(click here for a higher resolution image)
And that’s it for IFComp!
I played all 103 games and wrote reviews for 12, which is the most I’ve written for a competition. I thought it’d be fun to showcase each of the ice cream flavours in a parlour setting, and so I present my first ever selection, completely free-of-charge because I’m a generous captain, obviously.
Of course, with every menu comes a recommendation, and the game that stood out the most in my opinion is Sana’s Sonder Snippets, a starkly written story about age, loneliness and inevitability that provoked more sadness in me the more I thought about it, and that continued to sit with me for some time. You can read my review here.
I also want to give an honorable mention to Bez’s Lore Distance Relationship, a Neopets tribute about the bright side of online relationships that surpassed expectations both story and design wise. I admit I was really torn between this and Sonder Snippets, and in the end I went with the latter, but Lore Distance Relationship is an equally outstanding game that I would recommend to everyone. My review of it is here.
There were a number of games I enjoyed but didn’t review, mostly because I didn’t feel I had anything interesting to say about them. (This list is non-exhaustive.)
Deus Ex Ceviche by Tom Lento and Chandler Groover was a game I enjoyed but couldn’t make heads or tails of despite my best efforts, and I look forward to hearing what the authors have to say about it after the competition, if they are so inclined.
I thought Move on by Serhii Mozhaiskyi was really clever and well-written, and the only reason I didn’t review it is that I felt it needed just a little more complexity. But I also think its length suits it completely, and I’m not sure if extending it would undermine the gameplay (especially since it’s labelled as an experimental piece).
I had a blast with A Murder In Fairyland by Abigail Corfman, whose puzzles I really enjoyed, both for the way they were presented (the interface is gorgeous) and for the gratification I got upon solving them. Unfortunately, I hit a bad ending abruptly without making use of the save feature in advance, which meant I had to replay the whole thing, something I didn’t really look forward to doing. I was sufficiently involved with the story to want to pick up from where I died, and I would have made use of the walkthrough to get there, but when I checked, the walkthrough contained only hints and not solutions. If the author uploads a more detailed walkthrough in future, I would love to continue playing.
Quest for the Sword of Justice by Damon L. Wakes made me laugh throughout, and I was amazed at its level of production. My sentiments about this game were very similar to those about Move on, namely that I thought the length was simultaneously just right and not enough to warrant a review. But again, this is purely due to personal preference — I like plot-heavy games that invite analysis — and I think well-made, relatively straightforward games like these definitely have their place in IFComp, and deserve to be reviewed and talked about.
I would like to thank the competition organisers and everyone who participated. In particular, I am deeply indebted to Brian Rushton and Caleb Wilson, without whom my reviews would not be possible.
Thanks for reading, and see you next year!
– Captain Abersouth