Reviews by MathBrush

15-30 minutes

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View this member's reviews by tag: 15-30 minutes 2-10 hours about 1 hour about 2 hours IF Comp 2015 Infocom less than 15 minutes more than 10 hours Spring Thing 2016
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Snowhaven, by Tristin Grizel Dean

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful:
A cozy (or sad) wilderness parser game with graphics and sound, August 2, 2021
by MathBrush
Related reviews: 15-30 minutes

This was a truly pleasant game to play. The art was very lovely, reminding me of a more advanced version of the art in Laura Knauth's Winter Wonderland.

This is written in Adventuron, and has a few 'modes', including a cozy one and a sad one. I played both of those.

The game has its own internal logic that doesn't correspond 100% to standard interactive fiction tropes. For instance, a few puzzles require that you type the desired result without detailing the physical actions that prompt that result (an example, not in the game, would be like saying 'go golfing' instead of 'hit ball').

Because of that, I got stuck a bit, but I noticed that the many other people who played seemed to get by without asking for hints online, so I persevered. Overall, I enjoyed the atmosphere of this game the most out of this comp, and think this is an outstanding use of Adventuron.


Waiting for the Day Train, by Dee Cooke

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful:
A pleasant game about reaching a train. Has two perspectives, August 2, 2021
by MathBrush
Related reviews: 15-30 minutes

This game opens with a spooky pixel art world and story, then transitions to a generally pleasant, somewhat magical real life world with photographs.

It has 3-5 puzzles. All are simple, and most are well-clued. One involving a fish felt a little arbitrary to me, but overall it was nice.

The game felt smooth and polished. The writing gives hints of interesting worldbuilding. Overall, like others have noted, the game feels a bit disconnected between its two sides, but both sides are individually well put-together.


The Time Machine, by Bill Maya

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful:
A short adaptation of H. G. Wells Time Machine, August 2, 2021
by MathBrush
Related reviews: 15-30 minutes

I beta tested this game.

This game is an adaptation of a static fiction story. This is something very hard to do well in a parser game; I've tried it myself and more or less failed, and so have many others. This game runs into a lot of the same problems: a faithful adaptation assumes a linear plot, while a parser game is centered around freedom of expression.

This game implements a house with many mentioned details but few which are usable. There are bugs, such as when one attempts to break a window (not needed in the game).

Plot wise, it doesn't follow the book directly, but instead starts after the action of the first one, allowing you to prove to the world that the time machine is real. The whole setup makes it seem like it will be very complex, but in reality there are only 2-3 puzzles and the whole game can be completed in very few steps.


Fivebyfivia Delenda Est, by Andrew Schultz

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful:
A bite-sized chess puzzle, August 2, 2021
by MathBrush
Related reviews: 15-30 minutes

I generally enjoy games by Andrew Schultz, and this was no exception.

It's a small game on a 5x5 chess square with a few short chess puzzles. Using knight moves, you must move around the board to achieve your goals.

+Polish: The game was very smooth. I kept trying to type SUMMON instead of CALL but that's entirely on me.
+Descriptive: I actually like the writing in this more than almost all other Schultz games. It goes in a different direction and I like it.
+Interactivity: The puzzles appealed to me.
+Emotional impact: Genuine enjoyment counts as an emotion, right?
+Would I play it again? Yes, I found it satisfying.

I don't everyone would like this all the time, but I think some people would like this some of the time. If you'd like a brief logic-based brainteaser that wraps itself up nicely, try it out.


Loud House 'game on', by Caleb Wilson

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful:
A Nickolodeon-based game made by a kid, August 1, 2021
by MathBrush
Related reviews: 15-30 minutes

This is an unpolished but complex and amusing parser game made by a kid.

It's strongly based on different Nickolodeon series, starting with the Loud House.

Here's my rating:

-Polish: For a kid making a parser game, it's great. Otherwise, it has numerous problems, most of which could be solved by time and practice.
-Descriptiveness: Most of the details are left out, relying on your knowledge of the shows or of classic tropes to fill in the details.
+Emotional impact: I thought it was fun and funny, especially the slime's riddle solutions
+Interactivity: It was straightforward but manage to cook up a lot of surprises. Some bugs but intfiction hints helped me out.
+Would I play again? With my kid, yeah


Grandpa's Ranch, by Kenneth Pedersen

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful:
A charming short treasure hunt on a grandfather's farm, August 1, 2021
by MathBrush
Related reviews: 15-30 minutes

This game is, I believe, a late entry to the recent parser competition that was for 2-word introductory games for kids. It's a simple Adrift game that is generally very polished, with a tutorial available, music, a few pictures, and some text effects.

