Urbatain's reviews of some Ifcomp games

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Urbatain

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Nov 20, 2006, 5:57:24 AM11/20/06
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First of all, sorry for my bad english.

Second of all, I'm quite rude because my lack in english.

Third of all, I'm rude for my nature, and I'm quite critic, so if you
wanna hear flowers about your game, go to another time and space.

But I'll try to be constructive. And maybe I could spoil some puzzles,
and stories, so be aware.

When I have some games voted I decided to keep my thought of what was a
positive point, and what a negative "feature", these are notated like
+1 or -1 respectively while playing, but... to be sure I could not
remember why some of them about.

Some games have only 1 point, because: I didn't like it at all and
maybe this was because the game has a bug that doesn't allow me to
advance, or just I not see the point at all. Resume: no joy, no points.

But seeing the others reviews of my partners here in the groups, or the
final ranking of the comp, I've seen that I've been a little tender
with some games. This will fixed in the next year, if I vote, of
course.

By the negative side, I found this year comp really weak, I'm not share
the others opinion of my partners reviewers. For instance the top ten
has not equal with anothers top ten in past years in quality, like the
Slouching one. And I don't understand why Legion has no a better score
in the ranking. Really I understand this, but it was my favorite.

When play begin :) I found that I could vote the full fortysome games,
because a lot of the works was really really bad ones or buggy, so in
ten minutes I could vote them. To the really enjoyables ones or fully
finishables I spend two hours or more in them, but in the middle of my
month of play a thingy thing called I7 comes into my live, and I stop
to play :) So it's sure in later years the games to play will be 50 or
such, so a little wider time for play and vote will be fine.

This reviews are more quick notes than full reviews, so be happy to
read the whole post, because my lack of english and little time of
freedom in my life.

But let's start...

Aunts and Butlers 4

I didn't like this one, but not too much at all. It was a bit funny,
but not enough. The butlers are a huge Crimen Against Mimesis, that
simply not fit in the game although the humor theme. And... there's not
too much interactivity for such theme, and that was the worst of all
because the game intrudes a lot cutting the freedom of the player.

Manalive 6

The game start quite bad because... we are trapped in a bad developed
room that it's suppoused to be a street, but the player can't go
anywhere and is forced to jump over the wall (with a lot of guess the
verb here and there along the game). Another problem is that the
implementator confuses the overall and omniscent narrator with the PJ
and protagonist, surely a problem because the game is an adaptation of
the book where (surely) the narrator was a different voice from the
protagonist. But here, in the game it fails when the PC knows every
name and character of every person before met them.

Although every character is very well ploted down (but not well
developed), and the ambience and the PJ are very well written, very
quite, very great. For instance, the moment when we catch the hat is
quite great, it could be interesting to know what's part of the genius
is from the original book, or from the implementator.

But I give it a low 6 because a bug or maybe is a bad point of
implementation: I get into my room and all stand still there with a NPC
in the room, forever and ever. This is where I say the NPC are lousy
implemented, they doesn't take the iniciative. It's a pity, but I
understand it's difficult to make a great job on NPC if you have not
the experience of Emily Short :) So I could not enjoy the story more
further because that stand still stuck.

And the same comes in the second part, the one I decide not to vote,
because I could not go further of the wall of the kitchen, so I think
the whole game has the same problem, lack of initiative to push the
player forward the story. It's a pity because all in this game seems
impresive and need a lot of polishing, a better design about eliminate
the narrator and try to fit all that information in real interactive
meetings. Explore the personality of the characters could be quite more
exciting than explore the locations of Adventure.

Simple Adventure 1

I've read some topics about Paul Panks, so... but I have an open mind.
Here in Spain now triumphs a game of classic fantasy... but SA is so
simple. I could not barely tolerate that an enemy just stand still
there waiting for me to attack, is absurd. The worst are the long times
the automatic combats takes to resolve. Too simple, too boring.

Lawn of Love 5

This game is almost good. It's funny, and it's... exciting about the
girls theme without fall in the obvious machismo. But has a lousy
implementation. Some not implemented objects, and some... bad desing
ruin a little the good march of the game:

1- when we enter the forest the game says: I wanna a horse! but when we
found the horse, the game says: this doesn't exist in the game! Wrong,
very wrong. Please fix this: just says Monunt horse. The horse don't
wanna go anywhere! that's all.

2- when we reach the gate, we cannot go back anymore because the exists
are not implemented!!! Fix that too! Damn! This is worst because that
horrible beep when the player can't go in some direction, a strange
decision of design.

3- The stupid hungry limit, if we cannot go back...

