The Initial State
Rather over-wrought. "Life is woe and darkness and teh sad." Other than that, seems competently coded.
At least "Initial State" had attitude, however maudlin it might have been! Hello pile of words.
A Broken Man
"The piano squats evilly in the corner"
The writing was pedestrian at best, but the idea was cute and the coding passable. I just wonder why I died unexpectedly and for no reason when I entered the upstairs hallway after luring John into the bathroom.
Enter the Dark
This game is clearly incomplete, with people and objects poorly implemented. Why can I not examine characters? I have no reason to kill the crow unless I know it's got the gold ring, and I don't know that if I can't examine it. Where are the various puzzles mentioned in the initial section of the walkthrough? Why can I unlock the padlock and escape while I'm tied up, but not do anything else? Also, the randomised fighting is annoying. I give it a 2 for now, and only because I've seen worse.
Cool story. I enjoyed the ending. My complaints are this: First, the door into the cellar, supposedly the final puzzle, doesn't actually block me from passing through into the grand denouement. Second, there's something about the map I don't like ... the unused rooms, I guess: the map on the whole could be tighter, especially since so much depends on holding the player's interest. But yeah, not a bad story.
That was freaky. Basically CYOA in the end ... but captivating. I only wish there was more indication of what the Absolute Truth of the story was: there seemed to be a certain lack of internal coherence.
Oh, very nice mystery story, though the end struck me as a bit off. The auto-complete was left on, which was momentarily annoying, but at least it could be turned off, and then I forgot all about it.
An enjoyable romp. Puzzles were simple, writing was first-rate. Could stand a bit more meat, I think, but otherwise very good.
Aunts and Butlers
I like the sense of humour, and it is rather impressive what has been done with the web interface. Nice job, considering the media, but I don't think it really stands up too well against other games.
That was ... stupid. Still, not offensive enough for a 1. Almost, but not quite.
A few mistakes in the writing, but otherwise a good story.
Another Goddamn Escape the Locked Room Game
Read the author's mind! Why did I swallow all that aspirin? Why did I cut off my hand? Still, competently coded, I guess.
Enh. I didn't like the attitude. I'm sure that, artistically speaking, the structure is very clever, but I didn't like it: it felt rather bereft of any satisfactory conclusion. Also, I found the implementation to be rather bare.
MANALIVE, A Mystery of Madness - I
So much gaudy fabric, barely stitched together over the props. Implementation needs to be more in-depth and complete, though the game doesn't seem to allow for much wandering off in the wrong direction. Unfortunately.
I don't have the energy to plough through this. I'm sure it's very good and a cut about Mr Panks' last adventure, the one with the drunken narrator that was so annoying, but ... nothing gets me here or keeps my interest. That's the problem with Mr Panks' chosen format: it's bare, with little in the way of immersion. I have no idea who I am or why I should care or even what I should be doing, other than some vague idea of slaying the Great MacGuffin. I'm not rating this unless I decide at the end to give it another go.
The Primrose Path
Very very nice. The storyline can get a little complicated, and unfortunately the game seems to lose track of its many many threads in one or two places. It is possible to obtain the optima(?) solution, for example, without ever finding the glass key, while the text obviously acts as though you've found it after all; and then, for some odd reason, I (or "you", rather) can give Leo's grandfather the ankh while it is not in your possession. The bit where Irene recognises that Matilda is being moved by the commands of the player goes unexplained; I'm not sure if this was bad or good yet, though it is a rather interesting point and made me smile.
Mathematical logic puzzles -- I was tripped up because I was told once that 1 wasn't a proper square number; also, I decoded the message without ever figuring out that there was a keyword to it, and wondered what scent the message meant. Clever, I guess, but it doesn't grab me. Also, I can take the locked door and carry it around.
The Apolcalypse Clock
It would be nice if exits were mentioned in some of the text; in particular, the huge metal door that's supposed to bar my progress. Also, going east from the tunnel somehow deposits me back in the tunnel rather than in the living room as promised. Buggy. I can "unlock" the metal door without turning on the PC, but then I still keep being told that the door is locked, and now I can't turn the PC on.
...BLOODY ... There's a towel? In the first room? Completely unmentioned and unclued (at least in "Primrose Path" we were told by Leo that the ring was there, even if the description refused to admit to its presence until goaded properly -- and there was a reason for that omission.) and "get all" doesn't pick it up either? How are we supposed to know that it's there? Next!
