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It was genuinely my pleasure to play through your game. I just hope my greenhorn thoughts don't come across as too muddled.

Review #5: The Impossible Stairs by Mathbrush

Review #4: Radio Tower by Brojman

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Review #3: You Won't Get Her Back by Andrew Schultz

Review #2: Desrosier's Discovery by Ben Ehrlich and Isabel Stewart

I'm kind of curious - I've done what I *think* is every ending but have never scored above (I think) 40 points and Apprentice. Are there more endings that I'm missing?

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Hi everybody -

I had originally wanted to submit to ParserComp 2022 but life got in the way, so instead I'd love to compile some of my thoughts and reviews. I'll edit this post as I go. Congratulations to everyone who entered! Your work is appreciated and I'm excited to play through as many as possible before the 31st.

Review #1: Things That Happened in Houghtonbridge by Dee Cooke

Very much enjoyed the turns this story took. The writing is excellent, and the graphics were just enough to add to the game without taking anything away from the descriptions. It was fairly concise (linear has never been a pejorative to me), which I appreciated.

With regards to the puzzles: for the most part, they were a good balance between easy and hard. There were a few that did not seem to follow naturally (the end of your first visit to Beverly's house, waiting in the hospital) so I had to consult the walkthrough. But generally speaking I did not feel "stuck" often, and I was very pleased to have a thorough walkthrough for when I did. I know that this comes down to personal taste more than anything - some people really like that part of parser games!

There were also nice details throughout (typing "drown" at the whirlpool, for instance) that showed a level of care and attention. The world was well fleshed out, and I felt like I had a good mental map of things.

I ended up collecting endings 2 and 5.

I quite enjoyed the  story and writing. Well done. Very happy this was my first game to play for ParserComp!

Well done! Very atmospheric, with an engaging story. Approachable for a parser game, doubly so with the walkthrough.

This was just a perfect little game. Great length, excellent in terms of narrative and mechanics. Never obtuse, but never too hand-holdy. Wonderfully atmospheric. Great job to the both of you.

I really enjoyed the commentary on conversations as transactional, which is sort of the perfect thing to explore in a choice-based game like this. I thought this was a really lovely vignette that conjured all the complicated emotions of a big holiday like New Year's and I'm glad I took the time to play it.

A lot of super positive things have been said about your game so far, and I agree with the vast majority of them for sure. This represents a pretty overwhelming amount of work for a month and is one of the most original stories in the jam. So please let me start by congratulating you and saying how much I enjoyed this game.

I think, too, because so much of this was good that I hope you don't mind me nitpicking on a few things. I'm going to spend more text on these than the compliments, but know that that's not representative of how I feel on the whole at all.

1) The dark, simple UI under-sells how creative this story is. You have a chance to sell the fantastical nature of this game visually before the reader even starts playing, and I think if you can take advantage of that you should.

2) Some of the formatting quirks were really funny to me at the start but became a bit distracting as the story continued. RNST said that not talking in script-talk would be out of character, but I think it ultimately made it more of a burden to read through. The bit was a good one, but I feel that it overstayed its welcome a bit. Similarly, it took me time to adjust to Lorem's typing font when the rest of the text for a given passage was already available. If I could change it, I'd limit the bits to the first few times you chat with them then have a reason it becomes normal again.

On the other hand, little jokes like the passage being temporarily right-aligned were really fun.

3) For the ultimate length of the story, introducing so many characters so quickly made it harder for me to understand and sympathize with them. If there's any way to spread that out, I think it would be helpful.

But, again, having said all of that - I thought it was quite fun. Lots of meta-jokes and pop culture references are not usually my jam but the breadth of references kept it fun for me. I also agree with what yousayrandy said about the character creator. I liked that it *was* spread out and allowed for so much detail. I have more experience with text adventures than pure interactive fiction, and so I've enjoyed getting to see the depth of things like that.

Please forgive me for typing so much. Thank you for submitting this to the jam, and well done!

I think you'll find a lot of established writers recommend that - even if it feels boring - sticking with said is best 90% of the time. I've always found this post ( particularly instructive on that topic. Don't worry about it too much, I promise!

And totally understood with the ratings system. That kind of thing is tough to implement, so I'm glad you tried and have thoughts on how to rework it.

This was one of my favorites so far. I only played through two of the endings, but I definitely felt a bit of story kinship between our two pieces! If you haven't read "Six Wakes" by Mur Lafferty I think you'd really like it.

To start: I thought the UI was killer. I haven't seen anyone mention the Codex yet, but that was a great touch. This had such a solid feel to it, and you should be proud of how you made it look. 

I also thought the font choices were great, and the use of the green glow and the animations to show various things was great. Having said that, I did run into some issues on my browser where the choice font looked a bit off - specifically "Y"s didn't seem to render correctly. Image below.

