Brass Lantern
the adventure game web site


Papillon's Reviews

by Papillon

Posted 16 November 2004 to

My giant comp post comes with three sections—the playnotes, the actual review, and the score. Playnotes are probably of most use to the author of the game, since they will include most of the problems I encountered, are full of spoilers, and make no sense if you haven't played the game yourself. Therefore, these notes have been ROT13'ed. Decode at your own risk.

My scoring:

Cleanliness—Are there actually bugs? Can the author spell?
Completeness—How well-implemented is it? Are reasonable things where they should be? Does the game world make sense?
Coolness—Did I like it?
Bonus—Extra stuff done well.

I therefore skew higher than some people, because I count a significant amount of base points for simply having reasonably coherent English. There have, after all, been games that did not meet this mark.

Die Vollkommene Masse

Purpxvat vageb... uez, fynirel, encr, srznyr CP, guvf fbhaqf yvxr n tnzr *V*
jbhyq jevgr! Rkprcg sbe gur qebj cneg. V trarenyyl qba'g jevgr nobhg qebj.
Gheavat ba ireobfr vf erpbzzraqrq? Gura jul qvqa'g lbh znxr vg qrsnhyg? :)
"bar bs lbh pncgbef"
Vasbezngvba vf cerfragrq va n fyvtugyl njxjneq jnl.
'cbvagyrff vgrzf'? Ubj irel abaqrfpevcg.
'qrpbhe' qrpbe
"lbh syvc gur pybnx bire gb vairfgvtngr." V jnf npghnyyl jrnevat gur ebor ng
guvf gvzr.
Ybgf bs fcryyvat zvfgnxrf, V'yy fgbc abgvat gurz.
Jbhyq unir orra avpr vs gur ebbz unq vaqvpngrq juvpu rkvg jnf BHG bs gur

>pyvzo obbxfurys
Gur vfa'g vzcbegnag.

Naq nsgre gur qrfpevcgvba unq fhttrfgrq pyvzovat...

V'z pneelvat n gnyybj pnaqyr. V frr n puhepu pnaqyr. Jurer vf gur grnyvtug
bar pbzvat sebz?
V jbhyq rkcrpg gb hfr bar pnaqyr gb yvtug gur bgure ohg gur ireof nera'g
orvat gnxra.
*purpxf jnyxguebhtu* Bu, fb V unir gb fgrny gur yvg pnaqyr vafgrnq?
Zntvp onpxcnpx, ohg ab zntvp vairagbel whttyvat.
"Eryvrs jnfurf bire lbhe obql nf lbh fgrc vagb guvf ebbz; guvf unyy vfa'g nf
pbyq nf lbh rkcrpgrq vg gb or." Ohg V whfg pnzr sebz n irel jnez ebbz....
"Qvr Gbyyxvefpur" - Zragvbarq va gur pngnybthr qrfpevcgvba ohg pna'g or
glcrq va?
Jul qbrf "ureony thvqr" abg jbex nf n flabalz?

Fvtu. Ybfvat vagrerfg. Ab vqrn jung zl tbnyf ner, qba'g haqrefgnaq zl
punenpgre be zl pncgbef, naq whfg frrz gb or zbivat nebhaq ng enaqbz. Zbivat
gb jnyxguebhtu abj.

>nggnpu cnagvrf gb qbyy
Juvpu cnagvrf qb lbh zrna, gur oen naq cnagvrf, be gur cnve bs qbyy cnagvrf?

>nggnpu qbyy cnagvrf gb qbyy
Gurer'f ab boivbhf jnl gb qb gung.

Lrf, sbyxf, qrfcvgr gur nhgube'f fjrnevat bgurejvfr, gur pbzznaqf va gur
jnyxguebhtu QB ABG JBEX!


Actual Review -

The intro doc says I have been sold to my enemies, assumably as a sex slave. And that one of them offers me my freedom, for a price. Okay, that sounded like an interesting scenario, especially for me, who as we all know is A Bit That Way.

Then I loaded the game.

The intro in the game makes much less sense. I'm a captive... with my jewelry untouched and my own room where I have sat, not bothering to even look in the drawers, for five days, and no one has come in to bother me? And instead of "offering me my freedom for a price" the intro now says something vague about "be charming to everyone". I now completely don't understand my character's motivations, or my captors' motivations. Heck, why even bother trying to become free? I seem to have a pretty cushy setup right here.

So I wandered around poking at things at random, exploring the tower and doing the only thing that seemed interesting; collecting doll clothes. Until I found myself unable to use the doll clothes, even with the commands listed in the walkthrough. This displeased me.

What this author most needs is to team up with me on the plot. Or, at least, with someone, but with me if she wants to play with the pervier implications of this setting. :) There is an idea here somewhere but it's very undeveloped. It feels like a story outline, with the story missing. Someone else to look at that outline and go 'Okay, so what happens if I do THIS?'. And some work on character motivations, which seem very murky. The coding is mostly fine. It's just not quite working as a story right now.

For instance, there's the old line they feed you at school—Show me, don't tell me! Why didn't we start with the character being thrown into her room, freshly captured? Then we would have gotten some interaction with the NPCs to start the game, would be directly given the lines about how to earn our freedom (much more moving that way) and wouldn't have the silliness about sitting in our room for five days. This would have made such a huge difference.

Addendum—This game has been withdrawn, probably because of the bug, so I haven't calculated the official score.

Cleanliness—Bug as mentioned above. Lots of spelling problems.
Completeness—Despite sparse text, nouns mentioned are usually examinable, and even some unusual verbs have been implemented ('touch emerald'). However, the game world still feels too unreal.
Coolness—My initial interest in the stated subject faded quickly away to boredom

Kurusu City

Sebz frk gb navzr? Jung bqq yhpx V unir.
Jbb. V fghpx zl svatref va gur cnvag. Cynlre vf abj jnivat ure unaqf nebhaq
tbvat "Ojnnnnnvvvaf".
Engf, V pna'g jnfu vg bss? Jung xvaq bs onguebbz vf guvf? (Bgure guna bar
jurer 'fvax' vf nccneragyl znccrq gb 'gbvyrg')
Lbh xabj, V ernyyl fubhyqa'g qevax bhg bs zl unaqf jura gurl'er pbirerq va
Bu, gurer jnf npghnyyl n *cbvag* gb gung cnvag fghss. Cvgl. V whfg gubhtug
vg jnf shaal. :)
Uez. Nz V tnl?
Bxnl, V npuvrirq zl svefg bowrpgvir. Abj jung? (purpxf uvagf) Uez. Gurl qrny
jvgu vaqvivqhny ceboyrzf, abg trareny "jurer qb V tb abj" fghss.

>gryy jbzna nobhg fnqvr
"V fnj Fnqvr va gur ubfcvgny," lbh gryy Naarggr.

"V fvapreryl qbhog gung," Naarggr zhggref.

... Fur unf n anzr? Fur'f whfg "gur zlfgrevbhf jbzna" va bgure grkgf V'ir
qbar jvgu ure.

Purpxf uvagf nobhg gnyxvat gb ure. Uvagf qba'g uryc.

Qernz znpuvar qbrf abguvat ohg zhzoyr jbeqf V pna'g urne.

Pbagvahr jnaqrevat enaqbzyl nf V unir ab vqrn jung V'z qbvat.

V'ir abj znantrq gb qvr naq nz pbzcyrgryl pbashfrq. V jnag gb yvxr guvf
tnzr, ohg V qba'g haqrefgnaq jung'f tbvat ba jryy rabhtu naq gur uvagf ner
ABG urycvat. Ernyyl jnag gb cynl. Cebonoyl tbvat gb rznvy nhgube sbe
jnyxguebhtu abj. (V qvq, ohg gura V arire tbg onpx gb cynlvat vg!)

Actual Review -

Perky anime schoolgirl sets out to save the world by overthrowing the robot oppressors! Stays light-hearted and never bogs the player down in the background, which is good and bad... Sometimes I would have liked to know more about the world I was in. But mostly that probably would have detracted from the tone. Unfortunately, I lost my way quickly in not having any idea how to move towards my Big Goal, and getting arrested a lot.

I like the game. For a first game, it's seriously impressive. Non-boring plot and good coding/spelling. Fun and interesting details that keep me hooked and wanting to hear more. The author has put lots of work into it, and has probably played many other games. What it lacks is something more subtle than the typical problems relating to programming and implementation... It lacks the directional cues that guide the player from objective to objective. I didn't know what to do next, and the hint file only dealt with specific puzzles (and didn't even solve them!) not with general where-next questions. Guessing what will be hard for someone to guess is a tricky skill (And I'm certainly no master). But... (some spoilers)

Take the key, for instance. The hints, for once, are suggestive enough that I could easily figure out what to do from reading them. But how am I supposed to guess, in-game, that the key is inside a room that I can't get to? And why would I send someone else to fetch it from there when I don't know that it is there? This could have been very easily suggested by mentioning who HAS the key when I first try to unlock the object. After all, my character should know that. Then there would just be the puzzle of "How do I get the key without asking for it directly?" which would make much more sense.

(end spoilers)

So there's my review. Great game. Needs better cluing.

Oh, yeah, and I really hope those choices of colors are supposed to be disturbing. :)

Cleanliness—No bugs that I know of. Spelling is good.
Completeness—Rooms are well described (Oh, the painful colors!) and the world feels fleshed out but a lot of objects come up as not-important or otherwise not described, even if they have verbs implemented on them. Some lack of state-checking with things like the drinking or Annette's name.
Coolness—Totally cool, if I could figure it out. Going to have to nick points here for the problems with direction, though.
Bonus—Hint files that take seven lines to give only a vague hint that common sense provided many turns ago are not helpful. Nil points.

