Reviews by dutchmule

View this member's profile

Show ratings only | both reviews and ratings
Previous | 11-20 of 62 | Next | Show All

The Spectre of Castle Coris, by Larry Horsfield

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful:
A worthy sequel, different atmosphere but puzzles are still fair, November 21, 2015

"The Spectre of Castle Coris" is the sequel to "The Axe of Kolt" by Larry Horsfield; this ADRIFT version is also a remastering of the eponymous ZX Spectrum game from the early 90s, with added gameplay and setting and a reworking of the puzzles. As with "The Axe of Kolt", the game is Polite, even if there are less ways to die than in the former, and the puzzles are fair and well-balanced.

The story is of the village of Corwyn, which is terrorized by a ghost who is attacking the villagers, and the link with the Castle Coris, where the Baroness Coris has died, murdered by her husband, or so the villagers tell you. You will need to find a prayer book, for praying is the only thing that makes the ghost vanish; actually, I found the fact that the ghost is attacking you every dozen or so turns was becoming a bit repetitive and tiring, although part of that may be beta-tester burnout (I was a beta-tester for this game) and trying to adjust macros endlessly. The ghost does end up disappearing, though, so it's not too much of a bother.

You need to enter the castle, but be careful that the game won't let you do this if you don't have all the objects you need later in the castle. This is good for the player, since you won't be able to get stuck without knowing it because you didn't collect the right object (which would have been Cruel), but it can mean that you think you have done everything but the game refuses to let you move on; when/if that happens to you, make sure you have checked *all* the locations (it's hard for the game to hint that you need more objects without giving you hints that would break the fourth wall too hard...). This is probably the most finnicky thing about the game.

The part where you're in the castle is my favourite part of the game; all the objects you have are useful and all clicks into place, except a minor annoyance (you need to (Spoiler - click to show)find a wire to pick locks with if you don't want to be stuck). The game has a nice sense of progression there, where finding/rescuing an inhabitant of the castle will open new areas of the castle to exploration ; this leads to a very nice buildup to the rather epic end of the chapter, which is one or two puzzles away from the end of the game.

Once again, this is a classical fantasy game with lots of (fair) puzzles and an interesting setting, different from "The Axe of Kolt" but just as enjoyable. The game is shorter, about 15 hours of play ; combined with the very good implementation, with lots of scenery objects to build the setting and some helpful (though the hints can be subtle) messages, and "The Spectre of Castle Coris" is a very good sequel!

Darkiss! Wrath of the Vampire - Chapter 1: the Awakening, by Marco Vallarino

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful:
Strong implementation, didn't really enjoy the setting as much as others, November 20, 2015

You are a vampire who somehow survived having a stake driven through his heart, and wakes up several years later. There's a bit of amnesia going on, which serves as a justification of having the first game in your lair (to introduce the character) while still having obstacles; I don't really like amnesia, but why not.

The tropes of the vampire are there (rich, immortal, big library; and particularly the thematic of seduction, which is at the base of the vampire myth - but there's a hint of a strong female character too which I find nice), and more, since you also have (Spoiler - click to show)the Necronomicon, demons, magic spells to resurrect the dead, telepathy, talking paintings, a torture chamber, and you live in a mountain (instead of in a castle on top of it, I guess). It's kind of a mixed bag, really; but I guess the point of the game is more to be cast at an evil supernatural character and riff off of it, and about the fun of being evil, as the writing seems to emphasize with glee and sometimes over-the-top/clichéd phrasings. There are a few English mistakes too (not that I can say anything), but in this case it gives the movie a sort of B-movie texture that's actually pretty fun.

I must admit I didn't really like being that guy: he seemed like a particularly sadistic vampire, (Spoiler - click to show)torturing people with glee (with descriptions), and it didn't really make me feel really comfortable - I didn't think this was fun, but others might find it entertaining.

