental materials) uses randomization to change the description of the area you are in (a one-room game), and every turn it clears the screen before printing the description.

I found it a bit confusing, and I had to look up the club floyd transcript to finish it, but it was a fun experiment.

The Tunnel, by Natalia Theodoridou

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
A slick, moody hyperlink game with sound and graphics on a train, August 15, 2017
by MathBrush
Related reviews: less than 15 minutes
This is a SubQ magazine game that has a pleasing atmosphere. It has graphics and background noise.

You are on a train with your significant other. It's going through a long tunnel. There are a few other people on the train. It's a moody and introspective piece.

I could go into more detail, but playing the game does not take much longer than reading this review, so why not just try it?

Sensory Jam, by Andrew Plotkin

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
Better than it could have been, August 12, 2017
by MathBrush
Related reviews: less than 15 minutes
This is just a demo game, but I found it amusing in a sort of way. It is clearly just set up to show off features of glulx.

There are images (including in-line) and sounds, both background and controllable. Hearing what I assume is Plotkin's voice going 'whoosh whoosh' at increasingly loud levels is enjoyable, as is switching around background colors around a photograph of his face.

I'd love to see someone remake it with backstory and more interactivity, but keeping everything that's already in it.

Best experienced downloaded.

Sigmund's Quest, by Gregor Holtz

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful:
A short graphical tech demo, August 1, 2017
by MathBrush
Related reviews: less than 15 minutes
This is a short demo of a system not unlike Comazombie's MCA adventures or Robin Johnson's systems; however, this one is fairly incomplete.

You play Sigmund, from the Ring cycle of stories, and it's all filled with numerous graphics. Before the game really begins, though, it's all over.

A Wind Blown From Paradise, by N.C. Hunter Hayden

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
A short surreal game on a train with bugs, August 1, 2017
by MathBrush
Related reviews: less than 15 minutes
This is a rather buggy surreal game set on a train.

It's hard to say much about it, because I get stuck on the second platform; whenever a train comes in, and I try to get on, the game says 'The train isn't here, idiot.', which is hardly encouraging.

In fact, the game in general is fairly insulting to the player (try typing YES repeatedely). I've decompiled it, but can't find much.

The Ship of Whimsy, by U. N. Owen

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
A small fantasy ship with three tasks, August 1, 2017
by MathBrush
Related reviews: less than 15 minutes
This game has you explore a small ship full of fantasy creatures like faeries and goblins.

It has one oddly inappropriate part, but nothing else really in that nature.

By visiting the Faerie queen, you receive a variety of tasks, about 3 or 4 in total. Each is a simple fetch-type quest or single action.

The game ends fairly quickly.

Dead Hotel, by Comazombie

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
A supershort zombie horror game set in a creepy hotel, August 1, 2017
by MathBrush
Related reviews: less than 15 minutes
This is the third comazombie game I've played; the first was a tiny demo with little plot. The second was mostly in German.

This one is a complete, though tiny, game. You are in a room in a hotel with some pretty good colors and styling. It's a multiple choice game using a simplified version of comazombie's previous systems.

It throws in some needless profanity at one point which doesn't really fit, most likely due to the speaker having English as a second language.

Project Delta, by Emilian Kowalewski

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
A short demo game of a multiple choice system, August 1, 2017
by MathBrush
Related reviews: less than 15 minutes
I found this system to actually be fairly impressive; you have multiple choice menus, but can check your inventory when you want to.

Unfortunately, this version is just a small demo, with little of the real action you might get in a full game.

Trap Cave, released the next year, had a larger game in the same system.

Ninja II, by Paul Allen Panks

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
Ninja, plus a dragon, August 1, 2017
by MathBrush
Related reviews: less than 15 minutes
This game is just Ninja I with an extra dragon added.

I don't see how this could possibly not be satire of some sort, especially as Panks released much longer and more detailed games.

It did somehow make me like Ninja I a bit more though...

Craverly Heights, by Ryan Veeder

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful:
A short game with a twist and good source code, July 22, 2017
by MathBrush
Related reviews: less than 15 minutes
This review is for the Official Ryan Veeder Weekend Review Salon with Guaranteed Prize.

This Ryan Veeder game had me very confused, and then pleased, then more confused; then I read the source code, nodded, and understood.

You play a doctor trying to help a sick patient named Pauline. You are in a small hospital that is very... unusual, to say the least, in its geography.

The lack of cluing got to me, though, and the strong branching made each playthrough less memorable.

But the twist was pleasant.