Score: 8.6

A Light's Tale

Nu, UGZY-raunaprq.
Fgenatr aneengbe ibvpr. ?!?!?!?!
Gevrq gb oernx gur tynff. Qvqa'g rkcrpg vg gb jbex.
Vf ur ernyyl n zbhfr?
>tvir yvtug gb trbetr
Gur ovt, ynetr engure zhfphyne zbhfr jub ybbxf gb or n cerggl tbbq zrpunavp,
sbe gur evtug cevpr erwrpgf gur bssre. 
Gung'f abg hfhnyyl ubj 'qbja' jbexf.
Terng, *nabgure* oebxra jnyxguebhtu! Be engure, gur uvagf, juvpu unf gur
thl'f anzr jebat. Naq V fgvyy qba'g haqrefgnaq nal bs gung rkcynangvba nobhg
uvz orvat vagrerfgrq va tbcuref; ur jnfa'g jura V gnyxrq gb uvz. 
Naq qrfcvgr univat vg 'svkrq' vg fgvyy fnlf vg qbrf abg unir gur cbjre gb
fuvar. Nz V qbbzrq be jung?
Nu, nccneragyl gung zrffntr ZRNAF ABGUVAT. Orpnhfr vg jbexf. Fbzrgvzrf. Jura
vg srryf yvxr vg.
... cynlf n ovg zber...
Fvtu. Rira jvgu n jnyxguebhtu, V nz gubebhtuyl qvfvagrerfgrq va pbzcyrgvat
guvf tnzr.

Actual review—A plot that makes little sense but apparently had something to do with rodents and shiny lights. Maybe it all came together to a really funny twist at the end. I don't know, because I lacked the interest to continue, even with a walkthrough. I just couldn't figure out what the point was, and it didn't intrigue me enough to find out. Definitely did not care for the writing style here.

Cleanliness—Uh... The text is STRANGE and presentation of dialogue is really uneven. Also, at least one typo.
Completeness—Many very logical verbs and constructions fail to do anything - shine light at darkness is a big one.
Coolness—WTF? The narrator's bizarre rambling was offputting, the actions seem nonsensical, and I quit out of boredom.
Bonus—Both hints and walkthrough. However, the hints were slightly broken. Would have gotten bonus points for good use of HTML if the colors had brightened and darkened as the lights turned on and off, but this didn't happen.

Score: 5.6


Purpxvat ernqzr.gkg - Vagrerfgvat vqrn. ACPf jvgu gurve bja ntraqnf. V'z n
ovg areibhf ng gur vqrn bs pbzong, gubhtu.
Gur perqvgf va gur ernqzr qvq abg zragvba evccvat bss pbzznaq jbeqf sebz
Sheavgher - ab qrfpevcgvbaf. Ab qrfpevcgvba sbe zr, rvgure.
Pna'g gryy gur zntrf nobhg gur bgure zntrf? Ubj nz V fhccbfrq gb cynl gurz
ntnvafg rnpu bgure, gura?
Guvf vf n ernyyl uneq pbaprcg gb vzcyrzrag, naq vg'f onfvpnyyl nyernql
fperjrq hc. Gur punenpgref ner fubhgvat gurve zbgvirf ng zr, ohg abg npgvat
>ybbx guebhtu gryrfpbcr
Lbh pna'g frr nalguvat guebhtu gur gryrfpbcr. 
(va yvoenel)
>k obbxf
V qba'g frr nal obbxf urer.
Frireny zvabe glcbrf.
Guvf ybbxf yvxr gbb zhpu jbex. Fnqyl, V guvax guvf fbeg bs tnzr ernyyl arrqf
n tencuvpny frggvat vafgrnq bs n cher grkg bar. Vg vf gbb uneq gb trg
vaibyirq jvgu vg va guvf cerfragngvba. V znl pbzr onpx naq cynl zber yngre,
ohg sbe abj... zbivat ba.

Actual review—A battle between mystical forces! Very promising idea involving dealing with multiple NPCs. However, way too promising. Almost no way it could live up to the idea, probably, and it didn't. I personally lack the motivation to struggle through it in its current condition. I actually think this would work a lot better as a graphical game than an I-F. Of course, Varicella managed... but then, I never finished Varicella, and would have had an easier time with it if it were graphical. I had trouble visualising the setting and putting all the information together.

Reading my notes makes me want to go back to it, but I fear I will quickly be overwhelmed again. And I especially don't want to have to go fight monsters.

Going to pass on officially scoring it because I didn't play much of it.

Cleanliness—Haven't seen bugs, but haven't tried much either. Some minor text slips.
Completeness—Lots of nondescript objects. Unbelievable NPCs.
Coolness—Interested in the idea, but not in the way it's done here.
Bonus—Oooh, HTML state-change! Pity using my light spell doesn't flip it.

PTBAD 3—A Mystery

Hz, arvgure gur sbyqre abe gur tnzr vgfrys vf npghnyyl gryyvat zr gur anzr
bs gur tnzr be jub jebgr vg. Nf fbzrbar jub qbrfa'g hfr pbzcK.m5 zhpu, guvf
vf haurycshy. Purpxf pbzc. *Fgvyy* qba'g haqrefgnaq tnzr gvgyr, ohg ng yrnfg
V xabj gur bssvpvny irefvba abj. Abg vzcerffrq ol gur pbzc oyheo rvgure.

Pna'g fcryy. Pna'g pncvgnyvfr rvgure. Ab frys qrfpevcgvba.

Jryy, orvat noyr gb rng zl bja rlr vf jbegu n cbvag.

Bxnl, V fperjrq nebhaq sbe n srj zvahgrf. V unir ab vqrn jul. 

Actual Review -

I have no idea what the point of that was. Just some random stuff. I guess it was ALL A DREAM.

Cleanliness—I found no actual bugs. I did find typing errors and laziness.
Completeness—Empty confusing world and lots of nondescript stuff.
Coolness—I ate my own eye.

Score: 2

The Realm

Bxnl, abg gbb zhpu vasb gb fgneg jvgu. Ybbxf yvxr jr ner va n snagnfl ernyz.
'n fubrf' 'n gebhfref' 'qrivfuyl unaqfbzr, jryy zhfpyrq, fdhver' (Fcryyvat
naq tenzzne obgu va bar cuenfr!)
Jul vf gur xvat anzrq Tregehqr?
>ybbx va vg
Vg'f pybfrq.

>bcra vg
Lbh crrx vafvqr gur zbarl cbhpu; hasbeghangryl pbhagvat jnf arire lbhe
fgebat cbvag, fb lbh'er hafher nf gb ubj zhpu zbarl lbh unir.

>ybbx va vg
Vg'f pybfrq.

Jul vf n qbbe gb n pbzzba nern ybpxrq? Vf vg orpnhfr V'z abg n xavtug? Jbhyq
or avpr vs vg fnvq fb, gura.
Irel fcnefr qrfpevcgvbaf.
Bxnl, V yvxr gur unys-qrns nezbere'f erfcbafrf gb zl dhrfgvbaf, naq gur snpg
gung vg gnxrf gur fcryyvat 'nezbe'.
... Jul qb guvatf V yvxr nyjnlf ghea bhg gb or cnegf bs chmmyrf? :) Bu jryy,
ng yrnfg V xarj jung gb qb.
Fubhyqa'g uvggvat gur qhzzvrf envfr zl fxvyyf be fbzrguvat?
(purpxf jnyxguebhtu) Jul jbhyq n png jnag gung? Lrf, V xabj vg'f pyhrq, ohg
vg qbrfa'g znxr *frafr*.
(ernqvat jnyxguebhtu) Bu, V *yvxr* gur nygreangr fbyhgvba gb gur nezbere. V
hfrq gur gehzcrg. :)
(purpxf jnyxguebhtu) ... jul jbhyq n unzfgre jnag gung? Jryy, gur qrfp unf n
zvabe pyhr, V fhccbfr.
Bxnl, gung raqvat jnf ernyyl cbvagyrff. V'z tbvat gb ubcr gung gur crefba
znxvat guvf tnzr ena bhg bs gvzr naq gung'f jung jrag jebat urer. Gurer jrer
fbzr nzhfrzragf... fbeg bs...

Review—Started out like a clever jokey fantasy game and apparently ran out of steam halfway through. Amusing for a few minutes worth but nothing more than that. I charitably assume that the writer ran out of time and never got to finish his idea.

Cleanliness—Encountered no bugs. Some grammar and spelling issues.
Completeness—Sparse descriptions, but some interesting items not directly needed.
Coolness—I played through, but I felt pretty cheated after leaving the castle.
Bonus—Walkthrough, but no extras.

Score: 6.6

Redeye, by John Pitchers

Nggragvba-trggvat pbybe frggvatf! Bxnl, jung'f unccravat?
*oyvax* Re... Vagrerfgvat pubvpr bs jbeqf gurer, zngrl. (Lbh qb xabj gung
jba'g genafyngr pbeerpgyl gb na Nzrevpna?)
Jneavat, pbagnvaf onq ynathntr. Ovg YNGR sbe gung!
Rj, abj n srj gbb znal pbybef. Vf guvf fhccbfrq gb fvtavsl zl va-punenpgre
Hu... V pna'g frr gur grkg V'z glcvat. Gung vf abg n irel urycshy srngher.
Ab frys qrfpevcgvba.
Neguhe qbrf abg erfcbaq gb uvf ont orvat guebja ng uvz, tvira gb uvz,
zragvbarq gb uvz. Be uryybrq. Be xvyyrq.

>k pebjq
V qba'g xabj gur jbeq "pebjq".

Gurer xrrc orvat n ybg bs vagrezrqvngr ybpngvbaf pbashfvat qverpgvbaf.
V'z engure gverq bs urnevat "Lbh'yy unir gb bcra gur qbbe svefg."

>k tenssvgv
Vg ernqf "KLMML" 
V qba'g xabj gur jbeq "klmml".

