MathBrush's Choice of Games Reviews [Now Complete!]

MathBrush (AKA Brian Rushton, who wrote In the Service of Mrs. Claus) has started on reviewing all of the Choice of Games titles. You can see his full progress here.
What I really like about the reviews is, as a writer, Mathbrush often has a clear insight into the aspects that worked or didn’t work, and why. At last count he was 19 games in:

Crème de la Crème , by Hannah Powell-Smith
Yeti’s Parole Officer , by KT Bryski
The Martian Job , by M. Darusha Wehm
Treasure Seekers of Lady Luck , by Christopher Brendel
Cannonfire Concerto , by Caleb Wilson
Thieves’ Gambit: The Curse of the Black Cat , by Dana Duffield
180 Files: The Aegis Project , by Karelia Hall
Affairs of the Court: Choice of Romance , by Heather Albano and Adam Strong-Morse
Choice of the Ninja , by Katherine Buffington
MetaHuman Inc. , by Paul Gresty
Choice of Broadsides , by Adam Strong-Morse, Heather Albano, and Dan Fabulich
Werewolves: Haven Rising , by Jeffrey Dean
Werewolves 2: Pack Mentality , by Jeffrey Dean
Choice of the Star Captain , by Dorian Hart
Trials of the Thief-Taker , by Joey Jones
Pendragon Rising , by Ian Thomas
Reckless Space Pirates , by Rachel Zakuta
For Rent: Haunted House , by Gavin Inglis
Choice of Kung Fu , by Alana Joli Abbott

New Reviews as of 20/8:
The Fleet , by Jonathan Valuckas
Choice of the Cat , by Jordan Reyne
The Superlatives: Aetherfall , by Alice Ripley
The Superlatives: Shattered Worlds , by Alice Ripley
Gilded Rails , by Anaea Lay
The Hero Unmasked! , by Christopher Huang
Blood Money , by Hannah Powell-Smith

New Reviews as of 17/9:
Ratings War , by Eddy Webb
Kidnapped! A Royal Birthday , by Charles Battersby
Neighbourhood Necromancer , by Gavin Inglis
A Squire’s Tale , by Benjamin Appleby-Dean
Heroes Rise: The Prodigy , by Zachary Sergi
The Hero Project: Redemption Season , by Zachary Sergi
Heroes Rise: HeroFall , by Zachary Sergi
Demon Mark: A Russian Saga , by Lorraine Fryer and Vladimir Barash
7th Sea: A Pirate’s Pact , by Danielle Lauzon
Choice of the Petal Throne , by Danielle Goudeau
Psy High , by Rebecca Slitt
Heart of the House , by Nissa Campbell
Champion of the Gods , by Jonathan Valuckas
The Last Monster Master , by Ben Serviss
Congresswolf , by Ellen Cooper
Psy High 2: High Summer , by Rebecca Slitt

New Reviews as of 17/01/21
Heroes Rise: The Hero Project , by Zachary Sergi
Exile of the Gods , by Jonathan Valuckas
NOLA Is Burning , by Claudia Starling
The Hero of Kendrickstone , by Paul Wang
The Cryptkeepers of Hallowford , by Paul Wang
Diabolical , by Nick Aires
Vampire: The Masquerade — Night Road , by Kyle Marquis
Fool! , by Ben Rovik
Jolly Good: Cakes and Ale , by Kreg Segall
Fox Spirit: A Two-Tailed Adventure , by Amy Clare Fontaine
Ironheart , by Lee Williams
Empyrean , by Kyle Marquis
The Magician’s Workshop , by Kate Heartfield
Choice of Rebels: Uprising , by Joel Havenstone
The Road to Canterbury , by Kate Heartfield
Tower Behind the Moon , by Kyle Marquis
Silverworld , by Kyle Marquis
A Midsummer Night’s Choice , by Kreg Segall
Light Years Apart , by Anaea Lay
Stronghold: A Hero’s Fate , by Amy Griswold and Jo Graham
Luminous Underground , by Phoebe Barton
An Odyssey: Echoes of War , by Natalia Theodoridou
To the City of the Clouds , by Catherine Bailey
Choice of Zombies , by Heather Albano and Richard Jackson
Saga of the North Wind , by Tom Knights