The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym of Nantucket, by Ryan Veeder and Edgar Allan Poe

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful:
A fairly well written faintly recalled memory of a fable by Poe, July 22, 2017
by MathBrush
Related reviews: less than 15 minutes
This review is part of the Official Ryan Veeder Weekend Review Challenge with Guaranteed Prize.

In this game, our intrepid author programs an entire game without a single (actually, with A single) glance at the source material.

The source material was, from the recollection, somewhat disturbing, but the retelling is much more disturbing if approached in the right vein. Have you ever faintly recalled a movie, or story, or dream from your youth that deeply disturbed you? I have half-recollected versions of both It and Castle in the Sky that are much more haunting than the original.

That's what this game is; it condenses all of the most disturbing parts of the game. What's disturbing is not the game, but what it reveals about the human mind, about Veeder's mind, about the things that his brain decided to store up for the future.

The Periwink, by Jedediah Berry

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
A clever, short campfire or surreal tale using Twine, July 16, 2017
by MathBrush
Related reviews: less than 15 minutes
This game makes excellent use of different text and background colors and fonts to provide an intriguing and creepy atmosphere.

You play as a groundskeeper for the queen who has been dismissed. You take a short tour through a fantastic and frightening landscape. The background darkens as the game progresses.

Overall, a great short gane.

The Voodoo You Do 2, by Marshal Tenner Winter

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
A short Voodoo religion-based game for Ectocomp, July 16, 2017
by MathBrush
Related reviews: less than 15 minutes
This game was entered in Ectocomp 2013. It has a short sequence based on the Voodoo religion, and includes a fairly clever puzzle.

Because it was a speed-IF, it has a bunch of rough edges. Also, the game has quite a bit of profanity. But the concept is much better developed than most ectocomp games.

Personality Rights, by Sumana Harihareswara

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
A visual novel existential Speed-IF about death, July 16, 2017
by MathBrush
Related reviews: less than 15 minutes
This is a very short game but with some nice graphics and interesting concept. You are dead, and you are on the internet. You talk to some old friends and check out some old haunts.

It's an Ectocomp game, so it's fairly short, and it takes a lot of files to get running. It has very few branching points.

Monster Maker, by Adri ("Erin Gigglecreek")

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful:
A fun, tiny game where you customize your body, July 16, 2017
by MathBrush
Related reviews: less than 15 minutes
In this game, you are a monster with a varying number of body parts that you can modify by taking different things out of buckets and baskets nearby, including tails, skins, eyes, and 'extra'.

Its short and fun, written quickly for Ectocomp. It doesn't have an ending or graphics, but it's whimsical and fun.

LISEY, by Marco Innocenti

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
A haunting short story about a man, a woman, and a cat, July 16, 2017
by MathBrush
Related reviews: less than 15 minutes
This is a SpeedIf made for Ectocomp. You play an old man who has experienced a loss, and who finds a dead cat on his lawn.

You have to clean up the cat, by finding various items about your house. As you do, a mysterious backstory is slowly unveiled.

While the final story didn't completely gel for me, I found this game fun and fascinating.

Jack, by Jason Lautzenheiser

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
A short thriller about being Jack in Halloween, July 16, 2017
by MathBrush
Related reviews: less than 15 minutes
This game has you starting as a confused Jack during Halloween, and quickly escalates from there.

The story is quite original for IF, though it resembles the plot of several non-IF media sources.

This is an ectocomp game, so it is short and buggy, but the concept is neat.

IDSPISPOPD, by Christopher Brent

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
A bizarre short sequence with minimalist parser about Doom, July 16, 2017
by MathBrush
Related reviews: less than 15 minutes
This is a violent and profanity-filled short little game with some graphics effects that has a bit of a parser in it (you can type 5 or 7 different commands) made for Ectocomp.

It seems like it was intricate to program in the 3 hours, but suffered from the lack of time.

halloween candy triage simulator, by j. marie

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
A game that randomly assigns you candy, July 16, 2017
by MathBrush
Related reviews: less than 15 minutes
This is a twine game with two buttons: one that randomly gives you a type of candy, and one that counts the candy you've gotten.

I don't know if there's anything hidden here. This is a speed IF, so its likely the author was just experimenting with Twine, in which case this is a neat little piece of programming.

First Person, by Buster Hudson

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful:
A short horror game with an unusual narrative viewpoint, July 16, 2017
by MathBrush
Related reviews: less than 15 minutes
This is an ectocomp game about a confined, frightening story with an unusual viewpoint suggested by the title of the story.