... fb gur bayl jnl gb cebprrq va gur tnzr vf gb qb fbzrguvat pbzcyrgryl
fghcvq? Pbzr BA. (Nyfb, V unq qebccrq gur onpxcnpx.)

Lrf, V unir gur nggragvba fcna bs n fznyy puvyq. Ohg guvf whfg vfa'g sha.
V'z orvat envyebnqrq naq chavfurq sbe vg. V dhvg.

Review -

Okay, imagine you're in a game. And there's a bird's nest with an egg in it perched on the far branch of a tree standing on the edge of a cliff. And you desperately need that egg. So you build a tower of objects and climb up them to stretch out and try to grab the egg. And at this point the wobbly tower collapses and you fall off the cliff into the next section of the game, with a feeling of comedic frustration. Why can't your plans ever work out?

Now imagine the same scenario, except you have absolutely no reason to want the bird's egg. Or there's no egg at all, and you're just building a tower of objects and climbing on them because there is NOTHING ELSE IN THE GAME TO DO. And then the tower collapses. Do you feel comedic frustration? No. You feel annoyed, because the game forced you to do something ridiculous and then punished you for it.

That's about how I felt here. All logical moves were denied me. The only way to proceed was to do something blatantly stupid, and then be punished for it. Also, the characters and the story were unlikeable, and the game's use of colors was painful and annoying. Even with a walkthrough, I chose not to continue.

Cleanliness—'Morman'. Also the color settings prevent me from seeing my text as I type it, which is a serious problem for the playability of the game. Which is a pity because otherwise the text was good and I didn't see lots of bugs or anything, but that text thing really annoyed me.
Completeness—Massive amounts of things not implemented.
Coolness—Well, the prose is coherent, at least.
Bonus—I am not mean enough to take extra points off for the horrible, horrible colors.

Score: 4.6

Ruined Robots, by nanag_d

Tbbq hfr bs UGZY sbe gur uryc bs gur glcvat-punyyratrq?
Ab frys qrfpevcgvba.

Gurer vf nyfb n fznyy ubyr jurer gur jnyy wbvaf gur sybbe, ohg lbh pna'g trg
va vg be chg nalguvat va vg. 
>k ubyr
V qba'g xabj gur jbeq "ubyr". 

Gurer ner ebbzf gb gur Rnfg... 
Lbh pna'g tb gung jnl.

Nu, vg'f orpnhfr V'z va gur svercynpr. Juvpu gurer vf ab pyvpx gb rkvg. Guvf
vf abg urycvat gur glcvat-punyyratrq. :)

>k pbbxvrf
V qba'g xabj gur jbeq "pbbxvrf". 

Jr unir gur snvyvat bs "znxvat ab frafr" tbvat ba ntnva. Jung nz V qbvat?
Jul nz V qbvat vg? Jul ner gurfr fgenatr pbbxvrf ylvat nebhaq? Jung vf tbvat
ba? Zbivat gb jnyxguebhtu.... juvpu unf ab rkcynangvbaf.
"ebobg grnpu craqnag"??
Nz V ernyyl fb cvpxl? Vf zl qrfver gb xabj jul V nz cynlvat gur tnzr fb
hahfhny? Ab, V ernyyl qba'g srry pbzcryyrq gb fghzoyr nebhaq va gurfr tnzrf
jura V qba'g xabj jung'f tbvat ba. Rfcrpvnyyl jura V unir n fcenvarq jevfg.
Znlor fbzrbar jvyy gryy zr yngre vs vg unq n tbbq fgbel.

Review—I'm starting to sound like a quitter, because I keep getting not very far into these things. However, this is currently unplayable FOR ME, because it gives me no directions. I have no idea what I am doing or why. And the walkthrough doesn't enlighten me. It's a story with robots in it, but you could tell that from the title. Sadly, I learned nothing else in my playtime.

Cleanliness: Lack of a clickable exit from the fireplace might count as a bug.
Completeness: Failure of gameworld. Lack of obvious nouns.
Coolness: Well... It supposedly has robots in it... Robots are cool...
Bonus: An attempt at making a newbie-friendly HTML system.

Score: 6

Who Created That Monster?, by N. B. Horvath

Jryy, gung'f n punezvat gvgyr.
Bbbu, jr'er orvat gbcvpny, ner jr?
Nsgre n oevrs zbzrag bs cnavp ng abg xabjvat zl qrfgvangvba, V rknzvarq zl
orybatvatf naq svtherq bhg jung jnf tbvat ba. Lnl, *fbzrbar* haqrefgnaqf
... Jbj, xvyyvat greebevfgf fher vf rnfl.
Njj, svefg oht, nyzbfg. Rirel rzonffl yrnqf gb gur fnzr onfrzrag. V zrna,
guvf vf fbeg bs pyrneyl vagragvbany, ohg jul jbhyq rirelbar unir gur fnzr
.... bu, bxnl, guvf ernyyl *vf* vagragvbany naq vzcbegnag. Snve rabhtu. :)
Url, gung greebevfg npghnyyl fubg zr!
Url, guvf jnf ernyyl sha!

Actual review—I am quite impressed that someone managed to take a touchy current political issue and turn it into a game that is 1) funny, 2) very well implemented, and 3) not TOO political. I am, of course, ridiculously suspicious as to the authorship. :) Play this game! You will have fun!

Cleanliness: No bugs found.
Completeness: I didn't try any really obscure commands, and the game docs indicated that unnecessary verbs had been removed. That's actually fine, because I never felt trapped by lack of words. (Okay, I did look around for an atm because I thought I would have to give money rather than use the word 'bribe'.) The game is just packed with little details and bits of information not strictly required to complete the game, but adding to its atmosphere. Have a spicy Iraqburger!
Coolness: I had a really great time.
Bonus: Both in-game hints and walkthrough.

Score: 10

Zero—A Santoonie game

Nyernql zl rkcrpgngvbaf ner ybj. Naq gurl'er abg tbvat hc zhpu nf V fgneg.
Ubjrire, gur sbeznggvat ybbxf avpr naq gur pbybe pubvpr vf zhpu zber
cyrnfnag guna gung bgure tnzr....
Ybgf bs grkg reebef, nygubhtu zl oenva whfg svygref gurz bhg.
Gb zl fhecevfr guvf npghnyyl nccrnef gb or n tnzr. Fbeg bs. Vg pregnvayl
orngf pbssrr dhrfg.

Actual review—Something about goblins. What? You expected more? From ME?

Not actually scoring it, though. Wouldn't be fair.

Cleanliness—No bugs found, comically garbled text.
Completeness—Hey, it had a good world, right?
Coolness—I like goblins. I don't like Santoonie.

Ninja v1.30, by Dunric

Svefg guvatf svefg: gur pyrnenapr bs cbffvoyr ovnf. Sbe gur erpbeq, V unir
arire gevrq gb cynl bar bs tnzrf, naq juvyr V znl guvax ur'f n ahggre, guvf
qbrfa'g zrna gung V jba'g gel uvf jbex. Vg znl zrna gung V jvyy dhvg dhvpxyl
vs vg qbrfa'g pngpu zl vagrerfg, ohg nalbar ernqvat zl erivrjf jub guvaxf
GUNG'F hahfhny vf abg ernqvat irel pybfryl.
... Orfvqrf, V yvxr avawnf.

?pyvzo fuevar
Lbh pnaabg qb gung.

Bbcf, abj V'z trggvat >20'f nyy gur gvzr.
Uez. Ybgf bs guvatf gb rknzvar. Vs bayl V qvqa'g unir gb glcr vg nyy gur
Orngra ol avawnf!
Zl fpber vf 22/13?
Gevrq n srj zber gvzrf, arire svtherq bhg jung jnf tbvat ba, arire tbg gung
uvtu n fpber, arire haqrefgbbq gur fpbevat. Bayl gung svefg gvzr qvq V
npghnyyl trg gb *svtug* gur rarzl avawn. Ohg zl uc ner fb ybj naq uvf fb
uvtu gung ur xvyyrq zr naljnl.

Actual review—Be alert, ninja! Stare at everything intently. Ponder the nature of the universe. Wonder how to become a master. Then die horribly. Return on the wheel of life to try again. It's all very zen, or something. Did anyone spend two hours on this?

Cleanliness—Horrible game system. Refusal to accept short forms of verbs IS a bug. I have hand injuries! Also, random >20 stuff.
Completeness—Examining everything was sort of entertaining. However, horrible game system, lack of meaningful response to reasonable attempts.
Coolness—I like ninjas. I didn't really hate this. The idea is cute, what I understood of it. In a different system this could be fun—for a few minutes.

Score: 3.6

Getting Back To Sleep, by IceDragon

Not played, due to the fact that the last time I tried installing the .Net framework to run a game, it a) still didn't work and b) screwed up my computer.

Murder at the Aero Club, by Penny

Bbu, n zlfgrel!
Ab frys-qrfpevcgvba.
... V abj erzrzore jul V nyjnlf yrna gb GNQF vafgrnq bs Vasbez. Jnag fpebyy
one! Rfcrpvnyyl jura sybhaqrevat ng gur ortvaavat bs n tnzr naq gelvat gb
svther bhg vs V'ir orra tvira nal qverpgvbaf. Univat gb fjvgpu gb n frcnengr
ivrj gb fpebyy naablf zr. Abg orvat noyr gb cebcreyl fryrpg grkg naablf zr.
Guvf vf abg gur tnzr'f snhyg. Ohg vs guvf vf fhccbfrq gb or n jvaqbjf
vagrecergre, jul vf vg fb jvaqbjf hasevraqyl?

Prpvy vf fvggvat ng n arneol gnoyr, ratebffrq va fbzr cncrejbex.
>k cncrejbex
Lbh pna'g frr nal fhpu guvat.

