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PostPosted: Sun Aug 06, 2017 8:44 pm 
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Playing with the White Dog

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This twine, as the title implies, is about playing with a dog. It's well thought out in the number of paths you can take to interact with the dog, and this sentence by the author after the game's completion interests me:

"Based on how you interact with it, the dog will react differently when its REAL owners come home the next day."

I get the impression that you are dog-sitting for somebody since the dog didn't attack you, but then why did you have the option to name the dog? The dog would of already had a name and the you would probably already know it if the owners trusted you enough to watch their dog for them? The story didn't add up and I didn't get clued in through the writing that something was off and I went through every path. Maybe you're a ghost? Either way, this didn't bother me too much, if anything the unanswered questions just adds to my interest of what's going on here.

My biggest critique is with the writing: the writing just didn't feel that living to me. You name the dog and still continue to refer to it as dog instead of the name you gave it. And the imagery just wasn't that evocative to me. It wasn't bad, it just needed some improvement. There's a certain art form to creative writing that transcends simply narrating an event, a way to dress up a sentence to transform it from a meal into a banquet. And not necessarily in terms of volume as sometimes a few choice words tells a deeper story than a full paragraph, it's almost like a talented author uses sorcery in their writing, I don't believe in magic but that's the sort of impression I get when I read something and think to myself "yeah, that was pleasant". I would recommend that the author strengthens their creative writing skills in order to liven up the existing story. I would also recommend they use the word "beseech" less, or even not at all, it didn't work for me as a player

Overall, an interesting idea for a game that possesses a strong structure that lacks some writing and possibly technical skills. I would be interested to see where this story goes and how the author improves their abilities through a finished game.

6

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PostPosted: Mon Aug 07, 2017 3:36 am 
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Prizon

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In this game, you need to escape a prison. I feel it still needs a lot of work before being ready for a completed release:

1. Tidy up the writing.

For example, the first room could be changed from:

D402
You can see Door Delta 402, your shelf (on which are your cup (in which are your toothbrush and your tube of toothpaste), a pack of cigarettes and a copy of the Baker of Shireton (closed)), your bed, a sink (empty), a ventilation duct (closed) and a fire sprinkler here.


to a much cleaner and more visually appealing:

D402
You are standing in your cell, Delta 402. You see a shelf that holds a pack of cigarettes, a book, and a cup that contains your toothbrush and toothpaste. There's also a bed along one wall which ends in a sink, a ventilation duct and fire sprinkler both stare down on you. Your cell door leads south.


You can even polish it up further, I just removed all of the parenthesis to make the writing easier to consume. Extra details should be hidden behind the examine command.

2. Room descriptions.

I'm not sure where I was going or why. I don't think any of the rooms were really described so I had no idea what I was supposed to be doing there. The exits were listed on a bar at the top of the screen which forced me to constantly disengage from the material I was reading to find out where I could possibly go and since there was no room descriptions, I would usually just get informed that I would get my teeth knocked out by the guards. Room exits should almost always be included in a room description, this way characters can understand how the room they are currently in is related to other rooms. There was a command where you could look at a direction and it would tell you what was there, but this while an interesting option in specific circumstances, is just tedious when you have to look in every direction in every room rather than just having it in the room description.

3. Not much narration.

I know the premise was you needed to keep quite for your own safety, but maybe you could have used guile or something to get some information from the guards or other inmates? Maybe I was typing something in wrong or it wasn't implemented cleanly, but nobody seemed very talkative. Maybe if you are convinced about having the player be the silent type, you could provide an inner monologue for the player? Something to give this game some much needed atmosphere.

4. Technical issues

The bag from the library, for example, does not appear in your inventory which makes any items you place into it also not appear to be in your inventory. While I did not deduct any points for the technical issues, it did leave me questioning what a finished product would look like.

I did enjoy the little introduction you received at the beginning and there were some interesting items in your cell to examine. The idea of an escape from prison game is also an entertaining one. I think the author can polish this up into a good game with some work, which is what I'd like to see.

