A Day in Life

by John Goettle.

To be honest, I was compelled to play this only because of the extremely negative reviews it had garnered.

It is definitely buggy. Bugs which only beginner coders should make are in abundance. For example, you get points for picking up certain objects. However, if you drop them and pick them up again, you get the same number of points! In this way, it is, in fact, possible to win the game with more than the maximum number of points.

Objects and people are sparse and barely have any descriptions. Incongruous rooms are stuck to each other. This all feels like a first-timer’s enthusiastic but misguided attempts to write a ‘game’ based on half an hour’s perusing of the Inform documentation.

The Moonlit Tower

by Yoon Ha Lee.

Plot: What the player needed to do was not quite straightforward; the language makes it somewhat more obtuse. There is, however, a gradual reveal of who the player is through various clues in the eponymous tower, which is interesting in and of itself.

Language: Melancholic, evocative writing makes this game worthy of reading and re-reading. The objects (I am compelled to write ‘artifacts’ instead) and the rooms are influenced, or inspired, by Asian mythology- for example, the symbology of the crane and the descriptions of the instruments in one of the rooms draw from Chinese symbology and musical tradition. It is rather a welcome change from the European/American/similar origins of many IF games.

Mechanics: Nothing remarkable. There is a nifty device in one of the rooms which changes the description of some other rooms, but no significant wizardry.

This game slants towards poetry instead of puzzle-solving, but it does not suffer because of it.

IFDB_Spelunking

Join the author, Joey Jones, on his romp through a list of 10 random games, which IFDB spits out if you’re really bored. This particular selection includes one French game, one German game and one pornographic game. It’s an extremely entertaining metafictional game- a game within a game, if you like- and the author’s footnotes add a somewhat satiric hint to the sometimes badly written games.

In contrast to some of the games featured, this game is, in fact, well written and implemented. No need to worry about illiterate parsers or clunky grammar! At least the author will point them out, say something to make you laugh and carry on. There’s also a helpful ‘hint’ feature to help you out if you’re stuck in one of the ‘games in the game’.

Enjoyable, indeed!

Afflicted

By Doug Egan.

Finally finished this game today, after puzzling over it on and off for months. You are a public health inspector inspecting the dubious safety and minimal cleanliness of Nikolai’s Grill and Bar, while scandal boils over regarding the disappearance of an exotic dancer. Highly enjoyable.

Plot: The plot was well-conceived, even if it was not the most original– then again, some of the best stories are hardly original. The gradual reveal of little details was tantalising

Language: The creepiness was not overplayed- not too much, at least. The denouement and final reveal was a tad obvious, but the buildup, especially in the beginning, when the player is still poking about, is solid enough. There are some gory details

Mechanics: This game has a rather extensive adaptive hint system, which I admit I peeked at a few times, but otherwise there are plenty of hints and what the player needs to do is quite obvious.

And:
>xyzzy
You break mimesis to pay your respects to Will Crowther.