Ab bar erfcbaqf gb orvat nfxrq nobhg zheqre? 
(purpxf jnyxguebhtu)
V fubhyqa'g ernyyl unir gb fghzoyr bire gur obql vs gurl xabj fbzrbar'f
qrnq, fheryl fbzrbar fubhyq qverpg zr...

>rknzvar jbhaq
Lbh pna'g frr nal fhpu guvat.

... Phevbhf, jul ner nyy gurfr nfx-nobhg'f va gur jnyxguebhtu jura gurl
qba'g qb nalguvat? Be vf gung whfg orvat n urycshy jnyxguebhtu ol znxvat
fher lbh ernyvfr gur acpf ner ABG urycshy? (Nccneragyl. Tbbq!)
... bu, V unir gb ernq rnpu cbfgre frcnengryl? 
Lnl, n urycshy ACP!
... Craal qbrfa'g *xabj* gurer'f orra n zheqre? Jub pnyyrq gur qrgrpgvirf?
Bxnl, abj gung jr'er bire gung zvabe pbashfvat uheqyr nobhg gur onpxfgbel,
guvf tnzr vf fgnegvat gb pbzr gbtrgure. 
Gur pvtnerggrf ner fyvtugyl yrff pyhrq guna gur erfg bs vg (lbh unir ab
ernfba gb or cbxvat nebhaq va lbhe pne, naq tvivat gurz gb Unntra vf n ovg
nofgenpg nf lbh qba'g ernyyl unir nal ernfba gb fhfcrpg guvf jvyy or hfrshy
gb lbhe tbny) ohg nf gurer ner gjb fbyhgvbaf guvf vfa'g n ceboyrz.

Actual review—A fun little murder mystery, not very difficult but cute and amusing. There is some minor confusion at the beginning (no one but you appears to be aware that a murder has been committed, so who called the detective agency in the first place?) but once you figure out that the NPCs are supposed to be acting like that, it's all smooth sailing. Rather short, though.

Cleanliness—No bugs encountered. Good spelling.
Completeness—A few things missing that seemed reasonable, and the beginning of the game was a bit undirected.
Coolness—Good fun, once I got over the confusing part.
Bonus—A helpful walkthrough. Yay!

Score: 9

Bellclap, by Tommy Herbert

'k uvz' nsgre 'k lbh' fgvyy ersref gb gur lbh punenpgre.

>znxr yvtug
Juvpu qb lbh zrna, gur ornz bs yvtug be gur ornz bs yvtug?

>fgnaq ba nygne
Oryypync vf abj ba gur nygne.

>k nygne
Gurer vf abguvat ba gur nygne.

.... Ubj gur urpx jnf V fhccbfrq gb pbzr hc jvgu guvf fbyhgvba? Gurfr
pbzznaqf ner uvtuyl hahfhny! Gurfr npgvbaf ner abg ybtvpny!

Abj, V nqzvg V ybbxrq ng gur jnyxguebhtu, naq gurersber zvffrq bhg ba fbzr
bs gur shzoyvat nebhaq gung zvtug unir yrq zr gb guvf vqrn, ohg... Bu, gunax
tbbqarff, zhpu zber ybtvpny jbeqf QB jbex nf sne nf gur fgnghr-znxvat tbrf.

Znlor vs lbh sybhaqre nebhaq ybat rabhtu lbhe urycshy ibvpr fhttrfgf gur
oybbq fnpevsvpr? Vs gurer unq whfg orra NAL fhttrfgvba jura ybbxvat ng gur
nygne gung V jbhyq yvxr uvz gb znxr fnpevsvprf gb zr, rirelguvat jbhyq or
svar. Znlor vg'f orpnhfr V'z n avpr tvey naq trarenyyl guvax sybpxf ner sbe
ybbxvat nsgre, abg sbe fynhtugrevat. V frr ubj gur oybbq cebzcgf gur fgnghr.
V xabj jul gur yvtug vf hfrshy. V qba'g frr ubj gur oybbq vf cebzcgrq.

Gur jnyxguebhtu zragvbaf zhygvcyr zrgubqf bs fhvpvqr, ohg V frrz gb or noyr
gb vasyvpg na vasvavgr ahzore bs phgf juvyr fvggvat anxrq naq uhatel va gur
enva jvgubhg qlvat. Znlor vg whfg gnxrf zber gvzr guna V unir cngvrapr sbe. 

Actual review: Very short scene based around a high concept. You are a (strange) deity and you are trying to get one of your lost followers to safety. Full of lots of funny commands, but the solution to the problem doesn't appear to be very logical. If you enjoy poking at a confusing situation and trying bizarre commands until something finally works, this will probably be great for you. If you prefer to have some idea of what you are doing and why, you may feel a bit left out.

Cleanliness: Some minor ambiguation confusion.
Completeness: Very very good. Lots of alternate words and actions. (mmm, blood drinking)
Coolness: Too short and sort of confusing for my taste. Cool, but not WOW cool.
Bonus: Walkthrough, with some alternation. However, given the shortness of the game, hints would really have been preferable. The walkthrough not only spoils it, but makes it appear to make no sense.

Score: 8.3

Blink, by Ian Waddell

... Ng gur 'k zr' cbvag, V jnfa'g fher vs V jnf ure uhfonaq be ure fba. Fbzr
qrfpevcgvba zvtug unir orra avpr. Zl ntr pnzr gb zr fybjyl.

Un, gurer ur vf. "Pbzr ba, fcbeg, gvzr sbe qvaare!" Ur ybbxf ng lbh
qvfgnagyl naq zhggref "..Bxnl." Ur fgvyy fvgf gubhtu. "Tenaqcn, pna V nfx
lbh fbzrguvat?"

>gnyx gb qhapna
Lbh pna'g guvax bs nalguvat va cnegvphyne gb fnl.

"Fher, fcbeg. Nfx nalguvat."

"Jul vf gurer jne?"


>k rairybcr
Vg bhgyvarf ubj Uneel'f orra qensgrq gb svtug va Ivrganz.

>gnyx gb uneel
Jung jbhyq lbh yvxr gb fnl?

[1] Jung'f gur znggre?

Fryrpg na bcgvba be 0 gb fnl abguvat >> 1

"Ernq guvf!" Ur fnlf, naq unaqf lbh gur yrggre.

Vg'f n qensg abgvsvpngvba!

... gunax lbh, abg bayl jnf gung boivbhf nyernql, ohg V unq nyernql orra
znqr rkcyvpvgyl njner bs vg va gur grkg, gbb. :)
Vg'f sehfgengvat gb unir gb hc gjvpr gb trg zl gnyx-gb cebzcg ntnva.
Fubhyqa'g V fgnl va gur pbairefngvba zrah hagvy gur pbairefngvba raqf be V
pubbfr gb yrnir vg?
Jul qb V unir ab pubvpr gb gryy uvz ABG gb tb? Jung'f gur cbvag bs pubbfvat,

Ynpx bs ireof gb hfr ba gur obql.
Vagrerfgvat erfcbafr gb 'cenl' gubhtu.
Vg'f cbffvoyr gb raq gur tnzr jvgubhg univat rire frra gur obql, gbb. Nyfb,
V arire fnj Uneel be gur zrqny va gur shgher ba zl svefg srj cynlf. Vs ur
qvqa'g qvr, jul vf gur obql ylvat nebhaq naljnl?

Actual review—Not really a game. A piece about war. Didn't really work for me. I suppose I could go back and try different choices, as it claims there are multiple endings, but I don't feel like I was able to make the choices I wanted to the first time, so how is making even worse choices going to help? (tries, finds no difference) Doesn't really work out interactively as the player doesn't feel part of what's going on. We don't really get into the viewpoint-character's viewpoint, so his eventual upsetness has no relevance to us.

To get to where I think the author wanted us to get, either we needed to have been better manipulated (see the PC's pride in war, make it logical for us/him to promote it) or we needed to have some false choices where, Ramses-style, the PC explains that he can't say that to his son, and why. As it is, we come back to a point I made in a previous review—I am forced to promote war for no reason, and then punished for it. That's annoying.

I don't know what the point was, other than, I guess, war sucks.

Cleanliness—Talk fails to work in a very obvious place; you can avoid seeing the body which is probably a bug as far as the author's intentions go. At least one typing mistake.
Completeness—Lack of verbs in meaningful places. Lack of gameworld.
Coolness—I didn't like it. Unmoving, uninteresting.

Score: 4.6

Blue Chairs, by Chris Klimas

Jul n cqs svyr? N fvzcyr vzntr jbhyq unir orra rnfvre, ab? Naq jung qbrf vg
unir gb qb jvgu nalguvat?
Vagrerfgvat pbybe fcnggrevat.
Urrr, V pna'g glcr.
Jbj, n terng trrxl cnegl. (Bs pbhefr, crbcyr nf trrxl nf zr trarenyyl qba'g
TRG gb cnegvrf. Rkprcg bapr, naq gung vaibyirq crbcyr gbb fgbarq gb cynl
nalguvat bgure guna, bs pbhefr, Purm Trrx.)
bbcf, glcb - 'Vs bayl lbh unq unq gb sberfvtug'
Nfx thl nobhg obbx whfg ergheaf oynax yvarf.
... jnvg, jul nz V Ohfu abj?
"fvapr gur veba qbbef vf va gur jnl"
(zhpu cynlvat naq ybbxvat ng uvagf)
.... Jung qvq gur cqs svyr unir gb qb jvgu nalguvat?
(Gur ynaqvat ernyyl fubhyq unir unq n oebxra, hapyvzonoyr fgnvepnfr gb uvag
gur trggvat gb gur nggvp.)
V'z pbashfrq nobhg gur jnyxguebhtu'f ersrerapr gb n 'sbeghar', juvpu V arire
Ba ergel, ubj pbzr nfxvat gur tvey sbe n evqr evtug njnl trgf zr gur
oehfubss, naq 'Hu....' vat svefg trgf zr na bssre? Frrzf fgenatr.