There's about a dozen puzzles, involving recovering your powers and getting out of your lair; the puzzles are fair, but mostly of the "get X use X don't use it again" kind. There are a few non-standard verbs, usually used in one puzzle. The implementation is excellent: I found that almost all the actions have custom responses, and there's even amusing commands to try (there's a NPC that reacts to various topics, including Zork, apparently). The parser is rather helpful and everything was very, very smooth.

The game is fun, with a B-movie-like atmosphere but I didn't like the PC; the game is also very smooth, and all in all very enjoyable.

Random comment: the fact that the vampire would take advantage of his immortality to master the art of painting intricate, beautiful ceilings struck me as a delightfully Italian thing to do.

Random comment #2: this is a game about a vampire where >count is one of the non-standard verbs. I don't think that's intentional, but it made me smile.

Final Exam, by Jack Whitham

3 of 4 people found the following review helpful:
Not a whole lot of fun, but apparently I missed lots of things, November 20, 2015

I didn't find this game very fun, I'm afraid; but I learned later there were a whole lot of secrets, and basically a whole other game, hidden in the game, which I didn't find within the Comp's 2 hours (in fact, I had no idea it even existed). So, take my review with a grain of salt knowing that I might have missed lots of things; on the other hand, I'm sure I'm not the only player that missed all that.

The setting confused me: the idea that (Spoiler - click to show)your face was replaced by a featureless one is creepy and interesting, but the protagonist just shrugs it off. A lot of the rooms are empty, which is guess is meant to provide exposition but it felt like a lot of big empty rooms. And I'm having trouble placing the setting: (Spoiler - click to show)is the 'administration' and their motto/values meant to be commentary or satire? It's hard to know, since it seems close to what most governments do (free speech, laws minimising social unrest). I guess it hints as a role of leader, the Administrator, that you get by... doing a test involving nothing but computers and repairing them? Is this supposed to be commentary on the fact that a state leader doesn't have that much power or just needs to keep the system running? I don't know, maybe I'm overthinking it. (Or maybe I didn't understand what the author meant, what with English not being my native language?)

So I would say it might be a writing issue: the direction to where the setting is going is not very clear, and we don't know what's going on, why, and most importantly why should we care; I was dragging my feet for the most part. (Or, maybe it all makes sense if you find the secrets, I guess). It seemed like the game was (Spoiler - click to show)mixing politics and sci-fi in its setting, so I expected commentary, satire, going a bit further exploring our society or the future and its consequences. But here, it feels like "oh in 5 years a computer will govern us, and you're the janitor". And yeah, the position in which we are as a player is not exciting, so the game isn't exciting: if there's (Spoiler - click to show)a central authority attacked by an enemy with computer viruses, I don't know if I want to plug network cables. And the game seems very, very on-rails for a long while: it's basically "read the orders, do the orders". (But again, maybe that's why I missed the secrets.) It gets more open when you reach (Spoiler - click to show)the caves, but then I didn't really know what to do and kept looking at the walkthrough.

On the other hand I was *really* impressed by the cable that you lay in the cave, and the fact that the game kept track of where you went and laid the cable in all those rooms and in which order. You backtrack and collect the cable, etc -- it seems really hard to implement, and to be honest I'd love to take a look at the source code for that.

Overall it seems like a lot of effort went into making this game (which is why I feel slightly bad that I didn't enjoy it): the game is polished, typo-free, bug-free, with extra responses, and nice hints for players about how to talk to the parser... Props to the genuine effort that was put into it, but I guess I didn't really find it fun.

Nowhere Near Single, by kaleidofish

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful:
Nice, long story, but forced my hand too much for my liking, November 20, 2015

This game takes a while to complete, about an hour and a half, which I think makes it the longest Twine game I've ever played. I must admit I wasn't too invested in the storyline; the game deals with being a female pop star and being in a polyamorous relationship, which aren't topics that I'm too familiar with: the former is pretty broad, saying that you are in a stable of other female pop stars (which felt like inspired by J-Pop or K-Pop) and have to keep working to achieve #1, and the latter takes most of the space, with mostly linear segments about the relationships in the 4-way you're a part of.