And some more problems about guess the verb, etc

A pity and that's why you got a 5.

Fetter's Grim 1

Paul Panks... the argument is interesting, but what a fuck... drunken?.
The adventure has no sense, but the worst of all is that the prose and
the plot has no means of that drunken implementation, so a really
drunken prose could be a lot better with a psicodelic story, but as
is..., it's a pity. There's no need to say anymore.

Beam 1

Too much stuck for a ifcomp game. And the hints are no help with the
start... so, no joy, no more points. Well not too much, the first
locations suffer a lot of guess the verbs and lousy implementation. So
1 point.

Ballymun Adventure 4

This game is a huge Crimen Againt Mimesis with legs. Just the college
is empty and that doesn't correspond with the intro that promised a
college full of people. Well the developer is novice I think, although
the games seems luck of bugs (well implemented), it has a very simple
desing and has no interest. Maybe a better idea could be develop the
story in the night. The boy has to take his bad notes and falsify them
(like in School Daze!) intruding the college in the night, so you could
not break the mimesis with an empty building full of no students and no
professors.

Enter The Dark 5

It's seems interesting bad has a lousy implementation, a buggy crow,
and a buggy cript or guessy the verb cript, I don't remember. And an
non interactuable ghost.

The Sisters 5 -1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1

I'll try to remember each negative point I give this one. The game
looks promising at the begining, but it has a poor narrative and...
this game is a big cliché with legs. The worst of all is the cliches
of horror doesn't gives us terror. They are just bad or poorly
developed. The wet dresses in the locket, the faces in the mirror, I
could laught at them. And this... just doesn't work because the
following premise: you could not put words or sentiments in the mouth
of the player; because you tell me I'm scared because the face in the
mirror, just it gives me no terror at all. You must try to give terror,
not to tell that is terror in the ambience, you must develop an
ambience of mistery and fear, not put that words in the screen. You
must provoke the player.

The game cut the interactivity of the player without good reasons, for
instance, when the PJ doesn't want to reopen the locket with the wet
dresses, or when we cannot take the chair at the beggining to break the
window and escape... puaf!

And the plot has not too much sense. The killer kills because he
doesn't know the reason. And the story of the lineage of the family has
nothing to do with the story and the events that fired up the haunting.
The player is barely connected with the killer about the culpability.
And we have a corpse in the forest because is a cliché! It has nothing
to do with the game! :)

The worst of all is the non-interactive climax ending scene. Maybe the
implementator was lazy at the end of develop, this and the lousy
outcome give the sisters a 5. Almost enjoyable, almost.

Float Point 8 +1+1+1

Well developed in a sense I like a lot in this times. From Slouching
Towards Bedlam, I admire a lot games that could give me a moral choice
and that could make a difference in the story. This game is sucessful
in that. The game has a average mood that could be enjoyable but not
too exciting to give it a 10 or a 9, so a 8 because it's quite notable.

The about information tells something about deeply developed geography
but this comes invisible to me, a pity that such effort comes
unexperienced, maybe some puzzles to enjoy that enviroment in the
glacier could improve more the game.

Float Point has a lot of positive thing, that just I don't want to
detail because it's a pain for me to write here every sentence :)

But just to say that the HARD SCI-FI future is well developed and has
strange machines to learn from... but again not too much exciting like
the ones from Bedlam to give FP more points. But again, all details and
features are of quality for me. I expect no less from Emily.

PTGOOD 8*10^23 1 -1-1

A void scenery with nothing to do. The game implements no incentive to
me to try to figure what thing to do. No joy, 1 point.

Mobius 8 +1+1+1

Pretty good one room puzzle. Maybe a little forced to fit the logic of
the time paradox, but ey! it's a game, not an imposible mission. I
liked a lot the humor, very good one. I'm amazed that a genre like the
one room loop puzzle could generate such good games nowadays. The end
is a bit cruel, but it goes with the humor. My third favorite!

Star City 6 -1-1-1-1-1-1

This game has a problem... is well developed enviroment with nothing to
do, or nothing interesting to do. The story within is of little
importance and there's little motivation in the intro and then. The
little bit of story within are some interesting but they are just a mix
of "Rendevous with Gamma" and an urban leyend about nazis in the deep
space.

And the little puzzles are not enought to keep the interest. The game
it's just an empty travel around the place.

But agaist this "concept" and "mood" in the end there is a complicated
puzzle about control a shuttle. So complicated for me and this is a
problem of extreme difficult because in the beggining the control of
the ship is automatic, so I don't undestand why the later ship it is
fully interactive. I give it a 6, but simply I didn't like this one,
maybe I could rated it less.