The game does a very good job at splitting up the parser-viewpoint and the player-viewpoint. It's also fairly grim. I enjoyed this game, but as a speed-IF, it had some spotty implementation.

City of the Living Dead, by Joshua Houk (as Tanah Atkinson)

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
An interesting social commentary entered into Ectocomp, July 16, 2017
by MathBrush
Related reviews: less than 15 minutes
This game is about gentrification rather than zombification. A social commentary twine game designed to show the plight of those affected by gentrification.

This game had no ending that I could find, but upon restarting the game you can find access to more information about gentrification.

Choose Your Own SPOOKY Death, by Healy

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
A wacky game about dying on Halloween, July 16, 2017
by MathBrush
Related reviews: less than 15 minutes
This is a speed IF entered into Ectocomp. In this game, you are aware of your death, and you try to avoid it. It branches wildly, with a bunch of silly deaths.

Some of the branches are advertised as unfinished, but its all part of the fun. I liked it as a small snack.

Carriage Returns, by David Good

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
A short, underimplemented but funny horror game, July 16, 2017
by MathBrush
Related reviews: less than 15 minutes
In this short ectocomp game, you have to buy a newspaper and go into a diner, where events soon unfold in a dangerous way.

I had a lot of trouble figuring out what to do, so I had to textdump the game, but once I found the ending, I thought it was humorous. It definitely could use some more synonyms, though.

Candy Rush Saga, by Andrew Schultz

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
A Halloween movement game that was less than I thought, July 16, 2017
by MathBrush
Related reviews: less than 15 minutes
In this game, you are on a 3x3 grid with 4 bad guys and 4 good guys.

I thought the point of the game was to use the elements listed on the rooms to have a sort of rock/paper/scissors battle where you throw bad guys at each other and so on.

Instead, you just move everyone around so that everyone is in the generally correct area. Its fun, but it could have been more. This was an ectocomp game, so what's been done is pretty good.

Boogle, by Buster Hudson

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
A short, creepy google simulator for halloween, July 16, 2017
by MathBrush
Related reviews: less than 15 minutes
In this game, you have a 'brand new' google engine that's spooky: Boogle.

You find out that boogle is more than you expected, in a fairly funny and gruesome sort of way. The surprises are the best part, so I won't describe it much more. Good fun-to-time ratio.

Blackness, by Michael Phipps

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
A short hospital horror game, July 16, 2017
by MathBrush
Related reviews: less than 15 minutes
This was a speed-IF for ectocomp, which generally means guess-the-verb issues and underimplementation.

That happens here, but not as much as I thought it would be. I didn't read the initial text, and that made the game harder for me, but once that was fixed, I was able to beat the game without a problem.

I found the horror effective. You are a late-night janitor mopping.

Another Cliched Adventure Game, by David Whyld

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
A wildly branching silly ectocomp game, July 16, 2017
by MathBrush
Related reviews: less than 15 minutes
This game has you wandering around a spooky halloween town and branches a lot, like a time-cave structure.

It starts with a parody of adventure games (a room full of boring furniture), but gets better afterwards.

Ice House of Horrors, by Sean M. Shore

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
A fun game from a fish perspective, July 16, 2017
by MathBrush
Related reviews: less than 15 minutes
There is a surprisingly large amount of interactive fiction where you play as a fish. This is one of them.

This game does a great job of showing how horrifying ice fishing is to the fish involved. There were some odd interactions, and the game was short, but it's a speed-IF ectocomp game, so I can't complain.

Al Otro Lado, by Antonio MŠrquez MarŪn

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
An experiment where you are the computer, typing in descriptions, July 16, 2017
by MathBrush
Related reviews: less than 15 minutes
This is a completely freeform game. The computer gives you commands, which you respond to. It asks for items in the room, and then will try to TAKE or BREAK them, etc., as well as asking for exits and having you move around.

It was a lot of fun, but only for a short time.

A Night Guest, by Valentine Kopteltsev

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful:
An entertaining but tricky poem with some interactivity, July 16, 2017
by MathBrush
Related reviews: less than 15 minutes
This game is a poem about a rich lord and the devil fighting. It uses colors and illustrations.

You get a big chunk of verses, and then most actions give you a sentence or two of prose, but the correct action advances the verses.

It was frankly enjoyable, the poem about the english lord and the devil brawling.

Unraveling God, by Todd Watson

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful:
A compelling mostly linear sci fi story about god and vengeance, July 16, 2017
by MathBrush
Related reviews: less than 15 minutes
In this game, you play a scientist who has been part of discovering suspended animation.