Because of the playing time I won't be replaying this, and so I can't really tell how much changes from one playthrough to another; some choices felt like they mattered, but I don't know up to what point. (Spoiler - click to show)(I'm assuming you can end up with either girl as your primary relationship? Does everything break down at the end?) I wished the game had let me know, or was more clear about this; I can't even imagine how big or linear the game is, because I have no idea what choices mattered and what their repercussions were (I feel like other choice games I've played did that better). There were other, cosmetic choices that weren't referenced at all the moment after they were made, which I'm not a fan of; I prefer it when those choices act as personalization/customizing your experience to you.

Again, I don't know if that's specific to my playthrough, but I (Spoiler - click to show)didn't spend a whole lot of time working and I spent more time dealing with the relationships, only for my career to explode, and then later the relationship. I liked the personalities of Nayeli and Taya, two of the love interests, but I felt like there wasn't a lot to choose except having sex with them or not (there's about half a dozen implied sex scenes); other choices that surface in a relationship (routine, fighting, compromising, balancing career and life, etc.) didn't really appear. And it felt at a couple points like the characters were kind of avoiding problems by just being with someone else instead; I have no experience with polyamorous relationships, but that's not what I like to do, and I didn't feel too happy about what was happening. Also, you have no control on the protagonist's personality; she has her own personality, and you have limited choices over whether she'll start fights or get involved in drama, which again doesn't correspond to me so it was hard to empathize. For those reasons I'd say that the game is supposed to be pretty linear, although maybe with a few different "routes". The writing was very good, although I felt like some scenes were a bit too long for their relevance in the story.

The character of Sarai made me uncomfortable. Basically what happens is that (Spoiler - click to show)she picks up this girl (you) at a bar, who is homeless at the time, and invites her to stay at her place in a polyamorous relationship, expecting her to 'bond'/'girlfriend' her other girlfriends, while paying for the whole thing. This kind of arrangement spelled more "cult leader" or "harem" than healthy relationship: the amount of control she has is very big, (Spoiler - click to show)all of this kinda feels like it's for her/her pleasure only, and she "doesn't realize it" and gets mad when, inevitably, two people feel the need to try to have semi-coerced sex, or one of them resorts to whatever she can because she hates feeling like a freeloader. But in the end, at least in my playthrough, (Spoiler - click to show)the whole thing implodes and almost everyone leaves her; I don't know if it's meant as commentary on power dynamics in relationships or just something that happens. But feeling uncomfortable almost from the get-go made the ending unsurprising, and I felt like I was dragged through something I didn't like only for the game to show me that what I thought was justified.

Anyway, it's hard for me to review this game because I don't know how typical my playthrough was, and I don't really know anything about polyamourous relationships. I would have liked choices with more explicit consequences, and maybe more choices with regards to the relationship (I guess because I wasn't satisfied with the way things were going); and I thought the "pop singer" aspect was not bringing much to the game, since it wasn't a big part and everything was fairly generic: I wish it were either more developed and more precise, with more choices about your career, or less developed (treating it as a day job in the background) to make the relationship the focus of the game.

The Sueño, by Marshal Tenner Winter

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful:
Underexploited mechanic, use of walkthrough is advised, November 20, 2015

This game had an interesting atmosphere, with several rather vivid and cool images (Spoiler - click to show)(the house covered in pine needles, the deserted town, the bat in the belfry). Unfortunately I couldn't finish it because I think I did something that locked me out of victory, and I didn't know until later.

One thing about this game is that it seemed to have several arbitrary elements/puzzles; you could say it's dream logic, but it just struck me as kind of unfair (how do I know I need to (Spoiler - click to show)sit on the dentist's chair and not die? how do I know i need something from the guy chasing me? how do I know I need to flush the toilet?). I ended up looking at the walkthrough a few times, which is how I discovered that I was locked out of victory. The >dream verb was very interesting, I thought, but it's only used in like 2 puzzles; it would have been interesting to use it more, and maybe it would have been of use to justify odd solutions to 'dream logic' puzzles.

