Reviews by MathBrush

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Read This First, by Jessica Creane

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful:
A small circular game, July 13, 2024
by MathBrush
Related reviews: less than 15 minutes

This game seems to be one giant loop. It's a pretty amusing representation of the frustration of starting a new board game and trying to get everything set up.

It's just a small bit of game, so there's not too much to say. If there were some explanation that was missing, that could make it more interesting, or if there were some hidden code, but the twine file doesn't show any interesting hidden material.

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19 Once, by Yvonne Jeagon, Larissa Jemmy

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
Short conversation puzzle game, July 9, 2024
by MathBrush
Related reviews: less than 15 minutes

I saw spoilers already on this games secret, but I've only played this game for now so I'll judge it on its own.

It's a fun parser game that reappropriates directions N/E/S/W to be the initials of your friends. Directional movement corresponds to visiting your friends and talking to them.

Your goal is to convince your 4 19-yr old friends to come together, to be reunited again. Each friend you talk to can bring up different topics. Mentioning those topics to others can provoke new topics.

I had fun with this, and convinced 2/4 friends and had a third ready to go. But I couldn't logic out how to help the 4th one, so I just threw everything I had at them repeatedly until I solved it.

Neat idea!

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The Mysterious Cave, by Ragi
A brief Adventuron game that could be tuned up into something pretty cool, July 8, 2024
by MathBrush
Related reviews: less than 15 minutes

This is a brief Adventuron game with some fun graphics that seem custom-made and a few rooms.

I was able to complete it very quickly. There were only a few rooms, and each room only had one way to go forward. There was one puzzle which I solved by using the pictures, as the text didnít seem to provide many clues.

There were several errors. The game started by saying that some settings were not configured, and the first page has a big typo in capital letters. The puzzle solution also acted a bit weird, like it was reacting to keywords rather than commands. The very ending didnít make sense to me the way it was written.

Overall, it feels more like a programming exercise than a full game, but this is exactly what a good game can look like early on in the process before itís fully developed, so I would tell this author this isnít really bad, just needs more work.

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The Truth About PRIDE!, by Jemon Golfin

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
A bitsy game associating words with Pride, June 29, 2024
by MathBrush
Related reviews: less than 15 minutes

This game is about Pride (and given the rainbow flag, I assume with LGBT pride and pride month). However, it doesn't really talk about that in the game at all.

Instead, there are six paths, each corresponding to one letter in 'pride' (and an exclamation mark). Each of the letter paths has part of a hidden message that unlocks a final message.

On the letter paths, there are copies of the letter that you are currently learning about, each corresponding to a positive word, like Respect or determination.

However, all of the connections are really tenuous. The words don't have anything to do with Pride specifically; they're just describing positive traits in generic terms. It could equally as well be Pride in your local grocery store, patriotic pride, religious pride, pride in rehab, etc.

I think it might have been neat to tailor the message more to the theme.

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To Beseech Old Sins, by Nic June
Three powerful but loving beings in space, June 25, 2024
by MathBrush
Related reviews: less than 15 minutes

This game is centered around three essentially immortal space marines (or equivalent) who love to make out and who are the last resort for armies to employ.

The game looks cool visually, and the writing is descriptive.

The plot was a bit hard for me to follow. A lot of it is just the main characters really enjoying laying on top of or close to each other. There is a fight, and at first I thought there'd be a big twist as they see something amazing, but it's just (Spoiler - click to show)the other side surrendering, which is what was implied would happen anyway.

Some of the links move the story forward and some are 'asides', but there's no back button and no way to distinguish the two links. I'd appreciate some way to know if a link is side info or 'go forward irrevocably'.

Overall, I found it polished and descriptive, but had difficulties with the interactivity and felt a reduced emotional impact due to confusion with the story.

If there were more games in the series, it would really cool to learn about the characters backgrounds, or major differences between them, or how they 'work'.

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Thanks, but I don't remember asking., by Mea Murukutla
Trouble in the schoolyard--a short, trippy game, June 25, 2024
by MathBrush
Related reviews: less than 15 minutes

I need to preface this review by saying that I'm giving this game 5 stars only because it specifically fits some very niche interests of mine. I think if I was just giving recommendations for general audience it would likely be 3 stars due to being short.

