Reviews by MathBrush

about 1 hour

View this member's profile

Show ratings only | both reviews and ratings
View this member's reviews by tag: 15-30 minutes 2-10 hours about 1 hour about 2 hours IF Comp 2015 Infocom less than 15 minutes more than 10 hours Spring Thing 2016
...or see all reviews by this member
1-10 of 315 | Next | Show All

Damp Martyrs, by Gavin Inglis and Failbetter Games

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
Fistfights and martyrdom on the high seas, December 11, 2021
by MathBrush
Related reviews: about 1 hour

This story, an Exceptional story for Fallen London (a bonus chunk of content for paid suscribers), takes place on the Zee, and in part feels like an exploration of that part of the game's content (which was recently expanded).

You are in search of the heir of a rich family. She was last seen with the Circumcelion Brotherhood, a group of brawling monks who hope to get murdered and have after-death experiences before being brought back by Fallen London's general resurrection mechanics.

The main character in this has a lot of personality, and is the main attraction of this story, but otherwise there's not a lot here to distinguish it from other tales of the Zee. If you're interested in brawling monks and tough women then it's worth checking out.

Reunion, by James Chew, Failbetter Games

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
Follow Victoria's grandson as he searches for drugs and power, December 11, 2021
by MathBrush
Related reviews: about 1 hour

One of the key features of Fallen London is prisoner's honey, as substance which transports its users to the world of dreams. It plays a role in society similar to opium dens from that time.

Something you can learn about in many of the stories (especially early on in the Nemesis ambition) is about (Spoiler - click to show)gaoler's honey, a stronger variant that is made by bees invading someone's brain and sucking out the memories. It lets you experience their memories but causes them terrible pain. Even further in the lore, you can find a connection between this and the Royal Family, as (fairly big spoilers for those who haven't read stories involving the royal family) (Spoiler - click to show)they all used tainted red honey and became hideous beasts, except for one who gained horrible mental powers).

This game follows a member of the royal family who stayed on the surface, a grandson of Victoria named Albert together with his mother. He wants to experience the honey drug dens and wants to be like the rest of the Royal Family. A lot of the game seems intent on portraying a weak and sad outsider trying to be part of a larger group.

It is a solid story, but pales in comparison to most other royal family stories, especially The Gift or the captivating princess storyline in Sunless Skies.

Leviathan, by Mary Goodden and Failbetter Games
An expedition for bones and monsters at the Gant pole, December 11, 2021
by MathBrush
Related reviews: about 1 hour

This is a Fallen London exceptional story, meaning it is a supplementary tale to the overall main game.

This story was meant to explore the bone market and its side characters more. When the bone market first came out, the Carpenter's Granddaughter was (and is) an important figure who can sell the largest bone frame and manage your market exhaustion.

In this story, you go on a journey with that character to the Gant Pole, a location first featured in the spinoff game Sunless Sea. The Gant Pole is an enormous decomposing heart of a sea creature that is lived in an attracts things that have lost all other desires or purposes in life. Gant is one of seven fictional colors in Fallen London, described as the color that exists when all else is gone.

As you search for giant bones and fossils in this story, it takes a darker turn into body horror, including a chance for you to alter yourself in disconcerting ways.

Overall, this story is an interesting character study of its main protagonist and antagonist. The interactivity aids the story but isn't memorable in and of itself. A good option for fans of the Zee and/or bones.

La dulce compañía, by DareDoge

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful:
A very long multimedia Twine story about goblins, November 26, 2021
by MathBrush
Related reviews: about 1 hour

This is the biggest game entered into the Spanish 2021 Ectocomp.

It's a Twine game using a lot of images and sounds. There is very little interactivity; the majority of the game is long pages filled with text and images with 'CONTINUAR' at the bottom. Occasionally there are choices, but they don't always remember what you do (for instance, (Spoiler - click to show)giving an item to a teacher early on doesn't get recorded, because you can give it to someone else later).

The main interactivity is thing of incense that you have that you can burn to stop the goblins. However, it isn't always clear when you can do this; frequently when the goblins were doing something bad I tried to use it, but just wasted my 'charges'. It seems reserved for moments when (Spoiler - click to show)the game is trapped in a loop.

There were a few typos here and there. The story often switches between second and third person, although that might just be me as a non-native speaker misunderstanding. As for the story itself, it was very descriptive with a wide variety of characters and a lot of imagination. Goblins were tied together with a high school that was once a military base, and both tied to another world. It was a complex and long story, and one I'm not sure I understood very well. But the story itself, with the images and the sounds, are a great accomplishment. I just wish I could have done more myself.

Fiesta Mortal, by ivsaez

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful:
A high school party murder mystery with tons of 3d illustrations, November 18, 2021
by MathBrush
Related reviews: about 1 hour

This is a pretty weird game. It's a horror game written for the Spanish division of Ectocomp, and it has tons of illustrations that are made by posing some 3d models whose quality is somewhere between roblox and Sims. It's intentionally garish and pretty funny.

In the game, one of your old friends who had been ghosting you invites you to a party hosted by the most popular girl in school, Steisy. Unfortunately, dastardly things are happening there.

I got a bad ending, but didn't feel like replaying, as I prefer text-only games (or at least games where the text is the primary source of interaction). There were several puzzles involving movement and collecting objects. There are some sexual references and a variety of profanity (I learned some new words!) Overall, a funny experiment.

Leyendas del Castillo, by Mery

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful:
An amusing and complex story about exploring a monster-filled castle, November 17, 2021
by MathBrush
Related reviews: about 1 hour

This game was entered in the Spanish division of Ectocomp as a Grand Guignol game, meaning it took > 4 hours to complete.