5

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Last edited by Billy Mays on Fri Aug 11, 2017 7:04 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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PostPosted: Wed Aug 09, 2017 8:19 am 
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Sherlock Indomitable

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In this game the author translated the Sir Arthur Conan Doyle classic "The Adventure of the Speckled Band" into a text adventure. I felt it was done seamlessly which allowed for a complete immersion into the source material. Much of this was largely due to both the author's superb creative writing skills as well as a mastery of technical mechanics. I greatly enjoyed the clue system and how it was used to delve deeper into the mystery surrounding the case as well as its inhabitants, linking two clues together allowed for some interesting puzzle opportunities as well.

several things come to mind:

-I was a little disappointed that you weren't able to have and use traditional Sherlock Holmes items in your inventory, they just appeared as almost extensions of your body when the scene dictated (such as the your cane and magnifying glass). I thought it worked to streamline the mechanics a good bit since your arsenal was your clues, but I would have liked to have seen those items appear in either my character description or my inventory, if nothing more than to enhance immersion into the character.

-I would like to see the author change the name of the location "Trap" to something else.

-I'm not sure how much was adapted from the original story, how much was rewritten, and how much was putting game mechanics into essentially a copy and paste of the original Doyle text. I'm not sure where the line is here, or if there's even a line, I honestly don't even care if any lines were crossed because it was a tremendous amount of fun which is usually all that matters to me.

10

I hunger for the completion of this game.

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PostPosted: Wed Aug 09, 2017 9:56 am 
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The Adam and Eve Project

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An interesting escape the room style puzzle game where you control two different characters and are able to switch between them.

-I didn't like how you needed to know outside information in order to solve the puzzles such as the order of planets or what letters corresponds with what number on a telephone keypad. Maybe I should already know these things? Maybe the author could fit that information in somewhere? I'm not really sure who's at fault here, but my gut is telling me that it's me.

-Things got mentioned in the room description that weren't implemented, this was particularly frustrating since it was a puzzle game.

-Many of the puzzles felt too loose, that you were just searching for any wild association of how anything could even remotely relate to something else.

-I unlocked the medicine cabinet and the drawer, both were empty, this was the point where the game lost me as a player.

-The the premise was interesting.

-Many of this game's problems are probably just a reflection of my own faults. This brings me much shame, but I'm in too deep with these reviews to turn back now.


I'd like to try this game again when it's completed.

7

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PostPosted: Wed Aug 09, 2017 10:23 am 
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The Sentence Editor

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In this twine you play as a blogger who may or may not be an alcoholic. You get to read the silly things you've done, meet some interesting people, form long term relationships, and share a recipe for a meat dish that includes a considerable amount of denatured alcohol. I don't know what it is about this game, but it's been growing on me more and more the more I think about it.

I'm sorry but coming up with any suggestions is really difficult for me on this one. There were a number of things about this game that I would normally dislike seeing, but I can't even name them because somehow they combined themselves into something I really enjoyed. It wasn't a "it's so bad it's good" thing like in B-movies or like that one game that everyone likes to dump on that had something to do with a detective or something, I never played it, because those are all terrible reasons to like something. First, because it's mean, and second because it then just becomes a studio formula for profiting off of low budget movies.



8

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Last edited by Billy Mays on Thu Aug 17, 2017 8:16 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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PostPosted: Wed Aug 09, 2017 11:26 am 
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The Wishing Wood

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A twine game about a journey to discover Death, and probably some metaphors. I felt the writing was pretty good, some of the jokes hit while others completely missed (old lady blasting dubstep...the "two opposites that should never be together but are" jokes seldom ever work for me).

The biggest problem I had was that your decisions merely gave you the illusion of choice down a linear path, were forced, or did not impact the story significantly. I was able to appreciate this on a metaphorical basis dealing with the themes of life and death, but to a less degree in regards to playing a game.

I was just lost as to what direction the game was going. There was too much of a nonchalant attitude given the situation, there was no mystery or reverence. You meet death and then are given a choice of one of three different paths to take.

