I think having them all under this thread would be good, especially since the threads for older games might be dead and buried. Could always do both, though. However, you are totally fine to do each one on Reddit as a new thread (we already have others who do the same thing, like PistachioPug on the HG and CoG subreddits). Masters don’t work there since they would get buried, never to rise again.
Good on you for putting the reviews on Steam; that’s the sparsest marketplace for reviews, so anything there helps.
I’m looking forward to reading these, in-depth reviews and rankings are always a great way to conjure up discussion and get people interested in new stuff. Also, your background sounds quite like my own in a lot of ways, will be interesting to see where our tastes intersect and where they veer off.
Really neat idea. I had a trial run where I recorded a video review of Heroes of Myth last year but my microphone is terrible and I ended up not liking the format overall. Best of luck, I look forward to your review(s).
You are not wrong. Luckily, some of the titles are fairly quick and having played a few, familiarity will help. But, yeah. Even knocking out one a week would take over six years, not including new releases. Not going to try to stick to a strict release schedule, but just give myself a deadline for each title.
“His wife, Louisa was similarly detached from life, and took her pleasure primarily in loo and gossip.”
This is a good starting point for how my reviews will generally go. I’m planning on always starting with a line that I liked, or stood out to me. Something that might have sold the game to me, as long as I had the context. This line illustrates a few things. I laughed at what I assumed was toilet humor, but without knowing anything about Jane Austen I couldn’t be sure. So, I researched if ‘in loo’ was a typo (or better yet, an intended typo) of ‘in lieu’ or if this was a common joke for Austen. Apparently, neither. Loo is a card game that seemed popular at the time. So, I lost my toilet humor, but gained my second favorite thing… random trivia.
For context, I have not read Pride and Prejudice and am only very slightly familiar with Jane Austen at all. Take that into consideration when reading this review. I’ll always make an attempt to keep reviews as spoiler-free as possible, and will give plenty of warning if I believe I need to point something out that may spoil portions of the game.
Now for the general breakdown of categories I’ll be including:
General Story - Does the theme work, is it an interesting concept? Are there glaring issues?
Format and Typos - How readable is the title? Do I have any personal issues with the format? Grammar is only ever mentioned if it hampers readability. I’ll try to report typos, but mostly I’ll bring this up if there are too many to ignore or if there seems to be some coding issues.
Game Mechanics and Stats - Do they make sense and add to the experience? These are public mechanics that you can easily see by going to your Stats screen, and possibly a few bits about the actual code.
Replayability - Is there a reason to replay the title? I’ll talk a little bit about variability in routes, and romance options.
Bullet Point Dislikes
Bullet Point Likes
Apologies for the quick primer, but on to the review for Pride and Prejudice and Murder.
The story is, of course, about pride and prejudice… but with a murder mystery tacked on. Perspectives change throughout the story, but one thing I found that I really liked was that while murder mysteries always feel like deductions, the focus here was social class deduction. The ‘whodunnit’ was more focused on the ‘why’. Deductions were made with understanding why and how an action might affect social standing. There was no second thought really given to the criminal consequences of anything. Plenty of humor in the title with some masterclass snark in thought and dialogue.
Format and Typos:
If you are here for a novel, this will feel fine. There are long pages of descriptive texts, large paragraphs for descriptions, and characters are well organized when it comes to conversations. I never had a problem discerning who was speaking.
Game Mechanics and Stats:
As above, this is a novel with very little in the way of stats. It feels less like a game and much more in line with ‘if you want to do this, turn to page ##’ choice book. No gamification of stats, but this is also because you don’t really play a character. You take a narrative perspective of already existing characters within the story. When you make choices, the game does not check against stats for a success or failure status. The game portion revolves around deduction puzzles in multiple choice where success is an achievement and failure is being rerouted back to the correct answer without the achievement.
There are a few various paths to take. Given making the correct choices at certain points within the game, it appears there are four different endings. This is not a game that includes romance options.
Some of the puzzles, like a cypher style puzzle, seem out of place for the setting.
Very linear early on. Most choices only change how you choose to say the same thing.
Choices later on mostly decide who becomes your narrator.
Oh, the snark. It is absolutely on point. I chose the line up top as one that stood out, but I had a super long list of lines that had me rolling.
The social deduction involved in determining the motives was super interesting.
It makes me want to read Pride and Prejudice, which… bravo. You succeeded where my high school English classes did not.
After thinking about it, I think just put the link to this master thread in the specific game thread, and keep this one for the big reviews–this way you aren’t double posting every time you write a review. I’ve made the appropriate edit in the P&P&M thread for this time.