Another thing that I found odd and actually frustrating with this game is the granularity of the actions: the game is pretty finicky about the things you can do and in which order. You have (Spoiler - click to show)to unwrap the box, then open it, then look into it, then take the key; you have to take off your shoes first, then your pants; you have to set each for the four dials to its individual number (instead of, say, >set dials to 9999). And similarly, there are a few times where the game refuses to do something because you didn't specify with which object you wanted to do this: unlock door "with what?", clean door "with what?". I didn't think I liked parser niceties that much, but apparently I find it frustrating to have to find the right order and/or words for something that's obvious given the puzzle.

The writing is okay, not many typos (a few), but there were quite a few instances where it kind of feels like the writer didn't put enough effort in the descriptions. There were a "non-descript door", a "non-descript shirt", a "non-descript tv", and "shoes that go with everything"; the architecture of a room is "weird but you can't really put your finger on it". At some point you have a "twilight zone" feeling, and another room feels like "brady bunch"; I think this falls in the category "show, don't tell": it'd be much better to attempt to give the player a feeling that reminds you of The Twilight Zone (your vision becomes black and white? or even has grain like an old movie?) than straight-up telling the player. It was kind of distracting because as a non-american I have no idea what those are, so they really don't help setting the mood; and the lack of details (non-descript feels to me like another word for "just picture anything") about other objects don't really help either. Object descriptions are not necessarily the most fun to write, but I think they're very effective at building an atmosphere; for instance I absolutely loved the fact that (Spoiler - click to show)there's pine needles all over the roof and the gutters of the house, which made the forest menacing, and I would have loved more of that!

Anyway, I wished that the atmosphere had been better built-up by the writing, and maybe also that the >dream mechanic had been used in more puzzles, maybe even making it more systematic.

Onaar, by Robert DeFord

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful:
Grindy, familiar RPG that's a bit too classic, November 20, 2015

I must admit I have a soft spot for RPGs with grind and an alchemy system, so that hits the spot. I got about 30% of the way before the 2 hour mark, which didn't even start the main quest but I got to learn how to make potions. One neat thing is that objects that you can gather in the various locations reappear after some number of turns (I think the food reappears after you ate it, but the other ones after a number of turns - you can, and will, collect a large number of ingredients). This probably also makes the game easier to program: you only need one large turnip, and when the player doesn't have it anymore you put it back, etc.

I liked the system that was in place to make things faster - since it's a grindy RPG, you will have to type the same stuff a lot, and so each ingredient has a code made of its initials. So you type 'p' to make a potion, then a number, then initials, and you created a potion; it's a pretty neat alternative to "make X potion with Y and Z" or "make X potion", and very welcome here knowing that you will have to type the same thing lots of time. (An abbreviation for "takeall" would have been nice too, though.) There also seems to be quite a number of potions you can make, judging by the list of ingredients and the fact that they each have 2 effects.

The world in the game is pretty standard fantasy, with inns and quests and people who speak British English; but the world sometimes makes references to the modern-day world (GMOs, Nantes carrots, Yukon potatoes...), which is probably some eccentricity from the author (I mean, I don't expect a twist like "it's actually set in the modern world!"). The story is pretty generic, too, of the "gain levels as an alchemist and be the new adventurer that saves a small town from evil marauders" kind; but I haven't gone too far in the two hours, so I don't really know how to plot unfolds.

The writing is okay, but the way the game reacted to my female protagonist bothered me a bit: basically, all men say "certainly, I love talking to fine young ladies like you", and one woman literally says "I love to talk to attractive young ladies like you", which seems really weird and unrealistic; and of course, the first comment you get when you buy an alchemy robe is "you look so good in it". Another thing that felt weird is that the game is very transparent from a code and statistics perspective: "takeall" literally starts Linux-style messages like "Beginning automated take... Searching for objects to take... Found: carrot", which feels really mechanical/computerized; I'm not saying the Inform way is necessarily better, but I'd have preferred it if the game attempted to weave that into a sentence; same with the description of objects, which says "(weight: 1; value: 6)", and your alchemy teacher who says "look at you, you are level 19!" after scanning you with a rod.

