Reviews by manonamora

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Solkatt_ (french version), by BenyDanette
Weirdcore galore, March 12, 2024
by manonamora
Related reviews: shufflecomp, seedcomp

Made in Decker, this point-and-click game follows Linus (you), a young adult still living with her parents in what seems to be a Scandinavian Arctic town. Linus has not had the easiest of time, being a shadow of her brother, unsupported by her family, and having gone through a breakup. In this cold afternoon, you explore Linusís home, looking first for a bite to eat, rummaging around and reminiscing about life.

With its low-bit and dithered aesthetic, the game falls deep into weirdcore when you hear a strange noise. The pixelled background sound and flipped palette renders the already melancholic-to-depressing atmosphere to a legit skin-crawling creepy one. I donít know whether Linus was having some sort of out-of-body episode or some otherworldly beings were at play. I donít think an answer is needed to enjoy the game however.

The entry used all songs, and explicitly indicated where those bits can be found in the game on the game page and the credits. Each song has been used in different ways, from taking snippets of the respective music video, displaying lyrics on the screen, to using it as an inspiration for the setting and story. It is a nice blend.

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Summers with the Sea King, by Dry Cappuccino Games

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful:
Summer of sadness, January 16, 2024
by manonamora
Related reviews: shufflecomp

This was a linear short story where you reminisce about summers from your childhood, and the time you shared with a friend (or was it more?). The entry contains 4 endings, which are dependent on both your choices throughout the game, and one specific choice. Though it is overall linear, your choice will bring quite a bit of variation throughout.

The path I ended up getting was full of melancholy, with the looming unescapable crossroad of adulting ruining everything the magic of summer for those two. Between the want of everything to stay as is and the practicality of things, the writing really portrays how relationship can come and go, and words - written or oral - have more impacts than we think.

Apparently, that ending is one of the saddest one, but it strangely felt satisfying to get (even if I tend to prefer more sweet/good ones). Growing up can suck a lot, and nothing ever stays the same, whether you fight it or not. It felt so meaningful and inline with the choices I had made (granted, I didnít take the most hopeful onesÖ)

Also, extra points for the adorable UI!!

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night confessional, by sweetfish
When hotlines meet confessions., January 16, 2024
by manonamora
Related reviews: shufflecomp

I feel like this kind of system sort of exists in real life, with phone lines open to let you scream in the void or whisper your darkest secrets, or many virtual confession booths on the internet. Yet, I'd never considered an actual religious confession booth, absolution and penance included.

There is something eery and creepy about those booth, almost inhuman. Being able to listen to people's secrets, fears and wishes - only to give some sort of automated response in return. To have on the other side one of the most human and touching thing: bearing your heart to strangers. And the inherent wish to connect with others, even through a hotline leading to nowhere.
Each snippet has a heart and scars. It's beautifully tragic, in a way...

In our age of automated process and AI replacing employees, it is not so far fetched to think priests could lose part of their job too to the almighty algorithm (also funny to play as an algo priest) - there are probably very few positions safe from our robots overlords... Though it is interested how it even rendered the whole catholic/christian system obsolete - to the point the Pope resigned!

This was strange. I liked it.

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Messages From the Universe Graveyard, by KADW

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful:
Who says MMOs are dead???, January 16, 2024
by manonamora
Related reviews: shufflecomp

Wow, this one is insaneÖ and I only scratched the surface of whatís in there.
This is an exploration game, mixing parser logics (rooms and navigation, puzzles) with hypertext interface. Inspired by the likes of MUDs, message boards, and defunct MMOs, you are transported inside a dead online game, somewhat broken and defunct, left behind by (dead?) players, in which you can see messages left by its previous inhabitants.

The game is full of layers, from the surface of the game itself, the lore of the game, and the different ďstorylinesĒ of players (like the one going knees deep into the lore of the game and leaving hints for other players, the one leaving behind diary entries of their lifeÖ) on the message boards. There are so many rooms (over 100 according to the gameís page), I started a map to track it all down (see screenshot below), knowing full well it will take me a while to complete it (still hasnít).

Another fun mechanic of the game is the ability to leave messages in each room. Like the previous players, you can too leave a trace of yourself while playing, even becoming part of its lore.

I already know this will be one of my favourite game of the year!

