Reiko's Ramblings and Writings

What I'm reading and writing about lately.

IFComp 2014 Overview

Posted by Reiko on November 7, 2014

Well, the 2014 IF Comp is almost over, but this year I’m actually going to put my comments online so that they can be read while the games are fresh in everyone’s mind. I also went back and put up last year’s reviews, the ones I did anyway, for what that’s worth.

I was a bit surprised by the number of games this year, but somehow I still played most of them. Fortunately the quality was, on average, better than some previous years. Last year I was quite busy, and after a string of very sub-par web games, I gave up on the comp for the year after playing only a dozen games or so, and didn’t even write reviews of all the ones I played. I think last year the trend toward Twine and other web-based formats really surged, and I know I wasn’t the only one that was a bit dismayed at their lack of quality. This year, more than half of the games were web formats (mostly Twine), but enough of them were done well enough that I slogged through the rest anyway. For more detail, keep reading.

So this year, I can honestly say I’m not too disappointed by the available entries. There will always be some that haven’t been properly tested or proofread, but there were a number that I enjoyed, as well. I played and rated a total of 32 games out of the 42 available. I gave the following distribution of scores: four 2’s, six 3’s, four 4’s, four 5’s, five 6’s, four 7’s, three 8’s, and two 9’s. It’s skewed toward the lower end, but that’s typical. I don’t give very many scores of 8 or above. See my scoring page for more on how I judge games.

I didn’t score the other 10 games mostly due to their blurbs, as I was reasonably sure I wouldn’t enjoy them based on content. Most of these were due to adult content: either sex, violence, or extreme gore. I do not enjoy those things in my games, and if I had played them, I would have rated them down heavily because of that anyway, so I just skipped them. A couple of games I did rate had these things, but I didn’t know what they would be like before I played them. But the ratings reflect my dislike of the content.

Top three (scored 10-8): Creatures Such as We, Krypteia, Eidolon

Also recommended (scored 8-7): Transparent; Fifteen Minutes; Jacqueline, Jungle Queen; Missive; The Contortionist

Interesting but flawed (scored 7-5): Enigma, Raik, Origins, Tea Ceremony, Icepunk, Hunger Daemon

Here are all the games I played in the order I played them, with links to their comments once I post them:

Tower, by Simon Deimel (Z-code) – 4
Origins, by Vincent Zeng and Chris Martens (Web) – 6
Transparent, by Hanon Ondricek (Glulx) – 8
Zest, by Fear of Twine (Web) – 6
Caroline, by Kristian Kronstrand (Web) – 2
Fifteen Minutes, by Ade McT (Inform) – 8
HHH.exe, by Robot Parking (Web) – 2
The Entropy Cage, by Stormrose (Web) – 6
Eidolon, by A.D. Jansen (Web) – 8
Missive, by Joey Fu (Web) – 7
Inward Narrow Crooked Lanes, by B Minus Seven (Web) – 3
Sigmund’s Quest, by Gregor Holtz (Web) – 3
Laterna Magica, by Jens Byriel (Web) – 3
Unform, by S. Elize Morgan (Web) – 5
The Secret Vaults of Kas the Betrayer, by A.E. Jackson (Web) – 4
Milk Party Palace, by Alon Karmi & Glenn Parker (Web) – 5
Icepunk, by pageboy (Web) – 5
Krypteia, by Kateri (Web) – 9
Begscape, by Porpentine (Web) – 4
Raik, by Harry Giles (Web) – 6
Creatures Such As We, by Lynnea Glasser (Web) – 9
The Contortionist, by Nicholas Stillman (Web) – 7
Venus Meets Venus, by kaleidofish (Web) – 3
Building the Right Stuff, by Laura Mitchell (Windows) – 2
Tea Ceremony, by Naomi Hinchen (Inform) – 6
Arqon, A Criminal’s Journey, by H. J. Hoke (Inform) – 3
Ugly Oafs, by Perry Creel (Inform) – 4
Hunger Daemon, by Sean M. Shore (Inform) – 5
And yet it moves, by Orion (Inform) – 2
Enigma, by Simon Deimel (Inform) – 7
Jacqueline, Jungle Queen, by Steph Cherrywell (Quest) – 7
Jesse Stavro’s Doorway, by Marshall Tenner Winter (Inform) – 3

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