Actual Review—A traditional IF game... traditional in the vein of symbolic, rambling games that are really all about a broken romantic relationship. Should that get its own genre? :) I have less to say about games that I whole-heartedly liked because I don't want to ruin anything for anyone else. But basically, if you've enjoyed the modern classics, you'll probably like this too. If the author is the author (We are all paranoid about authorship these years, aren't we?) I wonder how long this has been in development...

So, anyway, you start at a somewhat-geek-infused party, with a stranger in front of you cheerily saying "Here, drink this!" And from there, you stumble towards figuring out what you really want out of a dream.

Now, a point on something that I raised earlier. I have complained repeatedly about being forced to do stupid things and then punished for them. Therefore, does the beginning of the game annoy me? Well... NO! First of all, you're not forced into it. There is an explicit ending written for just not doing it in the first place (as opposed to having the choice to quit). Second, there is at least some motivation for going along with it, even if that motivation is boredom or curiosity. And third, you're not really punished, it's just pointed out that it's a strange thing to do.

Cleanliness: A few minor imperfections, not worth complaining about in a large game.
Completeness: Didn't try anything extreme, but little details were always around when needed (like the EZ-Bake oven) and the world was fine
Coolness: I dig this sort of thing... but I'll keep the vote away from perfection because it does have a slightly traditional feel, and I actually prefer something a little more unusual. It'll probably win anyway.
Bonus: Hints and walkthrough, which is good. Also, multiple endings! (Slightly sad that saying yes to the mystery girl wasn't one of them, though.)

Score: 9.3

Blue Sky, by Hans Fugal

Ab frys-qrfpevcgvba.
Cnzcuyrg fnlf vg pbagnvaf vasb, ohg V pna'g ernq vg?
Bxnl, V gubhtug V jnf ybbxvat sbe zl gbhe tebhc. Gurl jrera'g va gur cynmn,
fb jung nz V fhccbfrq gb qb abj? ... bu, gurl jrer va fbzr BGURE cneg bs gur
cynmn gung V qba'g xabj nobhg orpnhfr gur bayl qverpgvba V unir orra tvira
jnf 'tb fbhgu'.
Qrfpevcgvbaf xrrc fnlvat n ebnq tbrf fbzr qverpgvba naq gura gryyf zr V
pna'g tb gurer. Qverpgvbaf ner irel uneq gb znxr bhg sebz qrfpevcgvbaf. V
pbhyqa'g rira gryy gurer jnf na ragenapr gb gur Pngurqeny urer!
*fpnaf jnyxguebhtu* Bu, ubj avpr, V unir nccneragyl znantrq gb znxr gur tnzr
hajvaanoyr dhvgr rneyl ba. (unq gur yynzn gbb rneyl) Oyru.

Actual review—Another game that is extremely short if you know what you are supposed to do. Of course, how you would be expected to know that, I have no idea... Illogical and immoral actions! Finding your tour group does not give you a reason to steal! The only 'point' to this game, really, would be if everything were lushly and interestingly described so you could enjoy being a virtual tourist. Instead, it's amazingly sparse. And therefore boring.

Well, it could also have played up the comedy angle more, where you kept almost finding your group and then losing them in more and more ridiculous ways. It would need tighter scripting to keep this funny, though. Also, it would have to take into account logical things like, you know, waiting outside a location for them to come back out, which would be what I would do if I had lost my tour group and knew they were in Place X.

Cleanliness: Some typoes. Can apparently make game unwinnable without warning.
Completeness: Very sparse descriptions. No responses to many things. No self-description.
Coolness: Boring.
Bonus: Well... I appreciate the readthrough-walkthrough, because it saved me from playing the game to realise I couldn't win it. Not that starting over would take much time, of course.

Score: 3.6

All Things Devours, by half sick of shadows

... jryy, gung'f BAR jnl gb trg zr n zbgvir snfg!
Bxnl, gur qbbe pybfrf orsber V pna trg hc urer gb tb guebhtu vg. Fb fubhyq V
unir fbzrguvat gb ubyq vg qbja?
Uez, pna trg gb gur onfrzrag bx. V fhfcrpg gevpxrel urer.
Svefg ehaguebhtu - frg gur obzo, gurer jnf n ovt obbz. Bbcf. Gubhtug gurer
jbhyq or zber gb vg jura gur cebgbglcr jnf qrfpevorq gung jnl...
Jnvg. Frpbaq ehaguebhtu, whfg tbvat fbhgu, unq gur fnzr rssrpg. Qvq V unir
gb qb fbzrguvat ryfr gb frg gur obzo cebcreyl?
Nun, qvqa'g frg gur gvzre. Bxnl, gelvat gung abj.
Bxnl, V arrq gb svaq zl cncref. Frr? Frr? Guvf vf zr univat sha! Guvf vf zr
xabjvat zl zbgvingvbaf!
... Bs pbhefr, V'z abg fher jung gb qb abj. :)
(rknzvarf bayvar uryc) Abg chmmyr-fcrpvsvp. Fvtu. Gung'f abg fb hfrshy.
Jryy, gur zbfg boivbhf guvat gb qb arkg jnf gb zrff jvgu gur cebgbglcr, naq
gung frrzf gb or jung gurl fnl V fubhyq qb naljnl...
'gnxr/erzbir onggrel sebz synfuyvtug' snvyf gb jbex.
Bxnl, V trg gur trareny vqrn. Gur onggrel ovg vf cnegvphyneyl pyrire. V'z
fyvtugyl naablrq gung gurer vf ab erfcbafr gb gur vqrn bs gelvat gb ubyq
qbja gur ohggba, juvpu jbhyq fheryl bpphe gb znal crbcyr va guvf
fvghngvba... Vg qbrfa'g unir gb *jbex*, ohg vg jbhyq or avpr vs vg
npxabjyrqtrq zl nggrzcg.
Qvq V zragvba gung V xrcg senagvpnyyl fgnegvat bire gb znxr fher V jnf qbvat
guvatf nf dhvpxyl nf cbffvoyr va gur svefg ovg? :)
Qvq tb gb jnyxguebhtu, gubhtu.
Ubj jnf V fhccbfrq gb xabj jurer gur cncref jrer? V pna'g frr guebhtu gur

Actual review—An Abandoned Science Station game. Sort of. Well-motivated (since that's my biggest complaint this season) and with an interesting central puzzle. I'm not enough of a puzzle-twiddler to sit and play with this to its full potential, but I'm interested to see what the more tweak-minded did to it. A post-comp harder version is promised; probably a good one to watch out for if you haven't played it yet.

Cleanliness: Known bug with doors. Some other confusions with distinguishing unimportant doors. 4/5
Completeness: Problem—the equipment room doors are not mentioned in the room descriptions of the halls. This is confusing. Also, my complaint about the button. However, good world-building, and assumably lots of testing on silly time things. :) 4/5
Coolness: Pretty fun. 4/5

Score: 8

Escape from Auriga

This game was pulled before I got to it. Therefore I will skip.

Gamlet, by Tomasz Pudlo

... fb guvf vf fbzr xvaq bs Wrjvfu Unzyrg?
... jvgu n cbvfbarq gbvyrg?
V ernyyl qba'g xabj jung V guvax nobhg zl sngure'f tubfgyl argure ertvbaf.
Naq, bs pbhefr, gur evqvphybhf jevgvat fglyr.
... Fb jnf gurer n fghssrq navzny haqre gur orq be jnfa'g gurer? Vg frrzf gb
unir inavfurq, ohg V qba'g frrz gb unir vg.
... fb V pna'g ghea vg bss, gura? Ntnva, guvf jrveq jevgvat fglyr vf whfg
orvat pbashfvat. (Bj, zl jevfg vf npgvat hc.)
... ubj vf n pnepnff zbivat?
Jung nz V fhccbfrq gb chg ba zl urnq? V qba'g frr n ung... Ubjrire 'trg ung'
jbexrq naljnl. Tee.
Phg zlfrys? Jung'f n lnqh? Rira n jrofrnepu vfa'g nafjrevat gung. Abe ner
wrjvfu sevraqf.
Bbu, 'uvg zveebe jvgu cbxre' unf n avpr rssrpg.
Gung'f cynvayl genls! YBY! (Lrf, ubarfgyl.)
V guvax gur shegure V trg sebz gur unys-anxrq tubfg, gur zber sha V unir.
Znlor V'z whfg gbb tveyl.
... Tbvat sbe n purrfr njneq?
Fghpx va gur xvgpura. Nccrnyvat sbe nvq. (Znxvat guvf bayl gur frpbaq tnzr
va gur pbzc fb sne gung V unir *obgurerq* gb nfx sbe nffvfgnapr nsgre
trggvat fghpx, vafgrnq bs whfg dhvpxyl dhvggvat.)
Uvag abg irel urycshy... nu, zbivat punve ntnva. Fgvyy pna'g svther bhg vs
gur yvsg fvta va gur svercynpr vf vzcbegnag.
Ulqenhyvp, fgrnz, cvcrf oheoyvat... Jryy, vg *fbhaqf* yvxr guvf fubhyq znxr
gur funsg jbex, ohg V'z abg pregnva. Qb v unir gb jnvg? Ragrevat gur funsg
fgvyy qbrfa'g jbex.
Jung vf guvf puneg sbe?
(cbxrf sver) V'q sbetbggra gur jrveq guvatvr ba gur cbxre. Gurer'f gung anzr
ntnva. Ohg jung qb V qb jvgu vg?
V qba'g npghnyyl xrrc fgevpg genpx bs zl gvzr (vg'f hfhnyyl abg arprffnel)
fb abj V svaq zlfrys jbaqrevat ubj ybat V fubhyq xrrc cbxvat ng guvf. V pna
pyrneyl tvir vg n erivrj ol *zl* fgnaqneqf jvgubhg svavfuvat vg. Erivrjvat
(fznpxf urnq) Jryy, vg qbrfa'g uryc gung gur funcr bs gur pnaqyr vf, yvxr,
frireny yriryf bs rknzvar va, naq arire pnzr hc nyy gur gvzrf V gevrq gb
yvtug gur guvat...
V'z n yvggyr sveroht, nera'g V?
(purpxf zngu, svkrf ahzore, frgf qvny)
... naq abj V arrq ZBER yvtug?
Pyrneyl gurer jrer ab Oevgvfu orgn-grfgref - gur ireo 'jnax' qbrf abg
shapgvba. :)
Bxnl, hc gb gur yrqtr... naq ab vqrn jung abj. Jryy, jr'yy frr vs V rire trg
(Vagrerfgvat erfcbafr gb 'xvff zveebe'.)
(NPX! jebat QVFPERRG! Lbh'er yhpxl V unq nyernql tenqrq! Jnf abg unccl jvgu
gur raqvat, ohg V erivrjrq naq tenqrq orsber gung cbvag, fb V jvyy abg fnl