The story was good, and the world-building worked really well for me. I think sometimes the formatting of the dialogue threw me off, and I'd like to see more "he/she/they said" as opposed to only quote tags or other adverbs/verbs. 

Finally, there was some bug with the STATS screen. At one point I clicked through and has -7% and 103%. It seemed to occasionally revert to more normal percentages. I loved the idea of being able to track that kind of thing.

But please know I was a big fan of this overall. Very well done!

I would like to echo Manonamora's thoughts. I thought the UI was beautifully done. However, figuring out how to scroll down was quite difficult - you can't make it harder for people to play your game than absolutely necessary, because you've got to rope them in as quickly as possible.  I also had a hard time following the story and how it connected to the contest's theme. Still, you should be proud of the overall design! Best of luck.

Interesting - sorry to hear that! unfortunately size isn't something I can change in the engine. I'm surprised the white on black was an issue. But thank you for playing through!

Thanks for your thoughts! I definitely tried to make it approachable, but rewarding. I'm sorry you felt there wasn't much story - unfortunately I only had a month so I feel happy with what I was able to accomplish in the meantime. Glad you were able to check out both endings and get all three secret deaths, though! I appreciate you playing it so thoroughly.

Thank you so much! I really appreciate you taking the time to play it all the way through.

I thought the writing was really well done, and the background images on the UI really helped sell the story. Nicely done!

Definitely like the worldbuilding! I think a "mute" button (which I've said on a few games) would have been nice given that whenever I clicked on a new page the seagull sound started over. BUT. I think with some fleshing out and a spiffy UI this could be a very fun adventure story.

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Thanks for your thoughts! I know text adventure games aren't for everyone, and it was a bit of gamble for an IF-style competition. But I'm glad the tutorial helped and you had fun.

Re: your proposed solution. I definitely feel the frustration! It was hard to balance that game mechanic, and I think it's been a mixed bag: for some people, that's just how they want to play. For others, it's a fun mechanic. And what I really wanted was a sort of implicit puzzle on top of all the other puzzles, which is: how can I do everything I need to do most efficiently? The implicit puzzle is figuring out what is needed and what is not. But, again, I 100% understand how that would not be for everyone.

It was also the reason I made sure that the time loop never interrupted story/contextual information. Only movement. Any time you were in a computer terminal menu or reading, the timer would not progress. That was super important to me.

And I'm very glad to hear that the map helped! One of my least favorite qualities of text adventure game is being obtuse. I wanted to make sure the player knew where they were and (thanks to the walkthrough) could always find a way to progress. Hopefully that came through even though you felt frustrated with the time loop mechanic.

Thanks again for playing and leaving feedback.

I definitely found myself sucked into this game, and it's one I would like to come back to when it's finished. A lot of care was put into the UI, and the story was very well written. I think I'm having a hard time understanding how it ties back to the theme of the jam (how do you decide when a cliffhanger was intentional or just accidental?) and to a certain extent it's going to be impossible to judge 25% of a game. But I think the foundation here is excellent.

Thanks for uploading this! And congrats on finishing the jam. 

I had some mixed thoughts on this, and think that if nothing else it's a really good foundation for something bigger. The art and music were great (although, as I've said on a couple of other games, I would have loved a mute button) and there was obviously care taken to world-building interest here.

However, I struggle a bit more with regards to this being a text adventure (when it felt, mechanically at least, like it had the bones of a survival game more than anything) and with the overall competition theme. I wish I could have spent more time on the final node exploring the setting and interacting with what I had developed - I was genuinely feeling interested at that point and sad that it got glossed over.

This definitely feels like the "game"-iest entry here, and I don't think that's an inherently bad thing. You've definitely put a lot of good work into this and should be proud!

Nice and quick. I enjoyed the well-developed narrator. I think I would have liked a "mute" button but otherwise I found this well-structured.

Thank you for the kind words! I'm so glad to hear that you enjoyed it.

The art in this game was beautiful! Well done. I think I would love an option to mute the music, and I couldn't run the game until I fullscreened it - two things to add in the future!

Thanks so much for your feedback. There are some really kind words in here - especially about the tutorial and not struggling to play. Both of these are super important to me.

I appreciate your thoughts on the time loop - I would obviously take a different stance in that I find it very fun to try and figure out the "optimal path" in a game like this, but understand that's not for everyone. I also wish I had had more time to put puzzles in that really utilized the loop aspect (e.g., where you solve part of a puzzle in one loop and the next part in another loop) but alas - a month was too short!

Thanks again for the comments; I'm so glad you enjoyed playing it.

Love a classic text adventure type game. I liked some of the dry humor!

This was a lot of fun. The UI caught my eye right away, and it was a quick, snappy playthrough. Nicely done.