Ratings and Reviews by BitterlyIndifferent

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Eon of the Green, by Miky Kray

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful:
Not the most accessible fiction., March 18, 2023

Eon of the Green shows you a bunch of trippy visuals and then asks you to interpret them through a sequence of dialogue options.

There aren't many in-game resources that explain what's happening — if you don't read the background material on the game's steam page or the publisher's website, you may not understand what you're supposed to be doing.

Even when you DO know that the main character is supposed to be sending their consciousness 1 billion years into the future, you have to work with dense scientific jargon that might be easier to understand with an internet search window open.

The designer put some thought into creating a futuristic environment of suspicion and paranoia with music, visuals, and the user interface. However, the text frequently felt like it was trying too hard.

Dead Mall Mystery, by Sarah Willson

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
Charming and short., August 28, 2021

It's your first day as a security guard, and you end up helping your boss solve a major mystery.

I liked this game's sense of humor, and almost all of the puzzles were manageable (I needed a little extra help finding one answer).

The artwork enhanced the story, and I enjoyed the different plotlines with the inhabitants of the mall.

Snowhaven, by Tristin Grizel Dean
BitterlyIndifferent's Rating:

Sunny's Summer Vacation, by Lucas C. Wheeler

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful:
"You are a Corgi on a sandy beach", July 1, 2021

The player’s role is plot-adjacent in Sunny's Summer Adventure; other characters come to terms with a divorce while the protagonist offers emotional support.

Each day offers a new chance to play vacation-themed minigames, like volleyball and sandcastle building, which are meant to create some happy memories for the humans during a difficult time.

This game is described as a spiritual successor to Adventures with Fido, and it improves on its predecessor by focusing on a smaller set of characters with a consistent story.

Although the setting was entertaining, I had difficulty enjoying a few of the minigames — it felt like some experiences were designed by asking “Could this be programmed?” rather than “Would this be fun?”

Overall, it's a solid work from an author who is dedicated to improvement, but additional feedback from thoughtful playtesters might have made it even stronger.

A Blank Page, by Edu Sánchez

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
Is it procrastination, or part of your creative process?, June 27, 2021

This story about creative block is short and relatable. You cycle through a narrator’s creative routine, choosing different activities that might lead to the start of something meaningful.

It’s presented in black text appearing on a white background, providing a mix of links that either cycle through words or advance to a new passage.

(Unfortunately, I noticed some minor typos and spacing issues that were more prominent due to the story’s clean presentation. On the other hand, the author is based in Spain, and their English is much better than my Spanish.)

I enjoyed the conclusion of A Blank Page because it felt like an authentic ending to the journey. Or at least it made a good place to stop.

Journey to Ultimate Fightdown!, by Havilah "mwahahavilah" McGinnis

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful:
Behind-the-scenes gossip, and more!, June 24, 2021

Fightdown! takes place inside an RPG that loses its “connection” right before the final showdown. The experience is like being on a movie set when the cameras stop rolling, and every character has something to say.

This is a choice-based story where the player talks with other characters while they wait for their connection to be restored. Minor puzzles are involved in negotiating and trading items among the cast, which changes how the ending unfolds.

The story blends stock fantasy roles with recognizable Hollywood stereotypes to create entirely new personalities — and then it encourages the player to ask them what they think about each other.

Does the embittered burnout want the hard-working underdog to fail? What does the overachiever think about a coworker acting like a role is beneath them? Text effects are judiciously applied to convey some phenomenal sarcasm.

I enjoyed how Fightdown! explored the relationships between its different characters.

Heroes!, by Bellamy Briks
BitterlyIndifferent's Rating:

Savor, by Ed Nobody

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
Farm horror and rural scares, December 1, 2020

From a narrative perspective, I was unable to enjoy the story that this entry wanted to tell. That might have been a personal failing.

In my defense, a lot of the text describes terrible pain inflicted by a mysterious curse. But as a player, the option to avoid the pain by quitting is there the whole time!

After facing extensive descriptions of suffering and the open contemplation of suicide, it was cleaner and less anguished for me to just end the game.

I appreciate the technical work that went into this entry's presentation. It includes music and monochrome images in the background, but it also takes the rare step of allowing you to use keyboard controls to select choices and advance the story.

Some choices are enclosed in red boxes with a warning to choose carefully, but choices offered outside those warnings can still end your story early — it was challenging for me to determine which choices would be meaningful.

This entry may be interesting for people who enjoy rural scare stories and works that dwell on the themes of life, death, and renewal that frequently appear in farm horror. I found more than one ending, but mysteries involving slaughter and unnatural harvests remained. The person who unravels them will not be me.

Vain Empires, by Thomas Mack and Xavid

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
The opposite of poor impulse control lets bad guys have all the fun., December 1, 2020

This is a spy thriller where the main character describes life-or-death thrills as a minor bureaucratic hassle. The dry, aloof descriptions of people, places, and things provide a lot of entertainment.

As a supernatural entity, you explore a seaside chateau that has been converted to a luxury hotel and casino. Heavy velvet curtains and whirring slot machines are of little interest to those who inhabit the spiritual realm. It's an elegant trick of perspective to gloss over details that might divert players from the main story.

It's difficult to create characters in Inform that feel like real people who can interact with the player and with each other. Vain Empires sidesteps that issue by having a main character that doesn't want to interact with people. His celestial nature makes him distant and unconcerned with the mundane actions of the human realm.

Every human is expected to behave like predictable machinery, and you alter their behavior to get what you want.

Red Radish Robotics, by Gibbo

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
The story is more enjoyable than the puzzles, December 1, 2020

Red Radish Robotics does a good job of telling a story. The narrator's childlike perspective explains why you are given some choices that are self-evidently terrible, and although the brief identity crisis is not a shocking plot twist, other developments are effectively foreshadowed with more subtlety.
Red Radish Robotics does a good job of telling a story. The narrator's childlike perspective explains why you are given some choices that are self-evidently terrible, and although the brief identity crisis is not a shocking plot twist, other developments are effectively foreshadowed with more subtlety.

You're asked to escape from the 7th floor of a research facility that has become a giant deathtrap. There are many, many ways to end your escape prematurely, although you are given 10 "respawns" that function like an "undo" button.

In some places, the story gets in the way of the implementation. A few locations and objects needed to be re-visited and re-examined multiple times because the narrator is not properly motivated during early encounters.

Overcoming almost every obstacle is a matter of finding the right links and clicking them in sequence, which meant that I enjoyed uncovering the story more than solving the puzzles in Red Radish Robotics. As you search for a way out of the building, you gradually reveal what happened, why the facility was abandoned, and why you were left behind.

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