Counterfeit Monkey

by Emily Short profile


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Number of Ratings: 236
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- Sobol (Russia), November 3, 2014

- ProfessorVod, September 2, 2014

- Khalisar (Italy), June 8, 2014

- IFforL2 (Chiayi, Taiwan), May 20, 2014

- Ghalev (Northern Appalachia, United States), April 16, 2014

- tekket (Česká Lípa, Czech Republic), April 10, 2014

3 of 5 people found the following review helpful:
Redefining Wordsmithery, March 24, 2014
by Jeremy Hollobon (New Zealand)

There's really not that much I can say about this ridiculously superb game which hasn't been said already (and more eloquently) by previous reviewers.

So I will limit myself to offering a little advice to anyone who is eyeing this cryptically titled game and wondering "...shall I?"

I would implore you to:

(1) Just download it already. You're more likely to meet a sunbathing Grue than to regret playing this game.

(2) Don't be put off by the fact that the story blurb doesn't make a blind bit of sense. It's not supposed to (until you've played some of the game). Just take a leap of faith into unknown waters.

(3) Make an effort to get the latest version of this game, which may require visiting the Author's web site. The IFDB-hosted gblorb may be out-of-date, and save-game files may not be compatible between releases, so you should get the latest version before you start playing. (I got burned by this).

(4) Avoid playing it on iOS Frotz. Much as I love that app, this game will be intolerably slow, and may even be impossible to complete, due to hanging.

Much as I would love to wax lyrical about the game's mind-boggling breadth and depth, smile-inducing humour, ground-breaking game mechanics, masterful prose, or just the astonishing fact that we live in a universe where you can play this game for free, I will steadfastly resist the temptation. So that you can get on with enjoying the journey ahead.

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- Loksuven (Montana), March 17, 2014

- Jason McIntosh (Boston), March 17, 2014

- Lorxus, March 8, 2014

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful:
Amazing Game, Mixed Feelings, February 21, 2014

This was an amazing game. Professional in all respects, fascinating mechanics, gentle, well-described world hiding unexpectedly sharp teeth. I wanted to fall in love with it, and I did, for what turned out to be the first half or so.

The issue, for me, is that the characters were as gently and obliquely described as the world. I could sense there was a lot more to them bubbling under the surface, but I couldn't seem to unlock much of it. So I was left with a sense that the game would really be happier if we just stayed good friends and I didn't pry too much, and this left me feeling vaguely dissatisfied.

I may have rushed through too quickly; I'm used to IF that takes a few hours to complete, and this probably should have been enjoyed over a week. And maybe I'm spoiled by the easy narrative rewards of less demanding pieces. And maybe I wasn't in the right frame of mind to enjoy exploring all of the nuances of the system and fiddling with everything in pursuit of success.

Minor spoiler (general feelings on ending): (Spoiler - click to show)I found the ending to be disappointing, enough so that I assumed I'd gotten a mediocre ending until I checked the source and discovered I'd gotten the best one (and some of the reasons why the author made this choice). I wasn't entirely shocked that the ending left me with mixed feelings, since I've played a few other games by this author and have come to the conclusion that our definitions of "happy" are considerably different!

Major spoiler: (Spoiler - click to show)I wanted Alexandra to be separated and to see them interact with each other face to face after spending so much time so intimately connected and going through so much. Leaving them joined just felt incomplete.

I would definitely suggest using Gargoyle if possible, since on WinGluxe, "go to" and "find" became incredibly sluggish as the game progressed.

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- popo, February 9, 2014

- John Simon (London), February 2, 2014

- Ken Hubbard (Ohio), January 25, 2014

- Katrisa (Houston), December 26, 2013

- Ollie (UK), November 17, 2013

- tggdan3 (Michigan), October 24, 2013

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful:
Truly amazing, October 17, 2013
by streever (America)

This may be my favorite IF game currently, the only game able to even stand up to try and compete with it being Make it Good.

The entire game is full of linguistic puzzles, and like most of Short's work, creates a brilliant sense of place without extraneous descriptive text. The setting is fantastic and unreal--something most writers would communicate through byzantine tomes you can read through ad nauseum--but Short makes it compelling and real with the perfect amount of detail.