[I will rate it once I am actually done with it]

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Give Me Something to Dream, by JazzTap
short and strange, January 15, 2024
by manonamora
Related reviews: shufflecomp

This was a short kinetic entry, made in Texture, following Rahel (a witch/sorceress?) and Strider (apostle?) trying to - i think - run away from a hunter. In the background, there are hints of worldbuilding, with some sort of fantasy setting with religious power and witch hunts - though little is revealed in the short playthrough, with the text being very vague aboutÖ a lot of things. There is a sense of urgency and uncertainty, with the character being on the run and facing foes.

Though I am still pretty confused about the whole, I liked the little details in the descriptions (like what might be henna on Rahelís hand?).

I didnít particularly read the text as horror-y or spy-like either.

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Vomit Economy, by Joey Acrimonious

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful:
So gross (in a good way), January 15, 2024
by manonamora
Related reviews: shufflecomp

Vomit Economy is a resource management parser, where you take over your uncleís factory creating gallons of vomit (why? donít worry about it), and try to balance the profits and expenses, improve the recipe, and grow the company. Last as long as you can, through the ups and downs of the economy, and the emerging competition. Make your uncle proud?

So, will you be able to be up to the task?

The answer is definitely a no for me. Not for more than a year at least. I could stroll through a few quarters without switching things around, but as soon as passed the first year, I went full bankrupt. I donít know whether I messed up the first few quarters or just didnít get the recipeÖ The game is TOUGH!

In terms of gameplay, the input is limited to 3 commands (examine, set [to change production/characteristics], and advance), to influence a few dozens of elements in the factory: management, the formulation of the vomit recipe, the capacity of production, employee benefits, and marketing.
Trying to balance everything is pretty fun, even if tough, especially if you are into min/max-ing and resource management. However, because there is *so much* listed on the screen, you end up spending half the time scrolling up and down to check information and setting it to new levels... (it's tedious...)

I still havenít figured out the perfect recipe thoÖ

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Open Flame, by Damon L. Wakes

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful:
Let it all burn, January 15, 2024
by manonamora
Related reviews: shufflecomp

An enigmatic entry, with an interesting interpretation of Hozierís Arsonistís Lullaby, as you play some sort of prisoner in an abbey/temple, trying to escape. You are presented with a few choices, some of which will have greater consequences than other - leading you towards one out of 5 endings.

The writing reminded me of text-adventure games, with its fast pace and concise prose, and the limited wording in actions. It gripes you, not letting you go until the end. Even then, the lack of answers from the questions it raises will probably prompt you to restart to get through another path. For me, it was the strange differently-coloured text line, which may or may not be voices in our head?

To follow the arsonist vibes (which you can try to emulate in-game), the interface includes a smoky animated background, and desaturated/low-opacity text (as if there was smoke hiding it).

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Starfisher, by lnmmnl

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful:
Uncertainty is the only certain thing in life..., January 15, 2024
by manonamora
Related reviews: shufflecomp

Filled with melancholy and discomfort, this game displays a slice-of-life snippet between a dad and their child (you), stuck in a place of tension from unresolved (and undisclosed) issues. The pacing is fairly slow, with minimal dialogue between the characters - focusing instead on what once was and how things are now different/still the same.

Neither party want to acknowledge what happened (whatever that was, (Spoiler - click to show)that may or may not involve the mother?), nor try to solve whatever issue either. The lack of resolution in the situation leaves a bitter taste in the mouth, though life doesn't always provides resolution.

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The Sun Will Blind My Eyes, by officecyborg

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
Should you stay or should you go?, January 14, 2024
by manonamora
Related reviews: shufflecomp

This game felt like a snapshot into a life, with hints and fragments into the previous night as well as further back into the past. I liked how you could piece out a (incomplete) whole with the little bits of information parsed through your ďexplorationĒ of the room. There are some suggestive elements in some passages (which are quite endearing),

While you can try to get your partner to come back to bed, there are three endings to this game, with varying levels of success to that task (if that is what you ended up wanting to do). Some will feel closer to the song the game is based on, but all are pretty satisfying.

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(You Can't) Escape the Unholy City, by alyshkalia

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
Eerie escape., January 14, 2024
by manonamora
Related reviews: shufflecomp

This is a short and surreal entry, where your goal is to escapeÖ the Unholy city. It is not obvious however who or what your pursuer is at first, as the text focuses explicitly on you wanting to get away from they/it/etc. It is pretty eerie from the start, with the interface going darker as you get closer to your goal (or do you?), embodying a lucid-dream-like of narration - with the sudden jumps.

Itís a bit claustrophobic, with the sense of inevitable failure, hinted by the title. You canít escape your fate no matter your actions.

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