Here's my rating:
+Polished: The game is very smooth and well-done.
+Descriptive: The game is sparse and, as part of the competition, can only put a couple of lines in each description, but the author manages to make each room interesting and to serve many purposes. It could have been easy to throw in a bunch of empty rooms to fill up space, but every is nice and compact.
+Interactivity: The puzzles were generally fair and interesting. I set the game down for about an hour in the middle, and forgot an important clue and had to look at the pdf, but if I hadn't wandered off I would have remembered.
-Emotional impact: While the game is generally charming, it never garnered a strong emotional response from me.
+Would I play again? Maybe I'd show it to my son.


Danny Dipstick, by Garry Francis

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful:
Pick-up artist training simulator as a small parser game , August 1, 2021
by MathBrush
Related reviews: 15-30 minutes

Danny Dipstick is a compact, polished puzzle game where you play as an uncharismatic man who is desperate to get a girl's phone number.

This game is based off on an older game by a different author. Much of my reaction to this game is based on my feelings about this variant of date culture in general, and may not reflect the author's own attitudes.

In my opinion, the central tenets of this game (that being able to easily persuade women to date you is desirable, that the barriers between you and 'random woman you just met' are all superficial things like appearance that can be easily corrected, etc.) do not hold up. In the past, almost all people met their partners through mutual friends, and now according to modern research the internet is even more common. For me, Danny's story didn't seem authentic and didn't resonate with me.

Like someone else mentioned, the depiction of the store clerk seemed inauthentic as well. He's described as scrawny, undernourished, with an almost unintelligible accent. According to statistics, the median Indian household is much wealthier than the median white household, and English is a first language for many in India. This corresponds with my own experience; in Texas, where I live, a huge chunk of my everyday coworkers and friends are Indian, and almost half of my wealthy tutoring clients are Indian. I'm sure scrawny, undernourished, unintelligible Indian people exist, but they're certainly outliers.

Mechanically, I was really pleased with the compact puzzles and their unity of purpose. The puzzles were simple but it contributed to the overall feel of the game.


Foreign Soil, by Olaf Nowacki

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful:
A space colonization parser game with a fun opening sequence, August 1, 2021
by MathBrush
Related reviews: 15-30 minutes

I remembered this game when I played it during the competition, but I couldn't remember where. Was I a beta tester? No, I wasn't in the credits.

Then I remembered that this was entered into Introcomp! The author has certainly improved the game since then. Back then, it only had the opening and then an empty crater.

This game has you play as a colonist arriving on a planet. The opening sequence is pretty brilliant, similar to the Ian Finley game Gris et Jaune. Unfortunately for both games, they get a little buggy later.

This game has few big bugs in it, like if you type REMOVE [something] it gives an error message with a space missing.

The game is ambitious, though; even though it's not super long, it has changing time, major modifications to locations, an autonomous NPC, and a (Spoiler - click to show)change in perspective.

If the bugs were fixed, I would give this game a 4 or 5, and I think the author didn't something great and should continue coding.


Sea of Graves, by House Miroe

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
A work-in-progress horror romance Twine game about a supernatural agency, July 11, 2021
by MathBrush
Related reviews: 15-30 minutes

This game is part of the list of great twine/ink games on itch that I found here.

This game has a setup that is partly a personality test and partly an intro to a supernatural-themed version of the SCP foundation (complete with the motto 'Observe, Learn, Protect'). You are handled a big sheaf of background world-building and given a test to see 'what kind of agent are you?'

Then there is a narrative section about you returning to your hometown, which the player quickly realizes is very anomalous.

The game cuts out quickly after that. Everything up to this point is great; the trouble is that the 'core gameplay' hasn't really been shown yet, which means that we haven't really seen how romance, combat, or investigation will work. In my experience, this makes such games more difficult to complete, so I wish the author all the best. Either way, I'd definitely play more games by this author.


Djinn on the Rocks, by Joshua Wilson

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful:
A small game with clever mechanics: swap any similar objects, May 17, 2021
by MathBrush
Related reviews: 15-30 minutes

This game is complex and rich for a small game written for a jam. You are a djinn and have the power to APPRAISE objects to see what they're made of, then to SWAP similar objects.

John Evans used to write games with similar powers a couple decades ago, and those games didn't have many restrictions on what you could swap or summon or create, so it often ended up buggy and a mess.

This game gets around that problem by putting very tight restrictions on what you can and can't swap. In fact, there was only a single pair of objects I found in the entire game that I could swap, although I'm sure there are more out there. Overall, I found the game well-implemented and fun.



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