In the game, you discover the true implications of suspended animation, and what it meas for you, for God, and so on.

The game has some sensuality and participatory violence, which are both portrayed in a negative light.

The game is short, and has large text dumps.

Threading the Labyrinth, by Kevin F. Doughty

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful:
A keyword-driven short philosophical game based on Minos' labyrinth, July 10, 2017
by MathBrush
Related reviews: less than 15 minutes
This game displays some bold text at the top, and then you pick out keywords from that to type in, which then changes the text.

This is essentially a short twine game years before twine was developed. It has short but intriguing thoughts on the nature of IF games.

You Were Doomed From the Start, by Jeremy Carey-Dressler

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful:
A tiny C++ game meant more as a programming demo, July 10, 2017
by MathBrush
Related reviews: less than 15 minutes
This game has you pick a text speed, then color.

It has a parser that understands 10 verbs, most of them like save, quit, etc. It uses 'pickup' and 'use' along with directions.

There are 8 rooms in a grid missing its center. Each room has a key. One room has 8 keyholes.

The author claims this was intended as a simple demo.

Don't Be Late, by Greg Ewing

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful:
A short but straightforward old alan game about getting to IFComp, July 5, 2017
by MathBrush
Related reviews: less than 15 minutes
This is a fun little Alan game (requiring an older interpreter from ifarchive.org) about running to get to playing ifcomp games on time.

The game is well-hinted; I only had one guess-the-verb problem. You basically just hail a taxi and drive over to your friend's house.

The game is on a timer, but its so short that once you figure it out, its super easy to redo. It also has a clever ending.

Flight of the Necrovoyager, by Joey Bones

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful:
A boredom simulator with some necromantic flavor , July 1, 2017
by MathBrush
Related reviews: less than 15 minutes
This game consists almost entirely of a long, very repetitive sequence on board a spaceship where you choose from among the same 3 options for dozens of turns. The first turn has more variety.

So it's boring, but it's trying to be boring, and its polished and descriptive at its boring task, which is why I've given it 3 stars.

Edith's Cats, by Roboman

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
A short, buggy, and gross game, July 1, 2017
by MathBrush
Related reviews: less than 15 minutes
Opening this game in the adrift 5 development tool, you can see it has 4 commands to win it, one of which is a strong profanity.

Virtually nothing is implemented, and the story is disjointed and bizarre.

But, as Billy Mays said, this is not the worst game I have ever played.

Going Home, by Santiago Eximeno

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful:
A short twine zombie game with graphics, July 1, 2017
by MathBrush
Related reviews: less than 15 minutes
This is a zombie game with a fairly gruesome ending.

You play as someone caught in a zombie invasion. The game has a fairly clever gimmick of having your choices all be zombie-language, making the links a sort of maze to get out from. But overall, its short and underimplemented, which makes sense for a speed-IF.

Honeysuckle, by Cat Manning

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful:
A sorceror's apprentice makes a decision, July 1, 2017
by MathBrush
Related reviews: less than 15 minutes
In this game, you play a sorceror's apprentice who works with potions and plants.

Something is off, though, and you're forced to make some important decisions. The game has some good dramatic timing that I think could really be emulated.

Light into Darkness, by Christina Nordlander

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful:
A short, dramatic game with some underimplementation, July 1, 2017
by MathBrush
Related reviews: less than 15 minutes
This game has an original story, good writing and a nice sense of drama. You play a mom having a terrible dream, and the next day the events of the day are eerily similar.

This game is good, but it could have benefited from more plot development and better implementation. Because the author only had 3 hours, though, it's good in its sphere.

Scars, by Olivia Dunlap

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful:
A glimpse into a creepy alternate world, July 1, 2017
by MathBrush
Related reviews: less than 15 minutes
This is a short game about a creepy alternate world where there is a very different form of punishment for tasks.

I found the writing to be good/descriptive, and the setting was original and creative.

However, the ending, though cool, needed just a bit more of a hint or more setup. It felt abrupt.

The Curious Incident at Blackrock Township, by Bitter Karella

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
A pseudo-historical witch story, July 1, 2017
by MathBrush
Related reviews: less than 15 minutes
This was a speed-IF game for Ectocomp 2016 that is framed as a series of vignettes from historical documents about a witch.

I found the old-style writing charming; searching for one of the main characters (Ezola Midnight) has no hits besides this game, so I assume that this wasn't copied directly from source texts, and that some sort of fusion was going on.

Short, and interesting.