Actual review: The most important thing you need to know about this game is EXAMINE EVERYTHING. Every noun that shows up. Even if it would seem logical that there can't be a giant purple squid on the mantel or it would have been mentioned in the room description instead of only showing up after 'examine wall' mentioned a mantel and then led you to 'examine mantel', there can indeed be a giant purple squid lurking, and you will NEED to know about it. Examine frantically. Take notes. It's a tricky game, and you may need a little help from your friends, but you will get those happy achievement points from getting through it.

Cleanliness: Minor deduction for the confusing nature of the weird replies; I'm not always clear on what my character has or hasn't done. Otherwise, seems bugfree. 4.5/5
Completeness: Good world and replacement of library messages. Hasn't thought of everything ('poke oksana' and trying to use the bedsheets as a rope being the most obvious things I've tried) 4.75/5
Coolness: Quite cool and fun; minor deduction for my occasional discomfort with the opening. :) 4.5/5
Bonus: No bonus for the contextual hints, as they're rather hit-and-miss. But... it might rate a bonus point for motivating me.

Score: 9.1

Goose, Egg, Badger, by Brian Rapp

Bqq gvgyr. Ab nqqvgvbany svyrf.
Bu ab! Bhg bs purrfr reebe!
Bxnl, fb V jnyx sebz ebbz gb ebbz rapbhagrevat navznyf naq gelvat gb xvyy
gurz. Gung'f whfg zr.
Gurer'f fbzr navzny srrq. Gurer'f fbzr navznyf ebnzvat nebhaq. Jub ner gurl?
Jul ner gurl urer? JUL VF GURER AB ONPXTEBHAQ?
V thrff V nz fhccbfrq gb chg gur navznyf va gurve craf. V svaq guvf engure
obevat, ohg V'yy gel vg sbe n juvyr.
Veevgngvat vairagbel yvzvg.

>k ncr'f cra
Lbh svaq na vagrerfgvatyl-funcrq ebpx.

Gunax lbh sbe pbzcyrgryl snvyvat gb gryy zr juvpu cra vf juvpu qverpgvba.
V'z oberq.

Actual review: Oh, no! Animals have escaped from their pens! You must find them and bring them back! ... Didn't we have a game about chasing escaped horses just the other year? Anyway, I don't know what happens when you get them all back in their pens, because this was another game lacking in motivation. I thought my motivation was to track an intruder, but that thread seemed to vanish, or else I just didn't know how to pick it up again. I suppose the 'intruder' could have been just the rampaging animals. There may honestly have been a storyline here, there are hints that could build to one. But I am picky picky picky. These are my judging criteria and I stick by them!

Cleanliness: Really really annoying inventory limit (including not being able to eat the feed out of the scoop because of it).
Completeness: Lack of motivation. Not very descriptive locations. Unhelpful lack of directions.
Coolness: Very boring.
Bonus: The object-based hint is sort of a nice idea.

Score: 5.3

The Great Xavio, by Reese Warner

Grkg sybj abg dhvgr evtug. Gelvat gb or irel havirefvgl-snapl ohg zvffvat
fbzr fhogyr qrgnvyf.
"Lbh'q orra fbhaqyl fyrrcvat, pbzsbegnoyl, fbhaqyl fyrrcvat, jura Qe. Gbqq
"Vg'f rvtug fgbevrf bs fgvyy cerggl zhpu tyrnzvat juvgr zneoyr" 
"V fnj uvz guvf riravat cresbezvat, gung vf fcbhgvat uvf zlfgvpny
Whfg yvggyr zvfgnxrf, ohg V'z irel frafvgvir gb gung. (Fcbggvat zber
tenzzngvpny reebef nf jr tb; jvyy fgbc pbzzragvat ba gurz.)
Gbqq vf abg erfcbaqvat gb frafvoyr dhrfgvbaf. Guvf vf onq, orpnhfr ur vf zl
qryvirere bs zbgvingvba. Nf vg vf, V xabj ur jnagf zr gb qb fbzrguvat, ohg
ur jba'g gryy zr jung.
Gur jnyxguebhtu pbzznaq vf n cnegvphyneyl onq vqrn, orpnhfr vg qhzcf nyy gur
grkg vagb gur tnzr, sbepvat zr gb ernq vg nyy gb phg naq cnfgr vg gb n
frcnengr svyr jurer V pna gura ybbx ng bayl cnegf bs vg. Vs lbh jnag gb hfr
n onerobarf jnyxguebhtu, CYRNFR chg vg va n frcnengr svyr!
Snvyrq gb chg va fubegphgf sbe tbvat guebhtu qbbef.... jnvg, jul vf zl ebbz
xrl abg jbexvat sbe zl ebbz?? V fhccbfr V unir gb hfr gur fybg, va juvpu
pnfr gur reebe zrffntr fubhyq unir orra erpbasvtherq. Abg gb zragvba gung vg
vf n PNEQ xrl ohg 'pneq' qbrf abg nccyl gb vg.
Fb V unq gb pnershyyl haybpx zl bja qbbe, ohg gur snzbhf thl'f qbbe vf
pbzcyrgryl bcra?

>frnepu orq
Gurer vf abguvat ba gur (ZnfgreOrqebbzOrq).

Jryy, V'ir sbhaq fbzrguvat fhccbfrqyl vapevzvangvat. Ohg fvapr V qba'g xabj
rknpgyl jung zl zvffvba vf, V qba'g xabj jung ryfr V arrq gb qb.
*purpxf jnyxguebhtu*
JUL jbhyq V oernx vagb fbzrbar'f onguebbz? Gung znxrf ab frafr ng nyy. V'ir
cynpngrq zl nqivfbe, V fubhyq yrnir ABJ orsber V trg pnhtug ol gur crefba
jubfr ebbz V unir oebxra vagb.
V jvyy cbxr nebhaq n ovg zber naq nggrzcg gb ragre gur frpbaq orqebbz
qrfcvgr vg orvat vyybtvpny, ohg haqre cebgrfg. Nf rkcrpgrq, guvf tvirf zr
fbzr ernfba gb tb gb gur onguebbz. Ubjrire, gurer vf fgvyy ab ernfba gb unir
ragrerq guvf ebbz va gur svefg cynpr. Fb rau. Abg tbvat gb trg vaibyirq.
Nfxvat znk nobhg ebbz freivpr qbrfa'g jbex, naq cebzcgf gur perqvg pneq
erdhrfg rira vs vg'f nyernql orra qbar.

Actual Review: A game that really wants to be clever and likeable but doesn't quite have the chops. It's not bad, by any means. A little editing, a little restructuring, and it would score much higher. The things that bug me about it are mostly personal pet peeves. As it stands, it's a perfectly passable little mystery, amusing way to pass a bit of time. Grad student and insane professor versus the forces of illogic.

Cleanliness: Minor grammar errors made more apparent by the style's attempts at formality. Lack of good object aliasing. Lack of door shortcutting. Completeness: Occasionally murky motivations. Not enough conversational topics.
Coolness: Well, it's a lot more interesting than farm animals. At least somewhat inspiring.
Bonus: The ingame hint system prevents you from LOSING points for the annoyingly-placed walkthrough. :)

Score: 6

Identity, by Dave Bernazzani

V unir nzarfvn. Ahss fnvq.
Ab jnl gb qvssreragvngr orgjrra gur ghorf be bcra gurz?
"Lbh qba'g arrq gb cresbez gung npgvba" Jryy, jul abg? Fubhyqa'g V or
pbaprearq nobhg gur bguref?

>bcra fznyy unpu
Lbh pna'g frr nal fhpu guvat.
>bbcf ungpu
V bayl haqrefgbbq lbh nf sne nf jnagvat gb bcra gur ybjre ungpu.
>bcra fznyy ungpu
Lbh pna'g frr nal fhpu guvat.

Vg'f qrfpevorq nf n fznyy ungpu va gur ebbz.
"fcnprpensg Ratvar"
Lnxf chee?

>rknzvar lnx'f sbbg
Lbh pna'g frr nal fhpu guvat.

"qbrfa'g nccrne gb unccl nobhg vg."
Njshyyl sevraqyl gb fgenatref, guvf obl.
Pna'g frrz gb hfr 'ure' jura gnyxvat gb gur jbzna.
Vf gurer nal jnl gb ersvyy gur cvgpure vs tvira jvgubhg qehtf, be vf gung na
'obql' qbrfa'g znc gb gur qrnq zna.
Vg vf cbffvoyr gb pbaarpg gjb jverf gb gur fnzr whzcre. Jbhyq or avpr vs
guvf tnir lbh n jneavat?
"Gur enqvb serdhrapl vf pheerag frg gb 0."