Anyway, the whole game seems to be based around the purely mechanical fun of grinding, selling objects, being able to afford power-ups, to complete quests, and then start again; the thing is, I kinda like that kind of mechanics, and have spent hundreds of hours playing CRPGs doing exactly that. But the game is very transparently built around that, and the writing doesn't try too hard to challenge anything: you have characters that have the personalities of standard RPG NPCs (buying, selling, rumors), a familiar plot in a fantasy world, a female adventurer/PC that must be young and pretty, and an emphasis on stats that, although necessary for the form, feels a bit too blunt. RPG fans might enjoy it, and will push along for the few hours the game demands; it feels like a nicely done, very (too) familiar RPG.

A Figure Met in a Shaded Wood, by Michael Thomét

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful:
Focused on making a point, but doesn't say much about it, November 20, 2015

This game looks good - nice typography and choice of colors, and a few appropriate images. The first playthrough is very short (5 minutes for me), but the game is meant to be played several times.

The setting is that of a vagabond in what appears to be similar to the Middle Ages; the theme obviously involves a fortune teller, and you are presented with a few choices that seem inconsequential - but, as a good player of interactive fiction, you recognize those choices as preferences that might reveal your personality. The setup kind of reminded me of the beginning of Morrowind, or any of the other RPGs (Ultima IV, maybe?) that use the "what would you do in this situation" questions to gauge your personality - very familiar, then, and this is a good choice on the author's part to use this setting.

The first playthrough is nothing special, it ends abruptly after getting your fortune told: of course, you want to start again and try different choices. That's when the game reveals its conceit; but it reveals it in a way that i found quite brutal and unsubtle. Namely, the figure completely breaks the fourth wall (since the vagabond doesnt appear in the text), has quite an antagonistic tone ("What? What did you expect?"), spouts off text that shows that, surprise, it had tracked your choices (one paragraph = one choice, which is not very subtle or fun), and tells you at the last sentence that you could try again. Except, no, I didn't want to try again: I found it too on-the-nose and unsubtle for me to not get it, and to think that there could be a way to change the final outcome. I felt that the twist was revealed too soon (at the 2nd playthrough instead of, say, the 4th), and was too blunt and closed too many things: given what's before (a rhetorical question), the "you could try again" comes off as a "you could waste your time some more", which just made me quit. (Ok, I checked a third time just in case, but I wasn't willing to spend more time on this to see if the 10th iteration was any different.)

I guess the game was trying to make a point about restarting games to achieve better outcomes; that it doesn't work like that sometimes i guess, and that you don't have the agency in the game to change anything except quitting. But i didn't feel like the game tried to have anything more to say, which was disappointing. I played "Save the Date!" a while ago, and found it quite deep and interesting, with nice variations and characters and a few interesting things to say on the same topic; maybe it's hard to come after that, and maybe it's unfair for me to compare both, but, they are about the same thing... I might have liked it more if there was some variability, even maybe having fun with the concept (the hooded figure could become impatient, roll their eyes, joke that the cards will change if they get 10 pheasants, plead for the player to stop, etc..), but it might not have been what the author intended; as it is, though, its message is not very deep nor subtle, which made the experience somewhat unsatisfying in my opinion.

The Speaker, by Norbez

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful:
Very short game but I liked it, November 20, 2015

I liked this game! It's short-story sized, with a few branches that often merge pretty quickly, and an open ending.

The story casts you as the "speaker" for a paralyzed alien who holds an advice column; the thing is, you don't always agree with the advice, and you're in a position to publish whatever you want, hence choices show up. The choices you can think of are presented, and the game handles them gracefully, although some paths quickly merge with other similar ones.

One think that I really liked was what happens if you disobey: it's not that he fires you or sues you, it's that (Spoiler - click to show)his fans on the internet will try to track you down; I felt like this was a very interesting consequence, and it filled me with more dread than a hypothetical "i'll sue you in galactic court": we all know how (Spoiler - click to show)ruthless internet mobs and their pitchforks can get.