I haven't finished it, but I've put 2 hours into it, and haven't felt lost or confused. Puzzles that could be game-breaking have multiple solutions, and discovering those extra solutions--while not seemingly necessary and not contributing to my score yet--make me feel like the king of puzzles, twirling about in front of my throne and doffing my crown to my adoring peasentry.

Speaking of being "The King of Puzzles", I demand that my knights Make it Good and Counterfeit Monkey present themselves on my tourney field tomorrow to battle. I want to see blood, you knaves!

Ahem, sorry, got carried away there. Nothing more to see here, moving on!

The setting, the technical implementation, the plot, the writing, and the actual puzzles--the way they are solved and the mechanisms involved--are fascinating and novel. This is one of the best works of IF available.

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Counterfeit Monkey is consistently surprising and adroit, engaged with its own core without drowning in witty self-referential winks; putting the basis of language at the forefront, the verb and the noun, without piling on verbose diatribes of exposition. Successful, smart, and fun, its puzzles and pace bridge the gap between curling up with a good book and letting you save the world. Or at least your own skin.

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- kala (Finland), September 7, 2013

- KGH (North Carolina), June 10, 2013

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful:
A dynamic masterpiece, June 6, 2013
by RedHatter (Vista, California)

Emily Short writes masterpieces, this is undisputed. Yet the Counterfeit Monkey outdoes even Short's other games. The world was as compelling as any book I have read. Unparalleled character development, not only characters around the player, but also the character herself; The game is written from the point of view of 'Alex' narrating for the player, and as such opens many possibilities to see the player from the eyes of another. Through out game play the player finds memories to view, adding insight into the player's past. The virtual world Short built is large with items scattered across it, not all that the player uses. Counterfeit Monkey game play centers around word manipulation, changing the name of things to change what they are, creating unless possibilities. In addition to all this, the game did not feel 'static' with conversations, new characters, and new goals, around every corner.

I would caution anybody thinking of play Counterfeit Monkey that it is very hard. Do not play unless you are an advanced player.

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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful:
Excellent technical accomplishment and a great sense of fun, June 6, 2013
by Jim Kaplan (Jim Kaplan has a room called the location. The location of Jim Kaplan is variable.)
Related reviews: emily short, humor

Play it if: you want a lengthy and engrossing puzzle-solving experience and a healthy dollop of satirical humor to occupy you for a day or two.

Don't play it if: you're in the mood for something that more heavily emphasizes atmosphere or depth of characterization.

Boy, did I like Counterfeit Monkey. It had me grinning like a maniac within five minutes of starting, and that grin never let up. Even when my face got sore after the first few hours.

The most consistent tonal impression I got from Counterfeit Monkey was that of a high-quality Monkey Island game. Surreal plot devices, anachronistic histories, a coastal setting, a light-hearted story with streaks of's all there. Oddly enough it also reminds me of The People's Glorious Revolutionary Text Adventure Game in its tone and charm, though I prefer Monkey for its outstanding gameplay and depth of setting. There's even a hint of Planescape: Torment lurking in there somewhere (a detailed setting where belief and opinion have physical power).

In gameplay terms, Monkey combines a feeling of casual puzzle-solving fun with a profound degree of technical effort. In that respect it feels like a sort of leveled-up crossword, which is appropriate because almost all of the puzzles here are navigated through some form of wordplay. I spent a chunk of the first half of the game a little concerned that the gameplay wouldn't significantly change. The letter-removals were great, but they also felt fairly straightforward, more so than what I think I'm used to in the early stages of a longer Emily Short game. But then the story starts to throw in some fun alternative powers, and remains fairly dynamic from there. Mixing it up with some memory exploration and the ongoing plotline, and you have a story which is fairly excellently paced.

It's difficult to overstate how much effort it must have taken (at least form the perspective of a novice like me) to have implemented the wordplay. A lot of my enjoyment came out of trying some more obscure ideas and realizing just how thorough the research was - how delighted I was to find that the author had taken the time to implement a cad, complete with "smouldering gaze"!

Definitely worth your time. Entertaining and impressive.

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- Mr. Patient (Saint Paul, Minn.), April 30, 2013

- Mantene, April 30, 2013

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