Reviews by MathBrush

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A AAAAA AAAAAAAAA, by AAAA AAAAAAA

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
A fairly short and silly game where all coded responses are A's, September 15, 2021
by MathBrush
Related reviews: less than 15 minutes

This game uses only the letter A in all of its descriptions. It retains inform's original error messages though.

Like SCP-5251, the puzzle here is figuring out what words would fit into the given spaces. Fortunately, it's based on (Spoiler - click to show)a classic type of adventure puzzle. I only figured that out by looking at the comments of other reviews.

-Polish: The game could certainly have commited harder by implementing more error messages and nouns.
+Descriptiveness: The whole puzzle depends on the way the descriptions are written.
-Interactivity: There could have been a lot more meat here.
+Emotional impact: I found the idea fun.
-Would I play again? No.


Sohoek Ekalmoe, by Caleb Wilson

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful:
A beautiful short game where you play as a plant, September 13, 2021
by MathBrush
Related reviews: less than 15 minutes

This is a lovely little game by Caleb Wilson, one of many games of his involving magical plants.

In this one, you are at the bottom of a well with a piece of nearby sunlight. You want to grow but you just aren't strong enough.

This game is brief but with excellent characterization and strong writing, reminding me a bit of Out by Sobol, although less metaphorical. There are nice bits of world-building as well.


Daddy's Birthday, by Jonathan8

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful:
A cute little birthday game written by a kid, August 2, 2021
by MathBrush
Related reviews: less than 15 minutes

This game was co-written by an 8-year-old girl and her father. Having a kid around that age that I've made IF games with, I completely enjoyed this game and thought it was cute.

I never had any problems with the parser, and I think the young author's fresh perspective allowed some surprising responses that weren't in the norm.

The 'puzzles' were simple to follow and interactivity flowed well.

Overall, a very pleasant little game. Very small, and very fun; what a nice experience for a family team.


Yesternight, by Robert Szacki

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful:
A tiny parser game in AdvSys, August 1, 2021
by MathBrush
Related reviews: less than 15 minutes

The author has said elsewhere that this is just a small game that will be more polished later on.

It uses the AdvSys language, which is capable of making very powerful games but requires a lot of work to get going. Unfortunately, this game doesn't have all that work.

It is very small, with only one real puzzle, all of whose steps are clear, but it's hard to type them in. Here are my attempts at one of the most important steps:

(Spoiler - click to show)
>pour water
I don't understand.
>water flower
I don't understand.
>empty bottle
I don't know the word 'empty'.
>put water on flower
I don't know the word 'put'.
>pour bottle
Nothing happens.
>give water
I don't understand.
>give bottle
Nothing happens.
>open bottle
I don't know the word 'open'.
>put water
I don't know the word 'put'.


The real answer was (Spoiler - click to show)'pour flower'.

My score of a 1 reflects the games lack of polish and verbs and general unfinished state. I 100% believe that with more time the author could make something marvelous.


Closet of Mystery, by Michael Cox

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful:
A tiny game with some fun twists, May 17, 2021
by MathBrush
Related reviews: less than 15 minutes

This game is perhaps the shortest in the PunyInform jam, and it isn't perfect, but it has a lot of distinct advantage over its competitors:

-it has an overarching narrative
-it fits several twists into a 3-move game
-most objects are implemented more than the other games implement their objects

As surprise is the main feature of the game, I suppose I won't say much more. You start in a pub broom closet with a knife holding a note onto the wall.


A strange dream, by Anaïs Tn

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful:
A raw quest file that is in no way finished, April 16, 2021
by MathBrush
Related reviews: less than 15 minutes

This is a raw, uncompiled Quest file with a few locations and items. Many actions are built in to the descriptions and the only properties that seem to be used here are descriptions, locations, items being portable or not, and containers. For instance, the front door is a location you can enter and it contains a lock.

There is no ending, but there is a suggestion of an ending given in the description printed when trying to take some items.

This is essentially an outline for a game.


The Secret of Nara, by Ralfe Rich

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
A short branching twine game about an animal in the forest, April 14, 2021
by MathBrush
Related reviews: less than 15 minutes

This nice-looking Twine game is by Ralfe Rich, an author I've seen a few games by in recent years.

It's a peaceful tale where you play a kind of wild creature (I imagined a moose or deer) wandering about, choosing whether to be solitary or part of a group, etc.

The branching structure has some early endings and some later endings, allows for some customization of personality but little strategy, as endings generally come as a surprise.

The writing is pretty but vague, so vague that it loses some of its charm. I think it could have been grounded more somehow, with more specificity or data from the senses. For instance:

"You are not sure what to make of such things. You have been fixed in what you know and believe for so long. Such thoughts dance in your mind as you question if your being is taking on a metamorphosis. Changing what you value, what you hold dear.
"

I think this is poetic, but these words could apply to almost every character in every story in every genre. I could use a little more about this story, now. There's some of that later on.


Cycles (Excerpt), by Mike Marttila

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful:
The opening chapter of a family-and-memory ink game, April 13, 2021
by MathBrush
Related reviews: less than 15 minutes

The Back Garden of Spring Thing this year strongly resembles Introcomp. Many of these games are just excerpts or intros into longer games.

Sam Kabo Ashwell has done a lot of introcomp reviews in the past, and one thing he mentions a lot (though I can't find a direct link) is how intros are most interesting when they depict what the main gameplay will be like. In my experience, too, it's good to have the first chapter of your game set the expectation for what the main game will be like.


In this game, though, I get the impression that the rest of the game will be nothing like the intro at all, neither in setting, nor tone, nor mechanics. So it's very hard to get an idea if the finished game will be enjoyable or not.

As for the game itself, you play as a woman invited to a family reunion with people she hasn't seen in 12 years (as well as others she has, like her father). The game lets you choose what kind of attitude to have towards your family as the main interaction. Then there is a twist.

The overall writing was descriptive and had a distinct voice. I often felt like my choices didn't make too much of a difference or allow me to characterize myself consistently, and I would have liked that.


An Amical Bet, by Eve Cabanié

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful:
A short uncompiled Quest file about stealing stuff, April 12, 2021
by MathBrush
Related reviews: less than 15 minutes

This is a short Quest game about theft in a very unpolished state.

The game is a raw quest file. There are a few objects scattered around a big map, with descriptions, and some are take-able and some are not. There is a single condition you have to meet to win.

Your character is a woman who has frequently lusty reactions to things around her.

I think I saw this was a school project. As a school project, I think it's great; I've taught game design courses before and having something like this that is both winnable and has things mostly described is actually pretty great.

But under my usual rating system, I would consider this unpolished, with uninspiring interactivity, little emotional impact and not one I plan on revisiting.


Miss No-Name, by Bellamy Briks

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
A charming short Twine game with many endings, April 6, 2021
by MathBrush
Related reviews: less than 15 minutes

This game is short but has a lot of different branches. It's not really a time cave, since some branches come together, so it's interesting.

There's a girl at your school who is icy-cold and intimidates teachers to keep them from saying her name. Therefore, no one knows it, so you take a bet to find out.

There are a lot of paths, most resembling cute high school movie tropes.

I liked the game; the writing was cute, the characters charming. The backstory seems a bit sad but relatable. I always felt that writing a game is like sharing a bit of your soul with others, and reading/playing that game is a way of honoring and accepting that.

I guess my main drawback for the game is that it mostly amounts to guessing what each action will do, and I wish there was a way to puzzle it out more; but that's just me and not everyone may feel that way.



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