One thing that i didn't really understand was why the story was told with aliens instead of humans; was it to avoid presenting as controversial statements that some could get behind (like, if the story was about a paralyzed glenn beck?), or was it to make it a metaphor of something? I must admit that in retrospect i'm wondering what's the use/effect of casting that with aliens and sci-fi; it's not really a big deal, but I just want to know if I missed something. An enjoyable 20-minute game.

Taghairm, by Chandler Groover

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful:
Pretty horrible, but a bit too repetitive, November 20, 2015

By now everyone know what Taghairm is about, right? I liked the game, and my experience was a bit different from other people, so I might as well talk about my experience.

First of all I had no idea this kind of thing existed, and it is SO messed up. For some reason I really like (Spoiler - click to show)messed-up, creepy, horrific Middle-Ages beliefs (changelings are another good one), so this was really interesting and neat! The sound atmosphere is really cool too, and adds a lot to the experience.

The game is very repetitive mechanically, and you (Spoiler - click to show)burn cat upon cat upon cat. But I felt like the horror you feel the first time starts to diminish after a few, and then is worn off by the end; I very quickly entered a pattern where I'd click almost rythmically on the links, barely pausing to read. This might be on purpose, and (maybe I'm thinking too much) may be meant as commentary on mechanized evil, and how easy it is to remove yourself emotionally from actions when they become repetitive. But if that was the purpose, I'm not sure it came across very well: basically my reaction was "ugh (Spoiler - click to show)I'm killing cats... why am I killing cats? I guess this will make sense later? Ok, I'll keep going, humor the game to see what it has to say in the end" - and then it was just about following whatever motions the game would make me follow.

By the end it's like I didn't believe the game anymore, I think I felt very removed, in a very conscious way, from the game. The voices near the end and the thunderstorm made some of the creepiness come back for me, but I wish it hadn't gone; I wish the game had been either more concise and more focused, or with more variety.
In particular, another thing that removed me from the game was that I quickly figured out that the game generated cat descriptions at random - if the game can keep generating interchangeable cats, why should I care about them? They're just 0s and 1s. If the description had more, sorry, fluff to them ("the scared cat is looking at you with big eyes", "the half-dead cat is twitching and his eyes meet yours", "the angry cat scratches you which wakes you up a little"), I might have cared a bit more; or if there was an actual direction to them, I'd have tried to see what the next cat showed me about the world or myself or my state; or if the intensity was heightened or the game kept going further. (If that makes sense?)

As is, I felt like the game heightened things by small amounts that had too much space in between them; I wish the moments where things changed had been bigger (big changes, big punches to the gut, new sounds, screen gets smokier, etc) or that the space between them had been shorter. Other than that, it's creepy, well-done, with nice sound effects, and a nice Halloween game - if you want to provoke very loud reactions in a group of friends.

Choice of Robots, by Kevin Gold

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful:
Cool story with lots of content and replayability, September 21, 2015

"Choice of Robots" is among the best-known (and most successful) games in the Choice of Games brand. It's the first CoG game I've played, and this is a very good starting point for whoever wants to check them out: it is a really good game that everyone loved.

You are cast as a grad student in Stanford working on a new robot, and you get to customise your robot and its education, which will orient the robot's stats (Military, Autonomy, Empathy, Grace), as well as yours (Fame, Wealth). Those stats orient the narrative in a rather explicit way: the choices you are presented with are the same (I think), but some of them will result in failure because a stat is too small, or some will not be selectable because a corresponding stat needs to be high enough. In particular, there's a big choice near the end that seems to appear in every playthrough, that determines which of 4 different chapters you will play (and some of them cannot be selected if some stats aren't high enough); structurally, this kind of acts as a funnel towards the endings, reducing the number of possibilities to get a more focused finale, which is nice. In the chapters that come before, there are a lot of events that can happen rather independently, depending on choices you've made and the relationships you formed with people, and it's a lot of fun to try to explore all of them (the number of combinations seem to be huge!); whereas the finale seems to have less important variation and opportunities to change what happens: the game still takes into account, say, your romantic option, but I found it was rather interchangeable (for instance, in my first and third playthrough, I ended up married to a human or to a robot, but their reactions and dialogues were the same, and didn't seem to depend on the personality of the mate very much). Also re:interchangeability, I 'discovered' my partner's secret twice ((Spoiler - click to show)we discovered Elly was Chinese when we got married, and then she told me she had just found out recently when we both got arrested), which made it feel like the game hadn't planned for that and that my partner really was supposed to be interchangeable.

