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PostPosted: Sun Nov 01, 2009 1:20 pm 
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RChoba wrote:
Condemned

With a title like that, I guess I shouldn't be expecting rainbows and kittens and such. Which is too bad, as I like rainbows and kittens and such.

Spoiler: show
Soon into the game I find I am wearing a gag. One that I can't remove, even though I tied it myself. In a few turns, I die. I see how this game is going to be.

For the most part, the writing here is very good, at least in the sense that it creates a real mood and feeling of foreboding. I did run into a few oddities, like the message "You can't talk to the (Hunting-for-Sister)." Said sister also doesn't really talk like an 8-year old, and she wears a tied-eyed shirt.

But it must say something good for the game that in a short amount of time I cared about the characters enough to not want to see things end badly for them. I mean, I'm playing a poor kid with a ratty bike, a messed-up mom, a wicked stepfather, and clothes that must be washed before school the next day. I'm obviously feeling guilty for something awful that happened, which I'm pretty sure spells doom for my kid sister.

Although the game seems technically sound, having the player repeatedly type a command like "wait", or even "talk to (someone)" is not really all that interactive. To be fair, the game did field my attempts at doing other things. But it was soon clear that I would have little control over what happened in the story. Which upset me, as I wanted to stop the train wreck of an ending I could just feel was coming.

I got through the car ride with my "friends", which was really really awful, and I couldn't do anything about it. Then I was confronted with an empty cross and told that it made me feel uncomfortable and sick. A fair assessment. I decided the only way to get a happy ending was to quit the game, so I did.

Playing a game that wants me to literally crucify myself is not really my thing. The solid writing suffers from telling a story-on-rails, and a depressing one at that. If someone wants to tell me how it ends so I can be glad I didn't torment myself by finishing it, go ahead. Or maybe I should just make up an ending for it myself. One where Jill gets a kitten and sees a rainbow. Yeah.

Spoiler: show
Yeah, pretty much the worst stuff you imagine is what happens. It's blatantly manipulative, which is annoying, even if it's good at drawing out emotions. The ending gets really odd, and I think it was mostly due to the author not knowing when to stop writing.

It's an oddly strong game except for those faults, I think.


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PostPosted: Thu Nov 05, 2009 7:18 pm 
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The Duel in the Snow

I'm dreaming of a White Russian...

Spoiler: show
So right off the bat I liked the special commands and the glossary. But the thirst puzzle drove me crazy, and I ended up rushing outside and off to the duel since I couldn't find anything to drink in my house. (Why can't I eat/drink some snow? Or make some gin with the juniper berries?) Anyway, I lost the duel.

The second time around I took my time, solved the thirst issue and then read a whole lot of poetry. The nature of the game started to wear on me since I couldn't really change things or speed things up. And, you know, it's hard to talk to characters with names like Gronovskij. (But they sure shoot better than I do.)

Wanting to know more about what was going on with Natasha and why the insult hurt so much, I played again. This time I thought about how the random anecdotes in the flashback should have stopped when Gronovskij and Kropkin are talking about/laughing at me. Eventually I turned to the walkthough to discover that the owl saves the day. (Who knew? And it appears to be the only way to not die; I tried using the book and the bottle in my pocket instead of the owl but found no help there.)

A question in the Amusing asks me if I ever discovered what really happened... no, although I really really wanted to! But after reading some other reviews, I am pretty sure the game was hinting at Natasha having run off with Kropkin (since she seems to be the poet and the last poem in the book is for K- and all) and the whole duel thing really gets instigated by my dear friend Kropkin (who sobered up quite quickly when I challenged Gronovskij) to get me out of the way. (But, why would I have to be out of the picture if my wife has already left me?)

This led me to playing yet again, in an effort to figure out if there's a way to confirm the suspicions about Kropkin. He sighs when I ask about Natasha and blushes about the poetry, so I guess I'm on to something. But I can't challenge him, or shoot him during the duel instead of Gronovskij. This, I think, is a missed opportunity. Imagine an ending where you play through, suspect your friend, even get shot (since the death scene is where Natasha is revealed as the writer) and then you have a chance to shoot your "friend" when he comes to help you. (Meaning you'd have to reserve your pistol shot until the very last.) The ending would still be bleak, fitting the tone of the story, but it might also be a bit more satisfying.

Anyway, the game as it stands is atmospheric and interesting, but the lack of real motivation (outside of thirst) at the beginning and the inability to uncover all the mysteries or really change anything is a bit of a letdown. Although it says something about the game that I played through it repeatedly, kept thinking about it, and came back again, doesn't it? It would have been even more compelling with more story/resolution and less emphasis on distracting/odd puzzles.


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PostPosted: Thu Nov 05, 2009 7:25 pm 
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The Believable Adventures of an Invisible Man

Your definition of believable may vary.

Spoiler: show
From the introductory text alone I find myself not liking the PC.

Entering a wardrobe takes me to my apartment? Oh, yeah, because I was in a secret lab. That's my secret lift.