>k oheag bhg obneq
Lbh frr abguvat fcrpvny nobhg gur oheag bhg enqvb vagresnpr obneq.

Bar zvtug unir ybtvpnyyl gevrq gb trg vasbezngvba nobhg gur jvevat sebz jung
jnf yrsg bs gur byq bar; ng gur yrnfg n qrfpevcgvba jbhyq or avpr.
V xabj gur pbeerpg flagnk vf tvira, ohg fgvyy, fbzr erfcbafr gb 'frg
serdhrapl gb ####' jbhyq or avpr. (Bu, gurer vf fhpu n erfcbafr sbe frg
enqvb. Snve rabhtu.)
'gnfgr' naq 'fzryy' abg vzcyrzragrq ba gur oreevrf. (Fbeg bs qvfnccbvagvat
gung lbh unir gb svaq bhg gurve rssrpgf ol RNGVAT gurz. Bssrevat gurz gb gur
lnx ng yrnfg gbyq zr gung erq jnf onq, ohg V qba'g frr ubj V jnf fhccbfrq gb
xabj nobhg gur oyhr barf jvgubhg fgvpxvat gurz va zl zbhgu. (purpxf uvagf)
Bu, gur 'fpna' zrpunavfz gung V unq ab jnl bs xabjvat jung vg qvq. V gubhtug
vg bayl eryngrq gb vafgehzragngvba naq gurersber gevrq gb hfr vg ba gur
enqvb. Jul qbrf zl pbzchpbz unir nyy gurfr srngherf gung bayl frrz gb jbex
bapr va gur tnzr? Jul jrera'g gurl orggre rkcynvarq va gur qrfpevcgvba? Vs V
jrer guvaxvat bs vg nf n gevpbeqre, fpna jbhyq znxr zber frafr. :) )
Npghnyyl ceriragrq sebz cbvfbavat gur thneq. Nj.

Actual Review: Well, if wandering around a well-implemented but boring house/apartment/dorm room is a typical first game, then this is a quite good first game. :) It is still a first game, though, and therefore falls into the hole most likely to trip up a newbie author who does understand game design—filling in the tons of tiny details that players will look for that don't seem important to the author. I know; I was a horrible culprit in this one on my first comp game. So if you're looking for perfect polish, you won't find it here.

Another weakness—it starts with an amnesia plot. Honestly, I think this should have been dropped. It never turned out to be important. Even when something supposedly 'jarred my memories to life again' I never found out much about me, the world, or anything else. The game certainly was NOT a quest for identity, as the title implied. Unless I really, really missed something. How much more work would it have taken for me to NOT lose my memory? I would need to know a tiny bit more about my spaceship and my crewmates, but that's about it. This should more logically be called "Crash Landing" because that's really what it is. You have crashed; you need to get help.

The game tends to keep you in small areas where you can't get too lost or confused. This is both good and bad. It helps prevent the "lack of clue/motivation" problem in so many other games—you know where to go next because you don't have many options to choose from. But the story is very low on choice. You can kill yourself in at least one way, but many other bad decisions are simply made impossible. The ending, which seems like it should have a choice right there built into it, only allows you to choose the 'correct' one. The other just doesn't work, for no apparent reason.

Despite my complaints, this is still a fun game and worth spending a little while to play.

Cleanliness: No bugs found. Some minor text problems not caught. Some lack of synonyms.
Completeness: Somewhat thin implementation. Not enough options presented. Amnesia apparently used as an excuse to not need to present a backstory.
Coolness: It was fun, but not likely to leave a lasting impression.
Bonus: Good hint system.

Score: 6

Mingsheng, by Rexx Magnus

Vagrerfgvat qbhoyr qbphzragngvba.
Qrcerffvba qbrfa'g hfhnyyl zrna pnir.
Pna'g gnyx gb gur fanxr.
Pna'g frr gur syvrf.
Jryy, fb sne ybtvpny npgvbaf jbex.
Tngr abg pyrneyl zragvbarq va ebbz qrfpevcgvba.
Gnfgr abg vzcyrzragrq ba nalguvat V gevrq.
Vg'f arng gung lbh pna guebj gur obk qbja gur fgnvef, gubhtu.

Actual review: Very short game giving a bit of insight into martial arts. All puzzles but one are extremely simple. Nothing wrong with it, but it's just a light snack of a game.

Cleanliness: No bugs found.
Completeness: Sometimes sparse. Very short.
Coolness: Interesting subject matter, but so short that it's not very memorable.
Bonus: Documentation with pictures and ingame chinese characters (not that I could see them, but I assume they're there.)

Score: 8

Order, by John Evans

Lvxrf! Re, abg gur zbfg nrgurgvpnyyl cyrnfvat ivfhny nvq gurer, fbeel.
Qbbef qba'g nhgb-bcra.
'fri' qbrfa'g jbex, pna'g nfx nobhg gur gbzr
Fubhyqa'g ur unir gbyq zr jung ur npghnyyl jnagf zr gb qb? (frireny shzoyvat
dhrfgvbaf, svanyyl svaqf bar gung jbexf) Vs V whfg jnyx bhg, pbashfrq, V
unir ab vqrn jung vf unccravat. Gung'f abg tbbq.
Pna'g ybbx ng gur cynagf.
V'ir oynfgrq ybgf bs zbafgref; jul ab fpber?
"Gb gur jrfg vf n fznyy pnfgyr, naq rnfg vf zber bcra tebhaq. Bss gb gur
abegu ner fbzr cynagrq svryqf, naq shegure va gur qvfgnapr ner n uvyy naq n
fznyy ubhfr. Gb gur jrfg vf zber bcra tebhaq." fnlf gb gur jrfg gjvpr
Pna'g rknzvar gur ebbs, va n ybpngvba jurer gur ebbs vf dhvgr vzcbegnag? Ng
yrnfg gur *jnyy* pna or rknzvarq...
znxr ynqqre qvqa'g jbex, rira gubhtu vg fnlf vg qbrf va gur uvagf
Pna'g rknzvar gur qbzr. Pna'g rknzvar gur ubyr.
JUNG oybbql beo naq fgrrcyr? Gurl nera'g zragvbarq naljurer!
Bu, V frr, ab fpbevat flfgrz. (nf V qvr). Gura GHEA GUR FPBER QVFCYNL BSS.
(erfgberf, pbasvezf oht naq pbzcyrgr ynpx bs qrfpevcgvba bs fgrrcyr)
Uez, 'oernx jvaqbj' qbrfa'g jbex rvgure, ntnva qrfcvgr vg fnlvat gb qb guvf
va gur uvagf.
'Ernevat onpx, lbh fznfu gur jvaqbj jvgu jvgu gur fyrqtrunzzre!'

>uvg cver jvgu unzzre
Lbh fznfu ng Cver'f fuvryqf jvgu gur Eboreg Cver!

Jung n ynzr raqvat.

Actual review: Another high-concept game; granting the player the ability to just CREATE things to solve their problems with. It's obvious right away that this is going to be a problem, as it's just not possible to code all the logical things one might want to make. This could be countered by allowing only certain kinds of things to be created, and *explaining in-character* what those things are, but this game doesn't bother. Actually, it doesn't bother implementing all of the things you're supposed to be able to create, either. Easily completable with the hints; extremely problematic without them, as vital bits are just plain missing.

The idea is fun, but the game needs lots of work. And content.

Cleanliness: BUGS! Nothing that completely breaks the game, but annoying nonetheless. Score not turned off in display. No auto-open on the door.
Completeness: Lazy background that never bothers telling you anything. Low description, to the point of leaving out VITAL INFORMATION. 1/5 because I was that annoyed.
Coolness: It's a fun concept, honestly, it's just not working.
Bonus: No bonus for the visual aid because, I'm sorry, it's hideous and it imparts no useful information. :)

Score: 3.6

The Orion Agenda, by Ryan Weisenberger

Bu obl. Ner jr nzarfvnp ntnva?
Whfg sbe n zbzrag, V ubcr.
'cncre' qbrfa'g zngpu gur erd sbez.
'nepuvgrpgher' vf zragvbarq gjvpr, ohg pnaabg or rknzvarq.
"erorppn, qvfgenpg qbpgbe" vf abg rknpgyl fgnaqneq ireovntr... bgbu, vg qbrf
npprcg zr hfvat 'qvfgenpg qbpgbe' juvpu gura jbhyq fubj gung V arrqrq obgu
bs hf.
Erorppn rkcynvaf nyy gur fgbarf rira gubhtu gurl'er abg nyy gurer.
Lbh xabj, vg jbhyq or ernyyl avpr vs V pbhyq npghnyyl frr nalguvat jvgu nyy
guvf zbavgbevat rdhvczrag. Vg jbhyq or n irel pbairavrag jnl bs yrneavat
zber nobhg jung'f tbvat ba bhg gurer.
Jurer qvq rirelobql tb? Jul qvq gurl zntvpnyyl bayl nccrne abj?
fryrpgf, 'lrf', naq oyvaxf nf nyy xvaqf bs fghss unccraf. Jung, ab bcgvba bs
ylvat gb fnir lbhe arpx?
Abg gb zragvba gur bcgvba bs nterrvat jvgu cneg bs jung gurl'er qbvat naq
abg nyy bs vg? Gurer *vf* n pnfr gb znxr gung gur Cevzr Qverpgvir vf fghcvq.
V qba'g guvax gur cybg ernyyl znxrf frafr.
Jul qvq gur qebvq pnyy zr 'Pncgnva Fgnex' jura V jnf jrnevat n Fretrnag'f
havsbez? Guvf vaqvpngrq gung vg qvq ABG pbafvqre gur havsbez jura
qrgrezvavat zl npprff.

>fnl sertqn
(ng Qnely ZpRyyvf)
V'ir nyernql pnyyrq bhg Qnely. Abj V arrq gb pnyy ba gur tbq gung pna uryc
gur zbfg va guvf fvghngvba.

