Reviews by RadioactiveCrow

About 15 minutes

View this member's profile

Show ratings only | both reviews and ratings
View this member's reviews by tag: 1-2 hours 10+ hours 15-30 minutes 2-3 hours 2-4 hours 8-10 hours About 1 hour About 15 minutes About 30 minutes Less than 1 hour Less than 15 minutes Less than 30 minutes
...or see all reviews by this member
Showing All | Show by Page


Smart Theory, by AKheon

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
Short and funny game about being smart... in theory, October 21, 2021
by RadioactiveCrow (Irving, TX)
Related reviews: About 15 minutes

In this game you play a student at a university that stumbles into some kind of seminar, revolution and/or cult. Learn all about "Smart Theory" and how it will soon take the nation by storm!

This short game, written in Ink, is pretty funny. There are definitely some laugh-out-loud moments. Enhancing the humor is that you can actually see something like this happening on a college campus today. That said, the whole game, which is very short, is pretty much the same joke played over and over again in different keys, and it grows old about halfway through.

The game is well-implemented, with more than two choices at most junctures and a bit of looping back to give yourself a chance to catch things you missed before if you'd like. There is even an ending that is a bit more earnest than the preceding humor seems to warrant.

Definitely worth a playthrough for the laughs. Not sure if a second playthrough would add anything though.


The daughter, by Giovanni Rubino

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful:
I never had a clue what was going on, October 5, 2021
by RadioactiveCrow (Irving, TX)
Related reviews: About 15 minutes

I feel like if you don't read the blurb on the IFComp website, then you will never have a clue what is going on in this story. Even if you do read it, your head will likely still spin.

I'm not sure if the author's first language is something other than English, or if they were trying to be exotic/futuristic with the way some words were spelled, or if there were just several dozen typos. Whatever the case, it made it really hard to stay in the rhythm of the story.

The choices given to you are minimal, and towards the end of this short piece, there is a segment of text that goes so long in between choices that I had to scroll the screen of my tablet several times to find the next hyperlink, all the while having no clue what was being talked about.

Finally, the game ends unceremoniously and without any indication that it is the end. The text just ends without another hyperlink. Either it ended or it was a glitch.

I hate giving one-star reviews, but I just couldn't find anything to like about this piece.


Equal-librium, by Ima

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful:
Short and buggy, but does interesting things with text effects/timing, November 28, 2020
by RadioactiveCrow (Irving, TX)
Related reviews: About 15 minutes

This is a very short choice-based game where you play the CEO of an investment firm facing moral choices about the company's action as well as how you treat your employees. With a game this short I don't think it is worth it to talk about the plot that much as just about anything I say would be spoilers. I will say that it is fairly heavy-handed in its messaging regarding the choices you have to make and what the author thinks the right ones are. I tend to prefer games that weave the message in with interesting plot or mechanics. Also, this game had several typos and one obvious bug, so it could stand a bit more polishing.

I did enjoy the way the author made visual effects out of the text, with flickering or timed text, among other things. I felt that really added a sense of being under stress and/or scatter-brained to the story. I love seeing text and the IF creation engines stretched and used in interesting ways to help convey something that might be hard with plain text alone.


Passages, by Jared W Cooper

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful:
Interesting idea, but falls flat, November 25, 2020
by RadioactiveCrow (Irving, TX)
Related reviews: About 15 minutes

This is ostensibly a choice-based game, but as best as I recall only had a single page that offered up so much as two links, and one of those only changed the present text a bit, rather than send you down a new path. Considering that this is supposed to be interactive fiction, I have to mark it down for having only a modicum of interactivity.

The story takes the form of a journal in a strange version of the world where wormholes sometimes open up in the basements of houses and can theoretically be fixed by plumbers. The wormholes, if unsealed, can cause issues with the flow of time, and so consequently the journal entries don't seem to follow upon each other linearly and sometimes something happening in one entry can be explained by something in a later entry. An interesting idea, but the story just didn't grab me.

It is mercifully short though, if you want to give it a quick spin.


The Pinecone, by Joseph Pentangelo

3 of 4 people found the following review helpful:
Another absurdist game from the author, November 19, 2020
by RadioactiveCrow (Irving, TX)
Related reviews: About 15 minutes

This game is the author's second entry into IFComp 2020, along with an equally absurd game, "The Turnip". You play a student waiting for a bus when a herd of goats come walking down the street. From there things get really weird.

I played through it twice and got two of the four endings. This piece is better than "The Turnip" for sure, but still not great. Perhaps this style of writing just isn't my cup of tea, but I just didn't get it. Everything is weird without reason, which is fine if something interesting happens in the world. But nothing really does. The ending is kind of funny, but seems disjointed with some of the penultimate scenes along some of the possible paths.

I'd like to see more from this author, but I think it would have to be a longer piece with more interesting character development and interactions. Not just weirdness for its own sake.


Big Trouble in Little Dino Park, by Seth Paxton, Rachel Aubertin

2 of 4 people found the following review helpful:
Keep your dinosaur manual handy, November 19, 2020
by RadioactiveCrow (Irving, TX)
Related reviews: About 15 minutes

Bottom line on this game is I did not enjoy it and don't think it is worth even the 15 minutes it took for me to die twice. You play an employee of a dinosaur park (a Jurassic Park knock-off which is ubiquitous in the game world) on the day when another employee goes crazy and opens all the cages. You have to escape from the park somehow.