“Once again, however, in your quest to become a magic user, you have the choice to make between being wicked or good. Ultimately, your decisions will make you forever named theWicked Witch of the Northeast or the Good Witch of the Northeast.”
In my previous introduction, I said I’d use a line that stuck with me. Unfortunately, this one did. It does illustrate exactly what you can expect from the title in both content and theme. The author appears to write mostly books in the world of Oz. I know a little bit about the world L. Frank Baum, having read a few of the original books, and watched the movie like any Good Witch would. Not technically a Friend of Dorothy, but I can claim to be a friend of a Friend.
You are a commoner in the world of Oz, with aspirations to become a replacement for one of the two Witches ‘offed by the Kansas tourist’, per the author. The story follows in a slapdash affair with the meeting of famous characters from the Wizard of Oz, or pretty continual references to the characters like the Cowardly Lion and the Scarecrow. That theme is really interesting and could carry a story, but the story itself often felt like some of my old assignments did in school, racing to meet a required number of words.
Format and Typos:
Readability was very low. Quite a few typos, including the one in the quote from above, were present. I don’t know if this was done with intent beyond padding word count, but it felt like everything that was said was repeated at least once. Sometimes immediately after… looking at you, quote from above.
Game Mechanics and Stats:
The author, in a response to the announcement thread, said that the fact there was no Stats screen was purposeful. The game tracks Good and Wicked points, and displays them periodically throughout the story. Actions add either of these points to a total, and the ending is influenced by which is higher. There does not appear to be any form of stat checks other than that. It felt like a simplified point-and-click with a ‘you must have this item from earlier’ to proceed.
Good or wicked. Mostly, the replayability seems limited and it would be just to see what descriptions occur behind the choices. I don’t think you are kept from choosing either in response to anything, no matter which witch you choose to be. No romance options are available in the game.
Many typos, and formatting made it difficult to parse. Reported a few, so they may not be there by the time you read it.
Did you miss what was said a page ago? No worries, it will be repeated multiple times on the next few pages.
Bad ends are hand-wavy and drop you back off to make a different choice at a previous slot.
It’s obvious the author knows their Oz.
There is some grade-A pun work. Shout out to the Seers and Rogue-bucks catalog that the witches buy their pantyhose from.
The artwork for the chapter intros was actually really nice, and evoked the storybook feel.
”This is a genuine occult artifact. The best place for it is your sock drawer.”
If this sounds like something you have heard while sitting around a table playing D&D, you have a pretty good idea of what this title is going to read like. I felt like I was playing single-player D&D with a kid fresh out of middle-school running the table. Considering the first few pages and choices of the game, I’m not sure I wasn’t. And you know what? That isn’t a bad thing.
You are a kid living a very British (I’m American, so pardon) life in a very British town, eating very British food who finds a very British ‘genuine occult artifact’. I know everything is very British because Google Sheets keeps putting red lines under ‘neighbourhood’, ‘colour’, and ‘centre’. The story follows in a very irreverent way as you choose how to use your newfound powers for good or evil and determine what becomes of the very British town. Will you raise your town’s spirits? Yes. Is that a pun? Maybe.
Format and Typos:
This is an earlier choice title before they settled on their preferred format, so it doesn’t seem quite as polished as some of the CoG current releases. Aside from that, it was very readable. I didn’t notice any typos, and no grammar issues stuck out.
Game Mechanics and Stats:
This is the first title I’ve reviewed that relied on statistics, and checks against them. While there aren’t many stats, they weren’t always the clearest in what choice was checking what stat. This actually wasn’t a super big issue, because for the most part the stats were fairly generous in both the amount given, and what number you’d need to succeed by. You have some personal stats, and you maintain a number of your necromantic horde. Game often checks against your Humanity or Corruption stat, but these aren’t an opposed pair. Finally, the game tracks how ‘visible’ you are as a necromancer, and can change how you interact with choices.
Seems like you might be able to get a couple of runs through the game without issue. Expect different results depending on your Humanity or Corruption, and you do get a few chances at branching points. There are two romance options, both are gender-variable and one is missable. This seems like a good game to chase down achievements with, as well.
You can try to be subtle, but it seems like there is no way for the world to not learn who you are.
The romance options feel like they were mostly included so you could say it had them.
Events were super-episodic, and didn’t really feel like there was a cohesive ‘beginning-to-end’ arc. The story felt like it was being made up on the fly, but again, very tabletop.
Some hilarious writing. “It is a sort of day care centre for bigots which also offers haircuts.”
Loved the creativity of the intro, and how it presented character set-up.
Doesn’t wear out its welcome. The game is quick and handles pace decently.
As a heads up, I could not find an announcement post for the game, so I’ve linked to the one below. Some of the content in it is spoilery.