I am interested to see what direction the author takes with this game. I believe it could be an excellent game with some modest adjustments to the introduction.

6

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PostPosted: Fri Aug 11, 2017 7:33 am 
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You Just Might Feel Something

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I liked how the game opened up where you are able to customize a character and see how those decisions impact the story later on, and I enjoyed the ending of the introduction. This is what I'm talking about in regards to closing out an intro, the author didn't just have you walk through the door at the end of the hallway and roll credits, but rather gave you a taste of what's in store when you return.

I enjoyed the the body of the intro as well but there were a couple of faults here in my opinion.

First, I hate the sentence-left click sentence-left click sentence-left click sentence left click...that you see in twines, this should never exist under any circumstance, it is the equivalent of an author writing a chapter of a book where there is only one sentence on each page. I never want to chase around something with my mouse and I never want to spam left click through a paragraph.

Second, I thought the writing was great in the different rooms, I just thought there was too much of it and it needed to get tidied up a bit. I'm not averse to reading, I just think it needs to be in proportion to what is being conveyed otherwise you lose something in the process. I associate, I really don't associate it like this but the analogy works for this review, an IF game like a delicious frosted cake with sprinkles. The cake is the mechanics of the game, the frosting (buttercream) is the writing, and the sprinkles are the pizzazz the author adds to the writing. This game was an example of where the author then decided to add an additional layer of delicious buttercream frosting over the sprinkles, you can no longer see the sprinkles which is a bit of a downer and the frosting has become disproportionate to the cake.

I would like to see the author trim down the room stories a little bit, nothing too drastic, just shaving off the 5 o'clock shadow to freshen the face up a bit. Often times what is not written tells more of a story than what is and selecting the right word has a greater impact than many words.

Also, a little bit more player mechanics in each of the rooms, something to give you just a little bit more control over the experiences.

An outstanding intro that needs just a tiny bit of refinement to take it to the next level.

9

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PostPosted: Wed Aug 16, 2017 8:29 pm 
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Yukon Yelena

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A dystopian game set in the near future that is narrated through the character's interaction with a smart device.

Overall I enjoyed this game, I thought interacting with the device was a clever method for advancing the story.

It is a little bit disheartening to see these sorts of devices taking more and more of a hold on society, not because of the broader implications that this game focused on, but because it must mean that I'm now old-fashioned since I just prefer using google's basic services, I like to just type something in to a search engine or reading emails from a screen...that being said, the game is helping to introduce new technology to IF which is a huge positive. While I am heavily biased towards parser games in my preferences, there are lots of twine style games that I've enjoyed just as much and the greater the diversity of options that are available to create or consume IF the better.

Where the game fell apart for me a bit was in how up front and open the writing was regarding the situation. It pretty much told you to go pound sand and we're reporting this to the thought police within a few actions. I would much rather have liked to have seen this alluded to subtly throughout the intro, something to build suspense. The best way to convince a population or individual to work against their own interests is to convince them that it's in their best interest, that it's super cool and trendy, that's it's for your own safety, appealing to either hubris or some base emotion.

I would also like to see the device do additional meaningful things on top of news and messaging, hopefully this will get expounded upon in the completed version which I'd like to play.

7

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PostPosted: Thu Aug 17, 2017 9:19 am 
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Well, that's all I've got. Thank you to everyone who entered, I really enjoyed all of your games and I hope you go on to achieve great things in the IF community, I'm also looking forward to seeing how your games evolve through completion. Please let me know what you thought about my reviews.


My plan this year for the IFComp is to start up a topic and select one game to judge and review; then each following game to be judged and reviewed will be selected by any forum member by typing their selection in as a response. I'm doing this because I think I may only have time to play and review 15-20 games or so in the allotted judging period this year. I am also doing this because I think it would be interesting to turn my IF reviews into a sort of interactive fiction experience themselves. I would really appreciate it if I had one volunteer that could pick each subsequent game directly following my completion of a review for the entire judging period. If you are willing to select the games I review for this year's IFComp please respond in this topic. Thank you.

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