The Train of Life, by Marco Innocenti

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful:
An interesting story that needs some more polish, July 1, 2017
by MathBrush
Related reviews: less than 15 minutes
Marco Innocenti has come up with a good story here that reminds me of Walking Dead in good ways.

There is some sort of incident that prompts a destructive release of a virus, and you are being interrogated as to your role in its release.

This would be a 4 or 5 star game in Italian, but the 3 hour time limit made the translation more choppy, breaking up the flow of the story and distancing the reader from the game. I would actually like to play this in Italian.

RPG-ish, by Stuart Lilford

3 of 4 people found the following review helpful:
A really fine tiny micro Twiny Jam game that's an RPG, July 1, 2017
by MathBrush
Related reviews: less than 15 minutes
This is an entry in a minimalistic twine jam. It makes the smallest RPG possible. There is a village with an inn and one location to fight monsters, with maybe 2 or 3 kinds of monsters. You collect XP and gold to get to the boss, who is extremely strong.

I really enjoyed this, it encapsulates the essence of an RPG in a fun way.

A Dark and Stormy Entry, by Emily Short

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful:
A clever exploration of the creative process, July 1, 2017
by MathBrush
Related reviews: less than 15 minutes
In this game, you create a story by choosing from menus. This game has a time cave structure, where every chance branches widely into more choices.

This usually is not effective, but the branches are short, the game meant to be replayed often, and you have a general idea of what effect your choices will have.

Options include choosing a setting for your short story, choosing characters, choosing motivations or objects, and so on.

You Are a Blob!, by SoftSoft

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful:
A funny purposely bad game with a 'blob language' you have to deciphter, July 1, 2017
by MathBrush
Related reviews: less than 15 minutes
This was a short ectocomp that was intended to bad, to help A. Snyder's game not be last (A. Snyder is Mike Snyder's kid). Neither game ended up being last.

This game has a lot of fake blob language with a grammar and everything. It's silly and purposely bad, and short, but it was fun learning blob grammar and exploring endings.

Wedding Day, by E. Joyce

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
A short ectocomp game about a grim wedding, July 1, 2017
by MathBrush
Related reviews: less than 15 minutes
This game has a great atmosphere. Its for ectocomp, so its really short, but it has well-clued actions for you to get ready for a wedding in a poor village.

Every item has a message attached to it, and the story has a nice buildup given how short it is. Great fun-to-time ration.

The Weird Mirror, by M.J. Antonellis

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
A short ectocomp game about a creepy mirror, July 1, 2017
by MathBrush
Related reviews: less than 15 minutes
This is a short twine game about a creepy mirror. It's jumbled and not polished at all, but it had a sort of breathy earnestness that makes the game more fun, like certain creepy pastas.

There is a creepy mirror in your house, and something can be seen inside. What is it? Is it real?

What to Do When You're Alone, by Glass Rat Media

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
A hyperlink simulation of a creepy search engine, July 1, 2017
by MathBrush
Related reviews: less than 15 minutes
In this short ectocomp game, you are using a creepy search engine that understands your true intentions, which true intentions get darker and darker over time.

This was fun, but on replay it was easier to see the forcing that occurred. Still, its well done for an ectocomp game.

A Friend to Light Your Way, by verityvirtue

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful:
A short creepy story infused with East Asian culture, July 1, 2017
by MathBrush
Related reviews: less than 15 minutes
This game describes a creepy summoning ritual that you are attempting to carry out as explore the remnants of a funeral for your grandfather that combines East Asian and Christian funeral traditions.

I found the cultural portions good, and the creature being summoned was creepy, but the game ended too abruptly I thought, and I wasn't all the way drawn in. But these are small problems for a SpeedIF entry.

Headless, Hapless, by Geoff Moore

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful:
A fun, short speedIF about finding your head, July 1, 2017
by MathBrush
Related reviews: less than 15 minutes
In this game, you have to ride everywhere looking for your head.

It had good descriptions, and was humorous. It was voted as having some of the best cover art, because its cover is also its map.

Its so short that I can't say much without spoiling the game, but it's a fun way to spend 10 minutes.

Breaking the Code, by Gunther Schmidl

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
An illegal code entered into IFComp as a text file, July 1, 2017
by MathBrush
Related reviews: less than 15 minutes
This game had the code to crack some sort of copyright protection (maybe on DVDs?)

It was entered in IFComp to make some sort of message. It's not even intended to be IF.