Seems I missed this. Was just working from the website list. Might still look into it anyway, but may not include it in this series. Thanks for the heads up, I’m sure it would have been super confusing by that point.
“You prepare your light machine gun and point it at the door, then you pull the trigger until you’ve run out of ammo. BANG BANG BANG BANG BANG! BANG BANG BANG BANG BANG! BANG BANG BANG BANG BANG! BANG BANG BANG BANG BANG! BANG BANG BANG BANG BANG! BANG BANG BANG BANG BANG! BANG BANG BANG BANG BANG! BANG BANG BANG BANG BANG! BANG BANG BANG BANG BANG! BANG BANG BANG BANG BANG! BANG BANG BANG BANG BANG! BANG BANG BANG BANG BANG! BANG BANG BANG BANG BANG! BANG BANG BANG BANG BANG! BANG BANG BANG BANG BANG! BANG BANG BANG BANG BANG! BANG BANG BANG BANG BANG! BANG BANG BANG BANG BANG! BANG BANG BANG BANG BANG! BANG BANG BANG BANG BANG! CLICK…”
Ever want to be Jason Statham, or take his place in a movie? Here you go. Mix one part Transporter, one part Crank, two parts The Bank Job, a pinch of The Expendables and half-bake it for a while. And voila! A raw slab of interactive fiction with a whole lot of complexity, potential and entertainment. Oh, and business jeans. Bon appétit!
You are an up-and-coming criminal, who might have a heart of gold and maybe a badge, recruited by The Archangels, a gang with a possibly noble purpose but a shadowy past. You are placed in charge of a ragtag group of misfits (that you actually get to choose) and sent on various heists. You get to plan them, buy equipment to help, execute them to… perfection? All the while, a loose mystery surrounds the ‘Big Three’, a small group who seem to be your direct bosses that never show their face. All this within the first entry of an expected series.
This story oozes with style, and feels like you are playing an extended heist movie throughout. All the twists and turns, even some of them perpetrated by your selected background.
The focus on the heist motif and action does make the plot feel breakneck at times, but that’s almost to its benefit. You’ve heard of a popcorn flick, this might be the interactive fiction equivalent.
Format and Typos:
For the most part, it’s always pretty easy to follow what is going on. Readability only takes a hit when things start getting complex, during certain stat checks or in instances like above where the game actually checks how many bullets you still have left when you choose to empty your drum. Though, I’m still not too sure if I like or dislike it. Definitely stuck with me.
Game Mechanics and Stats:
Everything in this game is pretty much based on a system you’ll be familiar with if you are mildly familiar with tabletop. There is a random chance based on a D20 modified by your character’s skills and equipment that you will pass or fail a check. Difficulties modify this even further by adding or subtracting based on a ‘luck’ stat. It’s hard to completely fail, but there are some failstates that will have you reloading to the beginning of the chapter. Inventory is managed through a pretty clunky menu system based on having to handle accessories for optimization. Honestly, you can get by on some of the lower difficulties without messing with it at all. It’s never difficult to understand what stat you’ll be checking because the game labels options clearly.
I have played this game many times before this review, and could still probably go back through it another twenty or thirty times. There is a lot of replayability, between difficulties, romantic options (there are a lot), weapon customization and optimization, who is in your crew (which affects what side stories you experience), and on top of all that? A New Game+ feature that offers additional story content and a boosted start. I’m probably going to play it one more time after this review anyway.
Blink-and-you’ll-miss-it moments with characters that seem like they’ll be super important, but don’t feature in the story for long enough. This is the first in a series, so this might just be an issue with this title.
For as complex as the inventory system is, it is still frustrating to have to buy a weapon, accessorize it, do a mission, and then find out you have access to a better weapon option now, and have to go through the super clunky shop systems again.
Some romance options can be hidden or visibly locked behind either circumstance or chance.
Romances work, even if they aren’t the focus.
I cannot choose a canon run. There are too many interesting options and paths. That’s a good problem to have.
There are a good amount of minor interesting things that can make you grin. Taco trucks and kitties!
If I know there is a WIP for a sequel, I’ll include the link to the forum page here in the future. If you know there is a CoG forum link for a sequel and I don’t, let me know! I’ll add it.
Your review of BREACH made me finally want to play it I’ve known about the game for a long time but I guess the summary wasn’t enough to interest me? But this review is a lot more detailed and I’m surprised that it’s so cool
Your post for Breach: The Archangel Job I found to be spot on. As someone that is an avid player of CoG, HG, and Hearts Choice games, I am quite intrigued by your concept to give your take on whatever game you played. As for Breach: The Archangel Job, I find myself in the same boat as you. The game was and is quite excellently done. Thank you so much for your opinion and reviews.