Reviews by Fabien Vidal

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1-7 of 7

Station spatiale S16 - Prologue, by Samuel Verschelde (Stormi)

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful:
Lorsque "Heat signature" rencontre "Cube" et porte des lunettes noires, January 14, 2021
by Fabien Vidal (Tours, France)

Ha ! Ça faisait longtemps que je ne m'étais pas aussi bien senti immergé dans l'espace que dans l'introduction de ce jeu. L'environnement est minimaliste mais grandiose, comme dans l'espace. Et les quelques indications spatiales sont bien senties (Spoiler - click to show)(station qui se précise en s'approchant, référence géographique de la station par rapport à Saturne, sentiment d'isolement et de dépendance à l'équipement du vaisseau).
Mais finalement, le prologue commence vraiment à l'arrivée dans la station ! Mais là, difficile d'en parler sans trop spoiler. Je vais juste dire qu'ily a des puzzles. Et ils sont ...bizarres... Mais aussi, je me demande si ce ne sont pas trop (Spoiler - click to show)des privates jokes pour les développeurs de fictions interactives. Quelle perception en aurait quelqu'un qui n'a pas cette culture ?.
En tout cas, le prologue est fort sympathique et donne envie de voir la suite. Même si j'aimerais rester plus longtemps dans l'espace que dans la station ! Mais ça, c'est mon amour des grands espaces intersidéraux qui parle !

Life On Mars?, by Hugo Labrande

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful:
Excellent mood, but crippled by autoscrolling text, May 25, 2015
by Fabien Vidal (Tours, France)
Related reviews: French

That piece of fiction is in french. So, be warned !
The atmosphhere is gloomy and excellent. The story telling, and the ways background information is distilled, create a believable main character, which is deep rooted in our decade's preoccupations.

Unfortunately, its main narrative innovation is also its biggest flaw :
There is an intensive use of auto scrolling text, creating a special connection to the main character and breathing much life into the game. However, it often scrolls way too quick to allow reading the text. It went to the point, that I felt I had entirely missed the ending...

This technical flaw would be easy to fix, but has been a big setback to my playing experience.

Everything We Do Is Games, by Doug Orleans

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
Meat for thought, May 25, 2015
by Fabien Vidal (Tours, France)

Play first, then read the author's statement.
Some might say that it is pointless, other that it is brilliant. To me, it was at least odd enough to be worth time.

speedif zombie, by J. Robinson Wheeler

2 of 7 people found the following review helpful:
Empty ?, October 4, 2010
by Fabien Vidal (Tours, France)

Should every game be on the IF database ? This game could be one of the many examples raising the question. I might have missed something, but that game seemed absolutely empty to me: there is no description, no help, very little atmosphere. The only thing 3 things I managed to do is taking an object, and die in 2 different ways, with no warning.

What I managed to see, it is what an unskilled 10 year old boy would have been able to code and write... Which surprises me a lot from J. Robinson Wheeler! So, I have 3 explanation for the existence of that empty work on the database :
- Either J. Robinson Wheeler tried to take part to a speed IF, but mainwhile got caught by something more urgent to do. Due to an unlikely series of events, that "work" however got published.
- His younger brother had fun stealing his name to publish that poor thing.
- I totally missed 99% of the game... But, then I should have been hinted a bit more.

Strange Geometries, by Phillip Chambers

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful:
Lovecraft For Dummies - Or - When Hawking explains Cthulhu, July 6, 2009
by Fabien Vidal (Tours, France)

You are a reporter in a small town at the northern edge of the known world. Beyond that point stands a far too lively, and we have to admit it, somewhat scarry wilderness.
For you, the excitment of that manly life was originaly very high; but is gradually fading away, and is being replaced by boredom. However, suddenly some mysterious events take place in your town. Something is finallay happening ! It might be the chance to conduct the investigation of your life...

And as your investigation progresses, you are gradually shifting into horror.

The story is a very conventional Lovecraftian story, with most elements that a reader might expect : a remote town, an ageless cult, monsters from an other dimention... But it includes a very simple, but clever, twist in which really enlightens the whole thing, as well as many previous lovecraftian stories that we could have read before.

The setting, at the edge of the world, is rather well described and quite intriguing. The story unfolds relatively well. Even if I felt that a bit of narrative logic between the various events was missing. The puzzles are rather conventional, but fit well enough in the story.

However, to the technical point of view the game is definitelly not at top level :
- Many typos (For example, an altar is named an "alter").
- Room connections do not always fit with the description. (Somewhere, a room is referred as being east. However to go there, you have to go west). Or sometimes, the way in does not match the way out (You enter a place going SE, and leave it going SE too).
- Some room connections are suggested in the text, but with no specific direction given. So, you end up trying all of them.
- When turning on a specific device, my interpreter experienced a serious slowdown.

As I suggested before, if the game does definitely not shine by its technical realisation, and is little more than an average horror story, there is definitelly something that it does very well :
The author found a very simple way of explaining the concept of things coming from an other dimention, and to justify their unstable, horrible shape in our world.

So yes, that game was worth a try, had me thinking, and I understand why "Evil tabby cat" included it next to the very good "Ecdysis" in his list of disturbing games.

Dead Like Ants, by C.E.J. Pacian

3 of 8 people found the following review helpful:
A nice and easy game. Twisting usual IF conventions., April 6, 2009
by Fabien Vidal (Tours, France)

And here is a new good game by E.C.J. Pacian.
For those who finished "Gun Mute" and have been very surprised but the main characters motives, don't worry lads ! Even if some characters might quickly surprise you, you won't be brought on the same trend which might not be yours.

There definitally are a few things that E.C.J. is good at : First, twisting the conventions of IF.
The geography is quite unusual, but simple and very effective in that story.
The main mecanism of the game is also quite unexpected. Hopefully, the author added some warnings in the "About" sections, to encourage the player when things look terribly wrong : It is likely that it actually is the way to go.

Secondly, E.C.J. also shows a great ability at describing ambivalent characters. When I started playing, I was afraid of seeing very cliché antropomorphism. Oh yes, for sure there is antropomorphism. But it is perfectly well assumed and brought in a fresh and crispy way. Some simple details, but described with great consistency throughout the game, make perfectly clear the dual nature of the characters.

So, in the end, it is a nice and simple game, to be played in one hour. The story might have you to think a bit once finished. But it failed to create much emotion to me.

However, before my last turn, and feeling the end coming, I thought to myself "Geee, this would make a nice introduction for a bigger story !"

The Musician, by Philip Skains

0 of 4 people found the following review helpful:
Looks empty..., April 5, 2009
by Fabien Vidal (Tours, France)

I reckon. It is quite unfair from me to rate this game. I have only played 15 minutes...
However, from the little that I have seen, it is likely that to the technical point of view, this game will not be the best. Among other things, I have noted that almost none of the objects given in the room description have their own. It seems that there is a large number of rooms, but with relatively bland content. There is no "About","Help", or "Credit"...

I can't judge the story, as I didn't go very far. Maybe is it good ?

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