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An overwhelming mix of wordplay, exploration and story, February 3, 2016
Note: This review was written months in advance. A week before this review was published, another review came out saying that counterfeit monkey was overwhelming and was very negative about the author and game in general. While I was overwhelmed, I think this is an incredible game, and that the author is extremely talented.
Counterfeit Monkey is a technical marvel of wordplay and implementation. The game is a large exploration game where you can alter almost any item by adding or removing letters, reversing letters, performing anagrams, etc.
This game has been rated highly by the majority of those who played it, and I must praise its puzzles, writing, implementation, and craftsmanship.
These very qualities led me to feel overwhelmed playing this game. I had a similar experience with Blue Lacuna. In both games, so much is implemented that I had a hard time thinking of what to do next. In both games, you have a certain sense of urgency, so you want to move forward, but both reward experimentation. So I have a feeling of being torn in two directions (much like the protagonist of this game).
I wonder if the reason I feel drawn to interactive fiction in general is its minimalist, constrained atmosphere. Games like Zork or Curses! where you are noone, and exploration is the only goal; games like Glass, where you can only steer a conversation; games like Rogue of The Multiverse that are split into several parts with clear goals. Even games like Ad Verbum, which mirror the puzzle parts of Counterfeit Monkey without the plot.
Most will not feel the same as me, but I love the minimalism and asceticism of classic games, and I don't know if I enjoy those games which have been built up into a rich, huge world.