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Lost Potential, July 19, 2012
*All the following spoilers are tagged as such but are very minor.
I should probably rate this four stars. Maybe three. Truly, this game was put together in a week and the mechanics show that. However, I just can't make myself change my rating because the game was beautiful overall, glitches be damned. If you like IF pieces for their plot, play this. If you play for puzzles, however, you'll be sorely disappointed.
Throughout all the IF pieces I've played through, from the emotional manipulation that is Photopia to the deep dark themes of De Baron, none gripped me like August. From the very first paragraph, I was emotionally involved. Matt Fendahleen's writing style is just that brilliant. (Spoiler - click to show)My thoughts while reading the first paragraph quickly went to "Wait, what? No, Manfred, come back to me!". I was impressed by all the characters except, perhaps, (and unfortunately) the main NPC. Indeed, even the "good" ending was (Spoiler - click to show) sad because I felt it would hurt a character that never even appears in the game. If you want a good plot, this doesn't take long and I am completely enamored with it.
HOWEVER, the glitches are pretty bad. From the first room, the directions are backwards, leading to a confusing first few moves. At one point, a major NPC is mentioned in a room's description as something to interact with, but seems to have been forgotten about in implementation. After replaying a few times for different endings, I managed to make the game confusingly unwinnable. The ASK/TELL conversation is rough- though you can get a lot of information, it's easy to have your meaning misunderstood. Even a change as slight as "Ask him about his underwear." instead of "Ask him about underwear." will give you nothing.
For all it's faults, however, I thoroughly enjoyed the game. Enough for me to sit down and write a review, which is big.(;