E-Mailbox, by Jay Goemmer

3 of 4 people found the following review helpful:
An early, linear game about using e-mail, June 24, 2017
by MathBrush
Related reviews: less than 15 minutes
This 1997 IFComp game shows to me how Twine didn't ruin parser games and IFComp; if this game had been entered in the 2010's, it would certainly have been a short twine game. I feel like authors are writing the same games, just on more appropriate platforms.

You spend most of the time typing well-clued commands and pressing enter a lot, and it's short. Its clear the author just wanted to write something short and fun. You play as a digital avatar near the digital highway, opening your digital mailbox for the first time.

Psychomanteum, by Hanon Ondricek

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
A short haunting from ectocomp, June 11, 2017
by MathBrush
Related reviews: less than 15 minutes
IN this game, you're trapped in a mirrored box as part of a Halloween stunt, carrying only a candle and some matches.

I couldn't get the game to do much, but it really had atmosphere. Just the act of lighting the matches, and the candle, and having the descriptions of your reflection described, were subtly creepy.

Toiletworld Omega, by Brian Kwak

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
A short spoof of the troll game toiletworld, June 11, 2017
by MathBrush
Related reviews: less than 15 minutes
This game spoofs Toiletworld, so you should probably make sure to play that first.

This game just has 3 under-implemented locations with some neat tricks involving Magician's Choice and movement of scenery, but otherwise it's pretty typical for a speed-IF ectocomp game. Not bad, though. This author has a longer, fun game called How to Win at Rock, Paper, Scissors.

The Unstoppable Vengeance of Doctor Bonesaw, by Caleb Wilson (as Lewis Blanco)

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful:
A clever inversion of normal gameplay; a short halloween game, June 11, 2017
by MathBrush
Related reviews: less than 15 minutes
This game is a clever inversion of usual goals. Playing normally as Dr. bonesaw, this is a short game; you get your vengeance.

The true gameplay, however, is more fun:

(Spoiler - click to show)You find the true ending by sabotaging yourself. It takes a few turns, but it's really pleasing to stop the unstoppable vengeance of Dr.
Bonesaw.


The Curse, by D.B.T

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful:
A very short QBasic game with some typos, June 11, 2017
by MathBrush
Related reviews: less than 15 minutes
After playing another of DBT's games, I looked forward to this one, because it sounded cool.

However, it just has 9 rooms, all lined up one after another, with no items to find whatsoever. You just take the exits one at a time, and at the end, you see one character, whom you can't interact with, and there's exactly one thing you can type to end the game.

Looking at the code, there's really nothing there. It's 281 lines, more than half of which is standard code for every DBT game (the text header takes up about a fourth of the code). The doll itself is referred to as the 'cusred doll'.

I'm disappointed, because this game sounded cool, and the other DBT game I played wasn't that bad.

Accidental Character Generator, by caeth

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
A character creation tool using Twine, August 21, 2016
by MathBrush
Related reviews: less than 15 minutes
This isn't really something to try and beat as much as it is a tool to come up with characters. It chooses things like name, sex and appearance, but also personality types, astrological signs, concerns about body image, etc.

There is a message of sorts in what options are generated, but it seemed mostly just like a fun tool rather than a means to a greater end.

Edit:

I've just replayed this, and discovered the black text is links to mini-stories, many of which are really good. I recommend this game now. Some strong profanity. I've increased the rating from 3 stars to 5.

Prospero, by Bruno Dias

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
A gorgeous, well-written Undum game based on a Poe story, August 9, 2016
by MathBrush
Related reviews: less than 15 minutes
This game is brief, and is based on (I believe) on the Masque of the Red Death.

The game is sub-q style, short and straightforward, but Bruno manages to make it interesting. The writing is heavy, like Devil's Food Cake. The game is an adaptation, but with enough early changes that I was intrigued to see where it would go storywise.

The game has good replay value due to a sequence of end actions wandering about a party and choosing what rooms to visit. I found at least two different interesting sequences.

I recommend this game as a short literary bite.

Get Lost!, by S. Woodson

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful:
A fairytale story about escape from the mundane, April 29, 2016
by MathBrush
Related reviews: less than 15 minutes
This game is about a young person who longs to be free from the mundane world. They try to escape, and begin to find the faery world.

The game has a variety of branches, picking from 2 sets of three big options and many smaller ones.

The game is very successful at creating and maintaining a wistful, deep atmosphere.

S. Woodson is a talented author, and it comes out in this brief game.

ANEMONE.0, by Alan DeNiro

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
An evocative little piece that serves as a counterpoint to Feu de Joie, April 29, 2016
by MathBrush
Related reviews: less than 15 minutes
Feu de Joie was a serial story released starting in 2015. It was about someone working for an online company who started getting weird messages from elsewhere.