I just didn't care about any of it, not the characters, not the "puzzles", not the writing. If you die (no real way to tell that's what your choices will lead to) the game will let you restore from the point where it all went wrong. I died twice and restored, trying a new path, but before I even got to my third death (or perhaps victory) I got bored and quit playing.


The Cave, by Neil Aitken

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful:
A game where you wander around aimlessly until you stop, October 31, 2020
by RadioactiveCrow (Irving, TX)
Related reviews: About 15 minutes

So, this game makes more sense to me now than it did when I played it (more on that later). But I have to base this review and rating on my experience playing the game in the way it was presented to me.

In this game you wake up in a cave that may or may not be pitch dark. Some of the writing certainly makes it seem like you are just feeling your way around, but then you see things in the room with you so I'm not sure which to believe. Many room descriptions start with the line "You are swallowed in an even deeper darkness." Then many of those follow with the line "It is dark." Then again, many of those rooms continue with a description of some items in the room. I think a lot of the text was generated by a poorly tuned algorithm. The writing just felt really awkward at times.

Anyway, you just wander around trying different things, not really sure if you are making progress and then at some point you stumble across the exit. Then you are told what your final stats are (even though you never realized you were collecting or generating stats), along with a few achievements. Not very satisfying.

I highly recommend you read the review that deathbytroggles wrote. It contains info that the author put into the walkthrough, but that I strongly believe needs to be on the front page of the game. Apparently the author intended this game to be a unique way to generate stats for a character you are creating for D&D or a similar game. You play the game for 15 minutes, make whichever choices seem appropriate to you and are awarded stats based on your personality in the game. That's a genius idea! I love the idea of creating your D&D character not by rolling dice, but by making choices in this somewhat abstract environment. It seems the game is designed to make you wander around until you have used up all the points at your disposal for character creation and then generate an exit. Which is fine as long as everyone knows what they are getting into.

So as a character creation tool for D&D, two thumbs up. But as a piece of IF, it leaves a lot to be desired.


You Couldn't Have Done That, by Ann Hugo

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful:
Short game about an autistic girl's first day at a new job, October 21, 2020
by RadioactiveCrow (Irving, TX)
Related reviews: About 15 minutes

Please know that I mean this with the utmost respect, and in the best way possible, when I call this piece an "autism simulator". I say it not at all to diminish the autistic experience, but rather to praise the game. I am not autistic myself, but I have a young son who is autistic, as well as several adult friends who are autistic. From observing their behavior and listening to them talk about what it is like, I think that this game does the best job I've ever seen at helping a non-autistic person experience what it is like to be autistic. The writing is properly terse and excellent at getting the player into the mindset of the main character and what she is dealing with in her first day at a new job; the things she likes about the job and the things that make her uncomfortable. The game features very limited choices that at first didn't seem to have a big impact on the game, a feature that I don't usually like. However, eventually you will make a choice that (Spoiler - click to show)is rejected by the game as something you can't do (hence the title) because of your brain just doesn't work that way. It is in these moments that you really feel the pain and discomfort of the character. When every interaction gets dialed up to 11, normal situations can be uncomfortable and bad situations can be hell.

I'd recommend everyone give this a playthrough to help you better understand some of your fellow humans. Well worth the little time it will take.


Stoned Ape Hypothesis, by James Heaton

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
Simple, short choice-based game with a few puzzles, October 14, 2020
by RadioactiveCrow (Irving, TX)
Related reviews: About 15 minutes

There isn't a lot to this game. You play as some version of a primitive human, who finds some mushrooms, eats them and has a giant leap forward in consciousness, enough to eventually (Spoiler - click to show)join a human town. Even though this is a choice-based game the story line is very minimal and the game is mostly about solving some simple puzzles. That's really it, give it a whirl, it won't take long.

Two things I really liked about it:
1) How the prose got more verbose/detailed the more mushrooms were consumed. I thought it was a nice illustration of the increasing intelligence of the player character.
2) How the author was able to program a Tic-Tac-Toe and Mancala AI in Ink for the game.


Mother Tongue, by Nell Raban

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful:
Short game about a mother teaching her child the language of their ancestors, October 8, 2020
by RadioactiveCrow (Irving, TX)
Related reviews: About 15 minutes

My childhood best friend was Filipino; born in the Philippines, but moved to the US at a very young age. I would hang out at his house a lot and heard his mom speaking Tagalog quite a bit. I picked up a handful of words, including the curse words, along the way. All that to say that I think this story reached me in a way in might not reach others.

The game is very short and takes places completely over text messages. A mother tries to teach her child her native language, something she regrets not having done sooner. A choice-based game about the decisions immigrants have to make in the name of helping their children fit in to a new country, and children deciding if it is too late or not to connect to their heritage. A simple and heartwarming conversation.