Abg gur evtug reebe zrffntr. V qvq pnyy ba gur pbeerpg tbq. V fvzcyl qvqa'g
fcrpvsl jub V jnf fcrnxvat gb.
Ovg fnq gung 'fzryy sybjre' qbrfa'g jbex.
Gur yvxr/qvfyvxr jvgu Erorppn vf vagrerfgvat.

Actual review: Don't be scared of the beginning; this really isn't an amnesia story. A short sci-fi adventure that largely revolves around making use of your mostly-helpful NPC companion while the two of you investigate strange happenings on the planet's surface. You will need her help to accomplish some tasks, her information is useful, and you can do things to make her like or dislike you as well. She tends to wander off, but you have a handy mechanism for locating her, so she's never too hard to get a hold of when you need her. The background and gameplay work well until you try to take the different outside forces' motivations and actions seriously and actually ponder the issues involved; then it all starts to seem a bit shaky. Also, a few problems with the endgame.

Cleanliness: Some bugginess in the endgame with the droid and with not conveying important information in an error message.
Completeness: Good background and clear motivation. Most nouns described. Occasional frustrations.
Coolness: General setting is good, but I don't like the particular plot.

Score: 6.6

The Big Scoop, by Johan Berntsson

Pna'g gnfgr gur fgnva, ohg pna fzryy vg. Fnzr sbe yvdhvq.
Wrnaf abg qrfpevorq.
Gung ybfvat raqvat frrzf njshyyl noehcg. Jbhyq cersre n zber bcra-raqrq bar,
PLBN fglyr (lbh xabj, gur barf jurer gurl tb "Qbrf guvf zrna gung guvf
vf.... Gur Raq?"), sbe trggvat neerfgrq gung rneyl. Rfcrpvnyyl vs V unqa'g
gbhpurq gur obql.
Frnepuvat gur obql svaqf *abguvat* bs vagrerfg?
"Gur jvaqbjf snprf" ... nyfb, abguvat nobhg gur jvaqbj vaqvpngrf gung vg'f n
tbbq rfpncr ebhgr.
Fyvtugyl hasnve gung lbh unir gb unir nafjrerq gur cubar (juvpu n ercynlre
vf yvxryl ABG gb, gb tnva rkgen gvzr) gb hfr gur jvaqbj.
Lbh pyrneyl unira'g ybfg lbhe zrzbel be lbh jbhyqa'g xabj Oevna'f anzr. Fb
jul pna'g lbh guvax nobhg / erzrzore uvz be va fbzr bgure jnl trg n pyhr gb
uvf vqragvgl naq lbhe eryngvbafuvc?
Frnepuvat gur pnaf xrrcf trggvat 'ba' vafgrnq bs 'va'.
... fb orvat sbhaq ng gur ncnegzrag trgf zr vafgnag qb-abg-cnff-tb ohg orvat
sbhaq evtug arkg gb gur ncnegzrag va boivbhf qvfneenl naq vawhel vf n serr
evqr? Be unir V whfg punatrq punenpgref? Cbffvoyl gung.
Frnepuvat gur qngnonfr *jbhyq* or na boivbhf guvat gb qb, ab? Gb ybbx hc
vasbezngvba nobhg gur pnfr naq guvf jbzna?
Tee. "Gur negvpyr erpncf pyvcf" ... jryy, jbhyqa'g vg or avpr gb gryy ZR
jung gur qrirybczragf ner?
Gur fgerrg pbagvahrf rnfg naq jrfg... abg gung lbh pna tb gubfr qverpgvbaf
be rira unir nal ernfba abg gb, ohg gur fgerrg tbrf gurer...
nfxvat yvaqn nobhg oevna ercrngf bayl jung fur'f nyernql gbyq zr? fvtu.
nfxvat yvaqn nobhg gur fcl qbrfa'g jbex? Lrf, V frr gur gbcvpf ireo abj, ohg

>nfx yvaqn nobhg zheqre
"Jub xvyyrq Oevna?", lbh nfx. Yvaqn fnlf fur qbrfa'g xabj lrg.

>nfx yvaqn nobhg cbyvpr
Lbh fhttrfg gung lbh gryy gur cbyvpr jung lbh'ir sbhaq bhg, ohg Yvaqn fnlf
gung lbh arrq gb svaq gur erny zheqrere.

>nfx yvaqn nobhg rivqrapr
"Jung qb jr qb abj?" lbh nfx, naq Yvaqn ercyvrf "Jr zhfg gel gb svaq bhg jub
xvyyrq Oevna, naq svaq rivqrapr."

ABAR bs gubfr dhrfgvba-naq-nafjref rira inthryl erfrzoyr jung V jbhyq rkcrpg
gb erfhyg sebz nfxvat gur oybbql dhrfgvba! Nfxvat ure nobhg gur zheqre
jbhyq, gb zr, vaqvpngr gung fur fubhyq gryy zr jung UNCCRARQ, nf sne nf fur
xabjf. Fur zvtug gura gnt ba ng gur raq gung fur qbrfa'g xabj jub qvq vg.
Ohg vs nyy V jnf nfxvat jnf "jubqhaavg" gur dhrfgvba jbhyq or nfx nobhg gur
zheqreRE. Nfxvat nobhg gur cbyvpr jbhyq zber vaqvpngr dhrfgvbaf nobhg gur
cbyvpr punfvat ure, abg n fhttrfgvba gung fur ghea urefrys va. Naq nfxvat
nobhg gur rivqrapr vf pyrneyl nfxvat ure jung rivqrapr FUR unf, abg jung jr
fubhyq qb abj!
"Gur cbyvpr jnf rireljurer" jrer, hfhnyyl?
Jul nz V tvira gur anzr Qhapna va gur yvfg bs gbcvpf? Vg'f rvgure veeryrinag
be n znwbe fcbvyre, nf gung anzr unfa'g pbzr hc ng nyy. 
Qevir gb oevna'f ncnegzrag qbrfa'g jbex.
Guvf tnzr sbeprf n ybg bs erfgbevat.
Gunax tbbqarff, fbzrbar jub nhgb-bcraf qbbef.
Irel haqrfpevorq xvgpura.
(purpxf uvagf)
V qba'g frr nal jnl gung V pna cbffvoyl gryy sebz guvf onypbal'f ebbz
qrfpevcgvba gung nabgure bar vf pybfr gb vg. Bayl ol rknzvavat gur onypbal -
naq bar qbrf abg HFHNYYL rknzvar gur anzr bs gur ebbz bar vf nyernql va! -
qbrf guvf vasbezngvba fhqqrayl nccrne.
(purpxf jnyxguebhtu)
Bu, ABJ V pna gvr gur ubfr gb gur envyvat? Rira gubhtu whfg zbzragf ntb vg
gbyq zr abguvat jbhyq or nppbzcyvfurq ol guvf?
Jub znxrf n fbsn bhg bs cynfgvp, naq jul pna'g V rknzvar gur cbgf?
'nfx yvaqn nobhg nppbhagnag' qbrfa'g jbex. Vg'f whfg fvyyl gung fur qbrfa'g
gryy zr gur anzr.
Lhc, Qhapna orvat va gur gbcvpf yvfg vf n fcbvyre.
Jnvg, n zna pbzrf va, jvgu n tha, frrf hf ubyqvat rivqrapr, fnlf ab bar jvyy
oryvrir hf jvgubhg rivqrapr, naq gura JNYXF BHG? JGS?
Juvpu fubhyq yrnq gb gur irel boivbhf

>pnyy cbyvpr
Lbh qba'g xabj juvpu ahzore gb pnyy.

V'z engure naablrq.
Ergheavat gb gur furq nsgre orvat pncgherq fraqf Yvaqn vagb ure
frnepu-ebhgvar ntnva.

>qevir gb cbyvpr
V qba'g nal cynpr jvgu gung anzr.

Vs gung'f gur nafjre, fubhyqa'g chggvat gur cynax qbja tvir n orggre zrffntr
guna 'Qebccrq'?
Uvqr, gura qebc, oernxf gur uvqr jvgubhg jneavat?
Bu, ABJ gur CP xabjf ubj gb pnyy gur cbyvpr?

Actual review: A mystery game, that never wants to tell the player more than they absolutely need to know. Which is a bit sad, really, as it makes it hard to care. A few bugs don't really spoil the game and it's certainly playable—I did make it through to the end—but I just feel that the surrounding story and the characters we meet are not very interesting. Taking each puzzle on its own, it's fine, but the big picture is lacking. The behavior of the bad guy is inconsistent—he just does whatever's necessary to set up the game, not what would make sense.

Take the beginning scene. The losing ending tells us that if we just hang around in the apartment, the police will catch us and we go to jail for murder, no way out. So if that's what the bad guy wants... why does he wake us up and even prompt us to leave? This behavior indicates the sort of crazy guy who enjoys taunting the heroes, making them play his game and tricking them into destroying themselves... which would be a perfectly interesting enemy, except that's not at all what the bad guy is actually like, when we-player find out what is going on. His moves are arbitrary, his goal is just a Mystical Glowing Whatsit that never gets an interesting explanation (exactly what it is, what it does, who he wants to give it to, etc). The backstory of how the clues we are searching for came to be (and came to be where they are) doesn't make that much sense either. Yes, yes, it's just a game... but if the internal fiction is full of holes, it's not a very compelling one.

Cleanliness: Mild bugs and problems in proceeding.
Completeness: Annoying lack of relevant information. Very frustrating conversation topics.
Coolness: I was never really interested in the plot. It's not actively boring, but I don't have much reason to care, either.

Score: 5.6


And at about this point I got way too busy with other stuff to play any more comp games, so my apologies to those that I missed.

This article copyright © 2004, Papillon

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