A lot to do at work. Priority: play the entries. Long reviews: no time. Maybe four in a row. Short ones. With spoilers? Sometimes, I guess.

Leadlight by Wade Clarke
Wad Clarke makes it clear in the game's webnest: Leadlight wasn't created to materialize some story that he wanted to tell, it was created to pay tribute (that word again...) to the Apple II computer. The problem is this kind of approach only works if you share such nostalgia. I, for one, never laid my hands on an Apple II, so what Leadlight gave me was a severe headache, due to the awful font rendering, and the white on blue color choice. The game itself was... weird, but not weird-good, just weird-weird. It reminded me of those Fighting Fantasy books, in which you go into an old forest, and once inside you would come across all sorts of fiends - including ones that don't make sense in that particular Universe -, which you have to fight with the randomness of a dice. Leadlight is like this:  you end up fighting crazy chicks, zombies, ghosts, a black monster, and rose bushes - yes, rose bushes! Just like a Fighting Fantasy book! The fighting mechanism is boooooring and the story itself does not make up for the rest.

Heated by Timothy Peers
Lone, messy guy in apartment has to do routine chores before he leaves to work where a promotion is achievable. Better prose and better implementation than A Quiet Evening at Home, but the same effect nonetheless. It is what it is, and it gave me the enjoyment it gave me, which was none.

Aotearoa by Matt Wigdahl
I really wanted to write a full review about this one, but I have no time. I liked this entry very much, but I won't give it a 9-10 score. Everything feels professional, the prose is fine, the story arc and the alternate universe are very well detailed, I really enjoyed the puzzles, I jut loved (everybody will, I bet***) being able to name my pets, great pace, etc. So, why not a perfect score? Because it is one of those pieces of literature that got stuck in the middle of two somethings: it's two heavy to be just plain fun, but to light to be anything more. Let's take the prose: it is quality prose, yes it is, but it is never breathtaking, I never got one line that swept me off my feet; I got this same feeling with the ideas of the story, a well built ecology message, but not a single thought to haunt me for hours after I stop reading. On the other hand, it never embraces a plain-fun-adventure-story nature in it's full beauty. To give a 9-10 score, other than the objective qualities, I need that punch in the stomach or that long-lasting glue craving a stupid smile on my face. Aotearoa achieves none of the two. A high quality, respectable, applaudable entry, but I won't go to bed with it, I'm afraid.

*** I couldn't, for the love of the god that killed the dinosaurs, leave this review without my personal experience with the consequences of naming my pets a given way. I named my "monkey" Maria Sharapova, and the male raptor God. Follows shreds of transcript:

>touch god
You try to approach God, hoping to look at him more closely and maybe even pet him. But the little dino explodes into hostile screeches and scrabbles away from you so desperately that he looks as if he's having a seizure.

>talk to god
You speak, but God doesn't respond.

Suddenly, God charges Maria Sharapova, spitting and hissing, before quickly retreating back to a nearby patch of undergrowth. Maria Sharapova makes a noise that sounds suspiciously like a laugh.

Naming creatures is the best 2010 IF Comp gimmick so far.

One Eye Open by Colin Sandel and Carolyn Van Eseltine
Things I like. Things I don't.
Things I don't: the concept itself is the N'th variation of the lab that goes about with dangerous experiments, from which all hell breaks loose, hell you must escape from, hell that encloses a mystery to be solved, hell that turns the hole building into a beast of evil itself. Also, the way the game tries to spook is very Saw like and very Shining unlike, that meaning it trusts on gore and guts to deliver the chills, but I never lost sleep over an intestine hanging on the outside, and, to be honest, the only way I enjoy such bloody mess is by laughing it out, like with Peter Jackson's Braindead. But One Eye Open tries very hard not to be funny, so I ended up neither scared or amused, only bored.
Things I like: the "focus on this" is a nice gimmick. The writing has no problems and the implementation is very solid. It also has a great scene in which you end up experiencing an NPC's pasted death, always toying with the illusion that you can do something to save him, when you actually can't. Yes, this one is a big spoiler. Ah ah ah!

I don't know how the game ends, since two and a half hours into playing I was still far from the finished gut (judging by the walkthrough), but I'm betting for a twist-surprise-ending, which isn't that surprising.
 


Comments

25/01/2012 6:44pm

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27/01/2012 4:13pm

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16/02/2012 1:06pm

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26/03/2012 5:46am

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12/05/2012 11:02am

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16/07/2012 3:02pm

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