It is an excellently written game, using amusing and complex writing to tell the tales of a haunted castle. It has the form of a CYOA book, with different 'page numbers' references (although they aren't actually numbered). Different branching paths let you experience different monsters.

As a non-native speaker, I found a lot of words I didn't know here, as the author uses very descriptive and colloquial language. I found two monsters in two different paths. One, (Spoiler - click to show)the succubus, included some sexual scenes that were detailed but not explicitly describe sexual acts.

Once you've completed a path, the game gives you links to interesting facts about the creatures you encountered and lets you 'warp back' to a convenient place to find other paths. Overall, this was very well written.

Grandma Bethlinda's Remarkable Egg, by Arthur DiBianca

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful:
Random experimentation with one-word commands, October 24, 2021
by MathBrush
Related reviews: about 1 hour

For the better part of a decade, Arthur DiBianca has been putting out limited parser games, where most commands are shut off and only a few work.

This game is kind of an opposite version of that. Instead of few commands, there are tons of commands, some of which you have to guess (for full completion) and most of which you don't know what they do.

This is a game that invites experimentation and discovery. Part of the fun is trying out a command and having it do something surprising but, in hindsight, reasonable.

There's not much storywise, but a lot of depth. Reaching the first winning situation isn't too hard, but getting all the points is very difficult (I admit I looked at the intfiction thread for most of the extra credit points).

Overall, I found the game enjoyable.

The Corsham Witch Trial, by JC Blair

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
An account of a trial with extensive fake documentation, but few choices, October 23, 2021
by MathBrush
Related reviews: about 1 hour

This is a pretty long game content-wise but pretty short choice-wise.

You are a new legal expert at a firm (I think?) and you're asked to look through evidence in an old case.

The case is described from beginning to end, primarily through PDF documentation that opens in another window. Your character can react to what they find, but opening and reading the documents is the main form of interaction, kind of like the more involved SCPs on the SCP wiki.

The game does touch an several important points in law like he said/she said and the balance between punishing the guilty and protecting the innocent.

I found the writing overall strong (with one caveat: I don't think the (Spoiler - click to show)child's writing is accurate. Children tend to use correct rules in the wrong places (like 'I goed to the store') instead of just having random misspellings (like 'I like stiks)). Characters were highly dramatized but were differentiated from each other.

The interaction style isn't what I usually go for in games, but it is what I like in SCPs and other collaborative static fiction sites. However, since I'm reviewing for an IF site, I'll stick with my usual rubric, for which I'd give this a 3.

Fine Felines, by Felicity Banks

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful:
Cat breeding, dating and disability simulator in Choicescript, October 21, 2021
by MathBrush
Related reviews: about 1 hour

This game is a polished Choicescript cat breeding simulator.

You have $10,000 and a small monthly income, and have the opportunity to buy several different varieties of pedigree cats while buying different supplies and living areas for the cats.

Simultaneously, you have to deal with a new disability, which costs money and takes up your time.

I had remembered hearing before that buying pedigree cats was unethical, and you should get them from pounds. But looking it up, it seems like the main reason people say that its bad is because they have puppy mills or cat mills where animals are stored in unhealthy conditions. Even 'backyard sellers' can be problematic, with one website offering these red flags:
(Spoiler - click to show)
-The seller has many types of purebreds or “designer” hybrid breeds being sold at less than six weeks old.
-Breeders who are reluctant to show potential customers the entire premises on which animals are being bred and kept.
-Breeders who don’t ask a lot of questions of potential buyers.
-No guarantees-responsible breeders make a commitment to take back the pet at anytime during the animal’s life, no matter the reason.

Anyway, the point of the long digression is that my character did none of these things; quite the opposite in fact! So I was happy to do some ethical cat breeding.

The biggest strength of the game is, absolutely, its cute cat pictures. I like cats, but I spend very little time looking up pet pics online and don't really feel interested in such pictures in general. But the cats in this game are very cute, especially since you follow their story.

There are also several romantic options. It was actually a bit too easy to romance people; I thought I was picking a 'be nice' option but my character ended up asking the person out.

+Polish: The game was smooth and looked good.
+Descriptiveness: The game had plenty of detail.
+Interactivity: It was clear what different options I had and how it could affect my strategy, without being too easy
+Emotional impact: It was pretty cute
+Would I play again? Sure

The Libonotus Cup, by Nils Fagerburg

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful:
A fancy javascript parser game about a pirate race, October 21, 2021
by MathBrush
Related reviews: about 1 hour

This game is, as far as I can tell, written in a custom javascript engine, since you can see how its constructed in the JS and I don't think Dialog does that (but it feels like Inform or Dialog).

This is a pirate racing game with a multitude of different puzzles, some optional, including a maze, a crossword puzzle, traditional parser puzzles, directing people, shopping and economy, logic puzzles, etc.

The idea is that you are entering a racing competition with pirate ships and have 1 day to get and spend money and time to prepare your ship for the race. Then you enter a choice-based segment where you race, encountering various threats and making choices you don't know the consequences of ahead of time, like classic CYOA books.

I found the game overall enjoyable, but I felt like it was missing some key direction at various points. In the beginning, it wasn't clear what was desired or what was possible. Similarly, during the parser interlude in the race, it was unclear what form commands should take, and it was somewhat fussy overall.

That's my only real complaint with the game. Otherwise, it has excellent polish and a fun setting.

1-10 of 315 | Next | Show All