This game is set from the other side, and manages to make powerful statements about war and world history. It's hard to go into more detail without exposing the plot.

It is very brief. I give it five stars for its polish and for its important place in the Feu de Joie series as a whole.

The Shape of Our Container, by Rocketnia

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful:
An innovative Twine game about a curious dream, April 24, 2016
by MathBrush
Related reviews: less than 15 minutes
This game, one of the later entrants to the tiny utopia jam, has several unusual features. Fist, it uses neutral pronouns (ze, zir,..). I found that this helped with establishing the tone of the game and the allowing the player to identify with the protagonist.

The second unusual feature is in its branching structure. The game has an unusual structure in its branching that had me playing again and again. This is a strongly branching games but is short enough that replay is easy, similar to Porpentine's Myriad.

Unlike most strongly branching games this game's branches build on each other and create a unified story. Also, the author left little surprises and added variety in the branches.

Skull-Scraper, by chandler groover

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful:
A brief Twine game about a skull scraper with nice effects, April 20, 2016
by MathBrush
Related reviews: less than 15 minutes
This game is a Tiny Utopia jam game, and Groover has picked an unusual vision for his utopia. You play a skull-scraper in a house of skulls, and you interact with the world in unusual ways.

This game has great production values, with combinations of advanced visuals, sound effects, etc. The setting is macabre but not gory, dark but not depressing.

The writing is well-paced, with a truly beautiful and almost-hidden turning point. Perhaps my favorite Tiny Utopias game.

What Fuwa Bansaku Found, by Chandler Groover

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful:
A poetic meditation on court life and rivalry with simple command set, March 30, 2016
by MathBrush
Related reviews: less than 15 minutes
This Sub-Q game is tightly focused and compact. You play as Fuwa Bansaku, a samurai based on a real-life Japanese swordsman. You are investigating an abandoned shrine that is rumored to be haunted.

This game uses a small number of directional commands and tightly-written poetry to achieve a compact and peaceful feel.

The story revolves around court drama and the story of the abandoned shrine.

An enjoyable, short piece.

Which Describes How You're Feeling, by Adam Parrish

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful:
A typing game; race to rhyme as many words as you can, February 15, 2016
by MathBrush
Related reviews: less than 15 minutes
In this game, the doctors are testing to see if you have recovered from a mental illness. They test you by having you rhyme words that they say, but in an odd way and with a timer counting down quickly.

In no way is this an epic or life changing games but it satisfies all of my criteria for 5 stars, which is why I'm giving it that score.

Fingertips: Leave Me Alone, by Kevin Jackson-Mead

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful:
An excellent one move, mostly puzzleless game with distinct branches, February 14, 2016
by MathBrush
Related reviews: less than 15 minutes
This is my favorite Apollo 18 one move game so far. It is very simple; someone is chasing you, and you have one chance to escape them. There is a correct solution, but all endings are interesting (I found 11 or so).

This game really shines in its writing and creativity. It affected me emotionally in a mild, pleasant way.

There is some mild profanity right at the beginning.

baby tree, by Lester Galin

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
A minimalist surreal horror/dread game, February 4, 2016
by MathBrush
Related reviews: less than 15 minutes
This game is almost like westernized Haiku, with short, clipped, uncapitalized sentences, usually of two or three words.

It is minimalistic, with perhaps less than 50 words in the entire game, two rooms, etc.

It is essentially puzzleless, but I was stuck a bit at the very end. But with so many objects, it's easy to try.

The game attempts to be one of deep/shocking/horrifying at random, and somewhat succeeds.

Ex Nihilo, by Juhana Leinonen

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
A short and charming Vorple game about omnipotence and loneliness, February 4, 2016
by MathBrush
Related reviews: less than 15 minutes
This beautiful web-based game (made with Vorple) tells the story of an omnipotent being who is alone and comes into contact with ordinary beings, before a more significant encounter.

The text shifts and changes on a white and black screen, with background decorations and smooth panning of screens.

The game, as others have said, seems to save the responses of previous players, and integrates them into the current game.

It's so short that you could play it 2 or 3 times in 15 minutes. Recommended.

Before the End of the World, by Silverstring Media

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful:
An enjoyable moment at the end of the world for a dreamer, February 3, 2016
by MathBrush
Related reviews: less than 15 minutes
I first saw this enjoyable shortish Twine game when another reviewer brought it to my attention. You visit your childhood village, where you explore the home of your own family and that of a childhood friend.