This game starts with you inside a school looking out on a courtyard, seeing some people arguing. You approach them, wanting to learn more, but you realize you have nothing to offer them.

The plot then swerves in several ways. The rest of the review is in spoilers:
(Spoiler - click to show)
It becomes clear this is a post-apocalyptic world. There are few enough humans that the group you've found just calls themselves One, Two, and Three.

The big twist is that you forget everything every 30 minutes or so. You've established a routine for yourself to stay alive, but you weren't aware of the forgetting fact. You discover that someone stayed with you previously and took care of you, but also manipulated you.


The game is definitely short, which is why I hedge my recommendation, but I love the concept and the combination and it inspires me to think of the possibilities. I'd love to write a game with similar mechanics (it used to be very popular in parser games twenty years ago but I think it died out).

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Bydlo; or the Ox-Cart, by P.B. Parjeter

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
A short Bitsy game that speaks through music, June 18, 2024
by MathBrush
Related reviews: less than 15 minutes

This game was entered into the back garden of Spring Thing.

It is game written using bitsy, which uses minimalist graphics and is typically used to make interactive fiction through text boxes which can pop up with different interactions.

This game only has a single word of text in it, though. You simply progress through the same screen multiple times, that screen becoming somewhat of a maze. Eventually you discover a bit more, and have a musical ending. Throughout, music plays.

Overall, I found the piece was very successful at setting a mood and communicating an expression. I found the maze repetitive and would have enjoyed more written words.

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Only War - Warhammer 40.000: The Text Adventure, by Simon Christiansen

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful:
Minimal source code for an April Fool's joke, June 15, 2024
by MathBrush
Related reviews: less than 15 minutes

I found this game by searching for the games with the highest standard deviation.

This game is just a Warhammer quote fed into Inform 7 (with one extra line, I think). It's amusing because it compiles, thus creating the crux of the Warhammer setting but...that's it.

Pretty funny as an April Fool's joke.

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Holography, by Emily Short

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful:
An experience like brainstorming, written in Inklewriter, April 21, 2024
by MathBrush
Related reviews: less than 15 minutes

I used an Internet Archive backup to play this game.

In it, you start with a one-sentence story, and then expand on it. After three or four rounds of expansion, you get a full-fledged story.

There is quite a variety; I found a cheating king who broke his wife's heart, an evil witch who sucked the life force from her husband, and a mysterious assassin who married the king and left her old life behind only to be forced to return to her old habits.

The structure seems to be completely branching, which makes sense as Inklewriter isn't an exceptionally powerful engine. There may be some state tracking, though I'm not sure.

Overall, the stories were each high quality, but this overall feels slight in terms of its interactive structure.

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Fugue, by Emily Short

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful:
A game out of time--short, with little time but several options, April 21, 2024
by MathBrush
Related reviews: less than 15 minutes

This is a choice-based game written using a parser. At the time it came out, 2008, choice-based games had a long history already but they had never been popular in the IFComp or r*if usenet communities. The reviews from that time indicate that people found its choice-based nature unappealing.

The game is based on a writing prompt, and that prompt is essential to understanding the game. You begin in a cafe with three people around you called B, C, and D, and an American couple, one with a lisp and one with a stutter.

The speech impediments are part of the prompt; it can be difficult to write impediments in a way that doesn't come of as either condescending or mocking, but I think this pulls it off well.

For a choice-based game, this is actually quite complex. Time progresses no matter what you do, but you can focus on talking to each of the three people with you, or Wait. Each person you're talking to has a variety of options on what you can ask them about. I found that the game could recognize even small parts of the prompt, so if a question started with 'ask whether...', then typing ASK WHETHER was enough to solve it.

I remember trying this in the past and thinking it didn't go much beyond the prompt, so I was surprised this time that there was a major twist in the story. I had to reread to make sure I was understanding right. I'm surprised the other reviews don't mention that.

I genuinely liked this game; I liked the twist, the parser added a little 'crunchiness' to the choice interactivity, and it was well-written. The only thing that seemed 'off' was that choosing to just 'WAIT' ends up with an interaction that doesn't seem to fit the story as written.

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