Congee, by Becci

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful:
The IF equivalent of comfort food, October 6, 2020
by RadioactiveCrow (Irving, TX)
Related reviews: About 15 minutes

This short choice-based work is about being both sick and homesick, and the comfort that certain foods can bring to both kinds of illness. While primarily text, the game is accompanied by soft music and occasional illustrations that perfectly compliment the mood of the story. I don't want to say much more as the game is very short and I wish for everyone to experience it for themselves. But I will say this: I've only played this game once, and for the best reason. The path that I took and the ultimate outcome of the game felt so perfect and brought me such joy that I can't imagine finding a better one and I want to preserve this one playthrough in my memory, undiluted.


Quest for the Sword of Justice, by Damon L. Wakes

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful:
Parody of the traditional RPG, October 4, 2020
by RadioactiveCrow (Irving, TX)
Related reviews: About 15 minutes

This isn't your traditional IF. It was made with RPGMaker and looks like a top-down RPG from the 16-bit era. It is very short with limited choices. The whole game basically exists to make fun of old-school RPGs and it does have a few very funny lines. That said there isn't much to it. Worth a playthrough if you loved FF4 and FF6 as much as I did.


SOUND, by CynthiaP

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful:
Never had any idea what was going on, October 4, 2020
by RadioactiveCrow (Irving, TX)
Related reviews: About 15 minutes

So I don't think I really know what this one is about, except that the PC is bad at customer service or something. You are thrown into the story and basically never given any details or context about the plot or world. It is just a conversation between you and an NPC counselor, with very limited choices. Then it ends (Spoiler - click to show) in what appears to be an endless loop, with you clicking on the same thing over and over again before it resets. I never made it off that screen.

The only reason it doesn't get one star is that it was clean execution, no apparent bugs. A smooth playthrough.


The Turnip, by Joseph Pentangelo

4 of 5 people found the following review helpful:
Very weird, short and linear, October 2, 2020
by RadioactiveCrow (Irving, TX)
Related reviews: About 15 minutes

I didn't care for this piece much. As the author notes, it is a short story he wrote some time ago turned into a very linear Twine piece, where the only interactivity is clicking on a few words to get some extra details. There are no branches in the narrative and there is only one ending. On top of that the story is really weird, like Upstream Color weird, and I didn't get it. Sorry.

It was clean execution though, and I appreciated the author's "About" page at the end.


Captain Graybeard's Plunder, by Julian Mortimer Smith

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful:
Short game that beautifully illustrates the magic of fiction, October 2, 2020
by RadioactiveCrow (Irving, TX)
Related reviews: About 15 minutes

Honestly, at first I wasn't into this piece (which was partly due to playing it on a phone rather than a computer and having the status sidebar cut off). It didn't seem particularly deep or all that interactive. But once I understood how it worked, the mechanics that would influence the rest of the game, I really got into it.

I don't want to spoil anything at all since the game is so short, I would just recommend giving it a whirl. I will just say that I thought it does a great job capturing the magic that great fiction can have on the imagination, and by extension on mood and mental health as well. The author also did a nice job of making use of the hyperlink controls to illustrate the magic at work, both with changing text and fonts.

Well worth the time for any lover of fiction!

This game is part of IFComp 2020, so if you are reading this in October or November of 2020 head over to ifcomp.org and sign up to be a judge. You can play this and other wonderful games and vote on which authors should win cash prizes!


Break Stuff, by Amy Clare Fontaine

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful:
Entertaining choice-based game with one particularly beautiful scene, October 1, 2020
by RadioactiveCrow (Irving, TX)
Related reviews: About 15 minutes

Forgive me, Amy, for getting to this review so late. I played the game for last year's IFComp and tweeted about how much I liked it, but totally forgot to review it here.

Thinking back on this game I think I like it more now than I did when I first played it (and I liked it then!), might go back and play it again too. There's a lot of content to discover for such a short game. The game takes place after a break-up and follows the ex-girlfriend driving out with one of her friends to break some of the ex-boyfriend's stuff. There are lots of things to break, with each scene being a reflection on different aspects of relationships.

Play through this game at least twice and make different choices at the critical junctures each time. I want you to discover my favorite scene on your own, but you can check below to see how to get there if you want.

My Favorite Scene:
(Spoiler - click to show)
After breaking stuff you get to "the following night". Choose "Call Libby" when it comes up, then "Call Libby. NOW!". This scene got me all misty-eyed when I first read it. The love and desperation in this scene really hits you in the chest. Bravo!


9:05, by Adam Cadre

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful:
Fun little game to get you acclimated to IF, September 29, 2020
by RadioactiveCrow (Irving, TX)
Related reviews: About 15 minutes

This game only takes 10-15 to playthrough once, and I recommend you play through it multiple times. It is useful in getting a new player acclimated to the mechanics of IF, including the frustrating parts like being told you can't do something because of a minor detail you forgot (Spoiler - click to show) like having to specify to take your watch off before getting in the shower.

My first playthrough was over unexpectedly and anticlimactically, but I got to have some fun on subsequent playthroughs. After playing it by yourself a couple times I recommend reading a walkthrough to learn all its secrets. This will help give you an idea of what to look for in future parser-based IF games you might play.



Showing All | Show by Page