Deus Ex Ceviche

by Tom Lento and Chandler Groover profile


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Number of Reviews: 5
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful:
Absurdist game about a computer made of fish... I think..., October 2, 2020
by RadioactiveCrow (Irving, TX)
Related reviews: Less than 1 hour

Oh man. I almost held off reviewing this one because I wanted to see what others had to say about it first, in hopes other reviews would help me understand it better. But this isn't the first Chandler Groover game I've played and so my guess is that I'm not meant to understand it fully, so here we go.

This game is really more a statistically based puzzle game than interactive fiction. There are plenty of words to read, but I'm pretty sure they would only make sense if you lived in the absurd world of the story. The puzzle itself involves accumulating fish or tech related stats, like brine and bytes, by putting religious-themed "disks" into processing slots, sometimes accompanied by what I think is an AI, and clicking submit to see what kind of stats you get. After hitting submit each time you get a few lines of text adding color, but a really weird color like Smaragdine, to the world. The rules of the game are barely explained to you, so it is just up to trial and error to figure out how to accumulate the necessary stats fast enough to win the game. I was starting to notice the pattern towards the end of the game, but I wasn't into it enough to keep playing and fine tune it.

Because all the text was so weird and I wasn't able to pick a story out of it, it quickly devolved in to me just clicking as quick as I could to try different combinations of disks and slots to reach the end of the game. I love Groover's game "Eat Me" and it was the first of his I played. Since then I've always played his games early in each IFComp, hoping for more greatness, but mostly finding weird mood pieces. I'd love to hear from someone that really enjoyed this game to help me understand it better.

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BitterlyIndifferent, October 25, 2020 - Reply
(Spoiler - click to show)You're an emergent god. Running the disks to operate various protocols within the corporate/cybernetic fish temple/business will determine which form you take at the end of the game.
RadioactiveCrow, October 28, 2020 - Reply
(Spoiler - click to show)I don't think I ever picked up on that. Did you figure out the disk system early on and were able to make it work for you?
BitterlyIndifferent, November 5, 2020 - Reply
The pixel-perfect goldfish advisor was unexpectedly truthful throughout the entire game. I thrashed around in the beginning, without understanding what I was doing, and then I paid very close attention to the advisor until I understood the pattern.

The early descriptions made it hard for me to figure out what "you" want. I don't think I recognized what was supposed to be happening until after I performed the second ritual.
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