For my first playthrough, I played as truthfully as I could, choosing things that made me happy and corresponded to my personality; I was happy with the options that were presented to me and where I ended up, even though (Spoiler - click to show)I ended up having a second robot that wanted to be romantically involved with me, when I didn't want to, which was hard to navigate (but hey, that's how life is sometimes -- and maybe I shouldn't have chosen what I chose at the 'funnel choice'). I was really heartbroken at the ending, but that was OK: it was really well written and I didn't feel robbed, and it still felt satisfying. It felt like "my story" -- which is great!
However, I thought that the game was fast-forwarding through some interesting parts, including my main relationship, which is a shame. I kept thinking that we were spending so much time talking about robots and work that my partner was going to leave me, but out of the blue the game skipped to a scene where we got engaged and got married. In that sense, what followed the 'funnel' choice (I had the (Spoiler - click to show)Empathy route I think) was more satisfying, as it was dealing with human-human and human-robot relationships in depth; I just didn't like that, before that, I was trying to build a relationship but the game didn't really spend much time talking about it, which felt like I was failing at building the relationship. I have no idea if it's like that in other CoG games, but I heard the style was to present you with big important choices; but I certainly wouldn't mind having more details put into relationships (more scenes, partners aren't interchangeable, etc) instead of fast-forwarding it a bit.

I came back on my third playthrough to this route / style of choices to see what changed and what didn't, when my second playthrough was a much more aggressive character. That second playthrough in particular made me notice something else (that in retrospect was also present my other playthroughs), that sometimes choices failed without really any hint that they might fail. So, you have a list of choices, and you can kinda guess what could happen, but then something else happens and it turns out it wasn't a good choice. I don't know if that's really a bad thing, I guess; certainly there are choices in life that you make that turn out to be bad ones, and you couldn't have prevented it, and it sucks and you have to deal with it. But in a game, it kinda feels to me like it was pulling the rug from under me; I was interested in the consequences of the actions, but turns out that no, the game isn't going to go this way, and by the way you lose Wealth. (Such choices that come to mind: (Spoiler - click to show)letting kids play with your robot, waiting for a clearance to start selling robots to the US Air Force, attacking Juneau.) Just to clarify, I'm OK with actions having negative consequences for the player, I'm just not really thrilled with the prospect of having random events blocking my way; I'd much rather have the game lay out the situation, give me a choice, then explore the consequences, negative or positive, without pulling something from its sleeve at the last second.

The writing is good, and the drama is well-managed, so that each playthrough feels like an exciting or interesting story. I also really liked that the world that is described is in the near future, and is very tangibly linked to our world; a lot of the times, I felt like I recognized the pattern from the present world that was brought up and explored in a section of the game, which made it feel very possible and grounded in reality. It's really not that far-fetched, in terms of SF, and I really liked it (see above: the game organically explores a situation we both know). There are also a few jokes in the game, most of them of the geeky kind (I loved the IF references), although at times they didn't really feel appropriate (there's a Konami Code reference at an otherwise pretty dramatic moment). Your mileage may vary. Also, the prose was mostly very good technically speaking: apart from a missing period once, I didn't really notice anything in 3 playthroughs.

To sum up, "Choice of Robots" feels very satisfying: the story is great, with lots of different possibilities each exploring different thematics; the world that's described is very interesting and grounded in reality, which makes it interesting even if you're not into SF. My only regrets are that the game fast-forwards a bit through the early relationships, and that some choices are unexpectedly bad. I'll definitely keep playing it and try to get as many achievements as I can, and I'll also probably check out other CoG games!

Previous | 11-20 of 62 | Next | Show All