There is some kind of unspoken disaster about to occur, giving you a sense of urgency mixed with hopelessness. You discover that you and your friend had a highly unusual relationship.

The writing is evocative and breathless. The story is unfolded as you examine objects in burned-out shells of houses. I never really listen to music, but I had left the volume on as I played, and the music that came contributed significantly to the mood.

The Northnorth Passage., by Caleb Wilson (as Snowball Ice)

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful:
A short, interesting experiment on constraints, February 3, 2016
by MathBrush
Related reviews: less than 15 minutes
In this game, you are in a room that seems incredibly detailed, with many NPCs. As you progress, there are interesting locations, exciting events, and complicated scenarios.

However, it is all for naught. The family curse has activated in you, so that any action besides GO NORTH will cause your death. Time and again, it seems like some other action is needed, but only GO NORTH is allowed.

This is amusing, and would not work nearly as well in a short story. This exact feeling of helplessness is unique to an interactive format, and it's a welcome effect.

Strongly recommended.

Andromeda Dreaming, by Joey Jones

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful:
Short, atmospheric game with new lingo, tight plot, and good writing, February 3, 2016
by MathBrush
Related reviews: less than 15 minutes
This game was written as part of a competition to extend the universe of Andromeda Awakening and Andromeda Apocalypse, two of the best sci fi games out there.

This game plays with constraints in a very effective way. As the game opens, you are strapped into a bunk, unable to move. The setting will make much more sense for those who have played the first Andromeda game.

The game is mostly conversation based. It has a Gostak or For a Change feel, where you have to try and decipher what other people are saying. This part was a lot of fun, developing a new slang.

The game is quite short; I finished without a walkthrough in less than twenty minutes. However, it is very well crafted. There are supposedly many endings, but I have only reached one, and it was a good one,

This possibly has the highest fun-to-time ratio of any game I have played, so I recommend it to everyone..

Lime Ergot, by Caleb Wilson (as Rust Blight)

5 of 6 people found the following review helpful:
Great hallucinatory speed IF. Examine things that you then examine, etc., February 3, 2016
by MathBrush
Related reviews: less than 15 minutes
I've heard many people talk about Lime Ergot, but I had no idea what it was about. It was an EctoComp 2014 game, so it had to be written in 3 hours, although it has since been updated.

The main thrust of the game is that you are standing with a general near a city, trying to make a Green Skull drink. Everything is vague and surreal. You 'move' by examining things, then examining more and examining more.

I had trouble getting started, but once I got started, it got easier and easier.

Strongly recommended for its fun-to-time ratio.

Arthur, by piratescarfy

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
Short Twine game with Shakespearean influence, February 3, 2016
by MathBrush
Related reviews: less than 15 minutes
This is a Twine game in which you play as the character of young Arthur from the Shakespearean play King John. The game is very short, but provides an interesting take on the character. It is helpful to read the play before or after the game for complete understanding, but not necessary.

Tommy, by Tim Samoff & 7yo son

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful:
Very short hyperlink game about a boy and his dog, February 3, 2016
by MathBrush
Related reviews: less than 15 minutes
Short game with a few branching options but only one ending.

Seems like a fun little game a parent and child put together as a family project. No puzzles, inventory, or exploration.

Much better than anything I did as a seven year old. If you are reading this, I laughed, I liked the pictures, I cared about the dog, and only I wish it had lasted longer...

The Tiniest Room, by Erik108

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
Very complex Twiny Jam game, August 6, 2015
by MathBrush
Related reviews: less than 15 minutes
Twiny Jam is a competition requiring entries to have 300 words or less in the code. Many of these games are pretty spare. This game is one of the richest and complex I've seen within this word limit. It is a one-room escape game with numerous puzzles.

As a non-Twiny Jam game, it is only a short bit of fun. But as an example of what you can do in a constrained format, it is excellent.

creak, creak, by chandler groover

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful:
Excellent microgame, May 11, 2015
by MathBrush
Related reviews: less than 15 minutes
I learned that this is an entry for a micro-writing contest, where all entries must be 300 words or less. Given that my only issue was the length, I am giving this five stars for the format that it is intended for.

**Original review**
This is not so much a game as it is a way of presenting a short, scary story. It is very-well crafted while it lasts, but there are only one or two real choices in the game, and they don't make a large difference.

I want to be clear that the game is exceptionally well developed and put together--but I expect that most people playing interactive fiction are looking for something much longer than this.


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