A Broken Man 1

I don't like at all games with extreme political or moral convictions.
So extreme revenge in an game about the american terrorist paranoia
theme, just it's no my kind of game. Without talk of the lousy
argument... a terrorist? in a mansion? and the victim knows him
whereabouts? Buf! like american paranoia sounds me, rather.

But the full 1 score its given by a buggy window that keep in a loop
trying to enter the mansion without enter, so buggy stuck, no joy, this
plus bad extreme politics, 1 point.

Hedge 3 -1-1-1-1

This has the same problem as Star City. An enviroment fully navegable
without motivations or puzzles to advance. It's just an empty and no
sense vollage. Well no empty, but uninteresting. And although it is
surrealism... the surrealism must have a sense in their meaning, just
like So Far for instance, this game has no sense at all. I recommend
the author to see some surrealism films (go and find "El Perro
Andaluz") or pictures from Dali.

Legion 9 +1-1+1+1

This is my favorite one from the comp. My winner.

The name of the Player Character is a deceit. It could be named Legion,
or Nature, or Geos, or Gaia, or whatever that it could fit perfectly
the game, but this deceit allow the player to believe in a celestial
battle for the earth at the very beggining, so the eureka feeling when
the player understand was going on it's marveolous. Simply the
perception and prose of the PC it's incredible, it's ... I can't find
the words because my lack of english.

Maybe at the beggining it's a little problem of guess the verb, well
rather guess the interface, but thanks to a good hints soon the player
could enjoy the nature of the PC and navigate it with joy.

I have the luck to discover what's going on before enter the shell, so
it was a magic moment for me. But later the first flashback in the
memories of she is stunning, a well developed shock. Quite impressive
for me.

The later stages of the game are equal satisfaying, very well
developed. The only thing I feel barely integrated in the interface is
the express command, but maybe it was my fault to not to found it
natural for the PC.

As I said before if the author could success in a integrate the first
steps of the player in the new interface, it could deserve a 10.

Xen: The Hunt 6 -1-1-1

This is an average game. Not too bad, but not too good. And has two
things I hate a lot from adventures: 1) cut the freedom of the player,
and 2) a lot of scenes without interactivity. And the game set an
inexistent magic system that the game plays automaticly. It's a pity
that a whole complex system of magic is not really controled by the
player, because when a NPC inform us about magic, just the logic
actions about doesn't work. And as I said before, when the magic show
up, neither we can control them prompt after prompt. So the game is a
simple travelling without much effort through the landscape. Not to
much interesting, although the story is somewhat cool.

Fight or Flight 4 -1-1-1

The story, although a lot of teen chit-chat, just doesn't advance
further itself. A pity, and you can wait forever that nothing will
ocurr in the game, this is not what I expect from a game with a monster
and teens, maybe the author must to push the game more like a Agatha
Christie story, where people go dying one by one. The conversation
system is lousy implemented, so for me was useless to try to express
the danger of the situation to the other NPCs, but... useless uf! he,
he, I can go with the shreds of the poor Feb and nothing will jump on
the spot :). Again, this game cut my freedom of choice of movement:
just there's a lot of places where the game doesn't allow me to enter
because the game says there's nothing interesting there... he, he!,
allow me to decide that! when the theme is surviving, like Resident
Evil, some of the joy is to search every place looking for suitable
weapons, so that decision of desing is absurd. And overall, the
enviroment is lousy implemented, you can't turn on a TV, and some
directions of exits just are wrong.

The Tower of the 8 +1-1+1-1

I'd like a lot this game but it's not perfect enough for a ten. And I
applaud the idea of make a version of Conan. We have ever the need of
make implementations of works we admire, but the copyright is always an
impediment, so for ideas, for multimedia, go and get works old enough
that you could use them. But I always think about the film of Conan the
Barbarian, so I miss more action and more enemies. The combat could
have been more simulated but it's good enough. And is so brief, but
it's ok. I could vote it with a less score, but

The Traveling Swordsman 8 -1-1+1+1

This game succeeds because it's quite well implemented, it's tasty for
the eye, tasty because the reading, and because it's so easy. And the
end scene its tasty too, giving the whole game a sense of joy.

The puzzles are so easy because they are quite logic less the stupid
key hidden in a stupid place, but it's funny in general. But it has no
more score because that easiness. It's just a plain game, but as I said
before its supper in kind and implementation. Maybe it's that I'm not
used to play Hugo games, but it was fantastic in this sense for me. So
it's a perfect game for this comp, but I think a little more engagement
it could give it a full ten. Really it's a pitty that the game doesn't
go more deep in difficult.

See you.

El Clérigo urbatain.

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