New Reviews as of 01/04/21
T-Rex Time Machine , by Rosemary Claire Smith
Heroes of Myth , by Abigail C. Trevor
Mask of the Plague Doctor , by Peter Parrish
Pon Para and the Great Southern Labyrinth , by Kyle Marquis
I, Cyborg , by Tracy Canfield
Asteroid Run: No Questions Asked , by Fay Ikin
Fate of the Storm Gods , by Bendi Barrett
Death Collector , by Jordan Reyne
A Wise Use of Time , by Jim Dattilo
Chronicon Apocalyptica , by Robert Davis
Mecha Ace , by Paul Wang
The Mysteries of Baroque , by William Brown
Blackstone Academy for the Magical Arts , by Alana Joli Abbott
Sword of the Slayer , by S. Andrew Swann
Weyrwood , by Isabella Shaw
Drag Star! , by Evan J. Peterson
Zip! Speedster of Valiant City , by Eric Moser
Fog of War: The Battle for Cerberus , by Bennett R. Coles
Broadway: 1849 , by Robert Davis
Runt of the Litter , by Kelly Sandoval
Welcome to Moreytown , by S. Andrew Swann
The ORPHEUS Ruse , by Paul Gresty
It’s Killing Time , by Eric Bonholtzer
Undercover Agent , by Naomi Laeuchli
VERSUS: The Lost Ones , by Zachary Sergi
VERSUS: The Elite Trials , by Zachary Sergi
Avatar Of The Wolf , by Bendi Barrett
The Fielder’s Choice , by Nathaniel Edwards
Sixth Grade Detective , by Laura Hughes
HMS Foraker , by Paul Wang
Choice of the Rock Star , by Jonathan Zimmerman
The Daring Mermaid Expedition , by Andrea Phillips
Showdown at Willow Creek , by Alana Joli Abbott
Choice of the Pirate , by Alana Joli Abbott
The Hero Project: Redemption Season , by Zachary Sergi
The Hero Project: Open Season , by Zachary Sergi
Grand Academy II: Attack of the Sequel , by Katherine Nehring
Sky Pirates of Actorius , by Kyle Marquis
Creatures Such As We , by Lynnea Glasser
Choice of the Vampire , by Jason Stevan Hill


This is pretty cool! Reviews outside of selling platforms increase COG visibility.


More than that, game reviews on selling platforms are mostly not very good. There’s often very little critical depth beyond whether or not x game has y desired feature. My hobbyist games have received more critical analysis than anything I’ve done commercially.


As a means of gathering feedback, unless you are experienced at panning the gold from the silt, reviews on platforms are often worse than useless… especially if you rely on them exclusively.

Brian is performing a needed service for the authors of both CoG and HG. I hope this is but a start of a trend that grows.


That is great! Will he do reviews of Hosted Games titles as well? I’m curious about his opinion on titles like Fallen Hero: Rebirth and The Aegis Saga.


I’m glad I can be of help! I’ve loved Choice of Games for years, and I’ve loved reviewing for years, so its a lot fun.

On IFDB (the site I’m posting them on), two other reviewers have reviewed Choicescript games since I started posting reviews:

I received review copies of the games (because I have a track record of being able to review a lot of games in short time), so it would depend if I could get access to the Hosted Games. Also, I may have to slow down because I’m a high school teacher and things are getting pretty busy, so I don’t know how soon I’d be able to get to them. But one day I’d like to play and review everything!


This is super cool! Will you also be doing this with Hosted Games? Will I learn how to read all the comments in a thread before asking questions? Who knows?!


Is it possible to learn this power?


Thank you for doing that! You always leave really helpful reviews on the games you play :slight_smile:

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I have update the OP as there have been seven more reviews. One of the interesting things that come out of this wide-ranging overview is the breadth in the types of CoG titles. From the simulationist (like The Fleet), to ones with strong narrative arcs (like The Hero Unmasked!), or ones where the focus is on power fantasy (like Choice of Kung Fu).


I’m up to about 54 games now, and wow the further I go the more enjoyable it is. You really get a feel for the games and what to expect, how to strategize. For instance, at first I always played as an honorable character, but some of the most fun I’ve had is being a bloodthirsty rampaging monster. I haven’t hit any real duds yet either.

When I finish, I plan on doing a post that summarizes ‘what I learned’, which I hope is helpful to people. Doing all this has also made me appreciate the price point of the games more. Heart of the house was huge, but it’s only $6. I was trying to buy the novel The Haunting of Hill House for Kindle today and it was $12! Text games may be over faster than graphical games but the story lives in your head forever, just like books.


'Tis the way.


I’ve always enjoyed your reviews and it’s so cool to see your thoughts on more ChoiceScript games! I’m waiting with bated breath for a broad look at what you learned from playing a wide range - your thoughts on broad trends are always insightful!


Completely off topic here, but was looking at your reviews and realised your wrote Swigian. (I had no idea that was you since you wrote it under an alias! Liked that game :smile:)

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Thanks! You might be interested in the story of how it came about: Swigian - An Epistolary Postmortem - #10 by Sargent - IFComp - The Interactive Fiction Community Forum

I basically did the same thing with parser games that I’m doing now with Choicescript: playing all of them and coming up with a theory about ‘what makes them good’. Swigian was a test of that.

Of course I won’t be able to write a ‘test’ Choicescript game for my theories because it would have to be long and I could barely write 160K in 2 years for my last game :sob:


So what you’re saying is you tried to speed write a game to do poorly as an experiment, but people still liked it anyway :grin: I don’t want to muddy your thread any more, but although it’s been a while since I read it, from memory I thought it seemed very deliberately written in that style and suited the understanding that you were seeing things from the perspective of Grendal. Probably my familiarity with Beowulf and the fact I don’t remember getting really stuck anywhere helped too.


I have updated the OP, as he’s now 42 reviews in. I was particularly left with an interest in playing Heart of the House, a title I had overlooked but which sounds phenomenal.


Thanks for updating it, you made me realize I posted the review for Heroes Rise: The Hero Project on the wrong page. I’ll fix that (I put it on the Redemption page!)


Do Exile of the Gods next!


Sure thing! Loved the first one, so it’ll be fun. I don’t have the key for that one, so I’ll send an email. Thanks for the suggestion!