Being naked and invisible makes it really hard to carry stuff around unseen. Please tell me I don't have to hide things inside my person. Pretty please?

I have poisonous pizza in my oven? That the walkthrough tells me I am supposed to throw out the window for the creepy guy instead?

I don't think I really want to take my revenge out on anyone just now. Thanks.


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PostPosted: Thu Nov 05, 2009 7:29 pm 
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The Ascot

Why is it that the file name for this game is YNKaboom? Am I missing something?

Spoiler: show
I am offered an ascot, then told it is cursed. Do I still want it? Um, no thanks. That was easy enough.

Oh, all right, I'll give it another chance. This time I'll say yes to everything. Except for the question at the end about playing the adventure again.

The humor/style of this is just not my thing. And I can't get too invested in a game when all I have to type is Y or N each turn.


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PostPosted: Thu Nov 05, 2009 7:38 pm 
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Trap Cave

But this cave is different. It's in Germany.

Spoiler: show
Most of the game is in German, but the choices were in English, so I did play around a bit just making choices with no real idea of the context. I found a key and eventually got a RIP message.

I'm not against CYOA as a rule, but I think it works much better when it's used to change the direction of a story instead of being used as an exploration tool. If my choices include things like examine this or go south, then I'd much rather be free to look and walk around on my own. Also, this style is no fun for puzzles, since it's hard to let the player figure stuff out and feel the satisfaction of actually solving things. I mean, if my choices are:

1) do something really clever to solve the puzzle
2) poke around some more

well, what would you pick? And how would it matter?


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PostPosted: Fri Nov 06, 2009 10:27 am 
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RChoba wrote:
The Ascot

Why is it that the file name for this game is YNKaboom? Am I missing something?

Now that I think of it, the filename is a hint about how to win the game. Really! I'm liking The Ascot more and more. :)


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PostPosted: Fri Nov 06, 2009 11:14 am 
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VictorGijsbers wrote:
RChoba wrote:
The Ascot

Why is it that the file name for this game is YNKaboom? Am I missing something?

Now that I think of it, the filename is a hint about how to win the game. Really! I'm liking The Ascot more and more. :)


K, now I know I'm missing something! Perhaps a replay is in order.


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PostPosted: Sat Nov 07, 2009 7:49 pm 
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RChoba wrote:
K, now I know I'm missing something! Perhaps a replay is in order.


Mild spoiler:
Spoiler: show
There is a way to really win this game, getting a 100% positive ending.


Medium spoiler:
Spoiler: show
It has something to do with typing commands that are not yes/no. Try it.


Second medium spoiler:
Spoiler: show
Bascially, you don't have two options, but three: Y, N and Kaboom. That's why the filename is a spoiler. :)


Heavy spoiler
Spoiler: show
Say something not "yes/no" twice at a random point in the game, then give the interpreter to the monster. It will say "Huh?", which makes the interpreter explode. Pretty clever fourth-wall breaking puzzle, actually.


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PostPosted: Tue Nov 10, 2009 9:46 am 
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Earl Grey

This title seems incomplete without tea at the front and hot at the end.

Spoiler: show
At first, I was completely befuddled about what this game was trying to do. But it's actually a pretty cool and unique concept: you change things by removing and adding letters to their names. How? It involves a mysterious runebag and some particular phrasing. This neat idea is bogged down, however, by opening with a lesson in which you do a lot of talking to a man named Eaves. Then the game wants you to be mean to him, for no apparent reason, then he is mean back, and then the stated purpose of the game completely changes.

While I did like the concept and the hints/internal monologue at the bottom, when the game changed I found myself wishing the point was just to go gather tea still. At one point, the game has you thinking, "You know, Eaves, it's not like I didn't have other options today..." and I agreed, remembering the list of other games I could be playing. Didn't finish this one.


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PostPosted: Tue Nov 10, 2009 10:21 am 
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Beta Tester

Hey, is this a just a trick to get your game tested?

Spoiler: show
This game does a bunch of things wrong. There's no real plot or endgoal (the motivation is just have fun) there's some errors in the gameplay (like no response when trying to unlock a door) a tone which some have found hostile (I never felt truly insulted) and what seems like a lack of hints (you have to type walkthru). And yet, overall, I really enjoyed myself here.

There's also a bunch of pausing.
Pause.

For emphasis.
Pause.

Or humor.
Pause.

Which wears kinda thin.
Pause.

And yet it adds something to the pacing of the game which really works. (Especially in the slapstick bits, which I would not have thought could be done well in IF, but which I found rather amusing.)

I liked the helpful hamster and the writing (the paragraph about the cool kids at school was great) and didn't mind so much going from one random puzzle to another. And while IF is not the place I'd expect to find a game like First to 100, I was impressed with the coding and liked playing it. Eventually I did tire a bit, finding the food and drink puzzles dull and the finish pretty bland.

The game could easily have been called Toybox, since it's basically a collection of toys/puzzles you can pick up and play with randomly before closing it all down when you're done. If you accept it for what it is you may just have fun with it. I did.


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