Madam Spider's Web
Not bad. Competently put together, and no bugs (of the programming variety) that I noticed. The map was simple and easy to grasp, which I appreciate.
Awful. A gimmick game with barely any implementation.
Interesting and clever, but the idea asks for greater cleverness -- a unifying endstory with more integrity, and perhaps even more options as to how to deal with each NPC. Points for cleverness, still.
Couldn't run it.
The PC's attitude was interesting; at least he felt somewhat real. The rest of the game was a little on the unfleshed side. I would have like to have known a little more about the alien occupation alluded to in the opening.
I'm not really sure how different this is from the original Wumpus. With modernity, one would have thought one would be able to perform various actions to determine the location of the various dangers relative to oneself.
MANALIVE, A Mystery of Madness - II
Whatever I said about Man Alive I, the same, except in this case there was a good deal less scope for action. In MA1 I could move around outside of the prescribed course of actions, but there was nothing to catch me wherever I fell; here, I did not have even that illusion of freedom....
Couldn't play it.
I really wish Emily had entered this under a pseudonym. Like it or not, her reputation intimidates. Well, what can I say? It's Emily Short. I think I did notice a typo or something of the sort near the beginning, but that's about it. I like the multiple endings. In the end, this is a very beautifully dressed, perfectly coded question, turning on a single choice at end-game.
The Tower of the Elephant
Not bad. Competently coded, no bugs. Negotiating the conversation maze with the idol/monster was a bit odd, though.
Very good story. Design broke in a couple of places, most notably when the game didn't account for the player not putting on the locket at all. The game and story only makes sense if one finds the locket early on, and puts it on; otherwise, it becomes rather aimless, and key pieces of knowledge appear in the text unexplained.
Is that all there is?
Xen: The Hunt
It could have been better. There were bugs which required me to restart the game and choose a different path, though I'm not entirely clear how the bugs happen. I know that the first few times I got into my dorm, I earned 10 points for sneaking in; then, having botched things, I did exactly the same stuff, but didn't get the points -- and then the cop was still there much much later when I came back and Max supposedly had him reassigned elsewhere. Also, the structure seemed a little too much of a single track, despite a few options in the beginning. I think the prequel was better as a story.
Unimpressive. I very much dislike IF with real-time elements -- one is limited by the speed of one's typing.
The Elysium Enigma
This ... really really didn't grab me. Which is a pity, because it looks competent and well-written. I think I shall not be rating it unless I come back much later.
The Bible Retold
Adapting the gospel is always a tricky issue. People will want a certain degree of reverence. I, for one, wonder what this adaptation adds. Anyway, religion aside ... a couple of bugs (try asking Jacob anything) and one or two typos; nothing serious there. On the whole, though, I can only say "meh".
That was obscure. Unfortunately I don't think it's hiding very much substance, really, and it leaves so much unanswered.
Very very nice. I'm not too keen on science-fiction, but I can tell this is quality. I like the thought behind the alien creature -- expressing it as truly alien as opposed to the sort of flesh-and-bone creatures one normally expects, along with a nicely alien mindset. The interface worked well. There were a couple of bugs, unfortunately, but otherwise, a very good game.
The Traveling Swordsman
Nice. The ending is cute. The hero's deafness is subtly alluded to, and I remember noting that the text seemed very much lacking in the sound department. At first, though, that just made the text feel sparse.... So, I guess this is one of the higher-raters.
A one-puzzle game, but it was an intriguing puzzle, and well worth the thought.
Fight or Flight
I appreciate the ambition and the design; I liked the characterisations and the interactions before the discovery of the first body. Unfortunately, the implementation was a bit buggy. This could have been much, much better.
A bunch of rooms strung together ... very boring.
What a disaster. For a game called "Pathfinder", it's seriously lax in clueing the player in on the available exits. Then comes the bit where you get beat up if the driver returns and finds you still "there" ... and by "there", I mean anywhere within two city blocks of his return location, though how he'd know, I have no idea. Also, the murder pretext was lame.
Carmen Devine: Supernatural Troubleshooter
Not bad. A bit of oddness when one howls in the wrong place, but otherwise not a bad story. Feels oddly truncated, though, as if it should have more meat to it.
Lawn of Love
I'm not touching this one with an eleven-foot pole.