Ahh… A fresh new year for amateur IF. I always love the time of year when you can download a full set of new IF Comp entries. It’s like finding a treasure chest in your attic and not knowing if it will contain any gems amidst all of the junk. Anywho, on to the reviews (sorted by platform this year):
- Adrift – I was not impressed with the technical competence of the Adrift games at all this year. Could it be because Gargoyle doesn’t handle Adrift games very well? Has a worthy game ever been written in Adrift? That’s not rhetorical-I just don’t remember any.
- A Fine Day for Reaping [5/10] – A lot of the writing in this game was genuinely funny, although the Grim Reaper’s lisp was a little over the top. I scored it a little lower because of technical issues.
- Mind of the Master [6/10] – This was fairly interesting, and I would have loved to have learned more of the story, but the two hour deadline prevented this. Despite restarting and restoring fairly often, I just could not figure out how to get past some of the plot elements.
- Mishmash [5/10] – To be honest, I just couldn’t get interested in this one. I gave up during the first level.
- Glulx – Maybe it’s just the mood I’ve been in lately, but I avoided games dealing with philosophy this year. This cut out 2/3rds of the Glulx entries.
- Varkana [8/10] – So far, the best game I have played this year. Some technical issues and "guess the verb" situations kept the score to less than 10, but still very impressive. Listen to this quote: "The breeze is cool, tempting you to crawl back under your warm bedsheet, but the sunlight’s warmth on your skin is equally inviting." What writing! Great eye for detail. Every room, and even every action you perform puts you into the scenery, and ultimately the story.
- TADS 2 – Only 2 TADS 2 entries this year?? Very disappointing! TADS was always my language of choice, but it looks like it has suffered severe public rejection since Inform 7.