The Excavation of Hob’s Barrow

Developer: Cloak and Dagger
Publisher: Wadjet Eye
Year: 2022
Platform: PC, Mac, Linux

Rating: 4

If as a child you ever agonizingly picked your way through a bland dinner just so you could get dessert, then you’ll have a good idea what it’s like to play The Excavation of Hob’s Barrow. The good news is that with this latest point-and-click pixel art adventure from Cloak and Dagger Games (and publisher Wadjet Eye), there’s a three-layer chocolate mousse waiting for you at the end.

Continue reading The Excavation of Hob’s Barrow

Heavy Rain

Developer: Quantic Dream
Publisher: Sony
Year: 2010
Platform: Windows; PS3; PS4

Rating: 5

Holy shit.

It’s been a long time since I played a game and, immediately after credits roll, began talking to all my friends who had played it. I had also done so with Quantic Dream’s previous adventure game, Fahrenheit. And Heavy Rain makes that game look amateurish.

Continue reading Heavy Rain

Hoyle’s Official Book of Games: Volume 1

Developer: Sierra
Year: 1989
Genre: Card Games
Platform: DOS, Amiga, Atari ST, Mac

Rating: 6

Sierra’s foray into casual games was hit and miss, but the first book of games was a solid effort. This was the first time I played cards on the computer and this got a lot of playtime when I was a kid. Thought there’s little reason outside novelty to play it today.

Continue reading Hoyle’s Official Book of Games: Volume 1

The Impossible Bottle

Author: Linus Åkesson
Year: 2020
Development System: Dialog
Cruelty Rating: Merciful
Length Of Play: 3-4 hours

My Rating: 8

Awards: 1st Place: 26th Annual Interactive Fiction Competition;
Best Puzzles, Best Individual Puzzles, Best Implementation, Best Use of Innovation: 2020 XYZZY Awards

What initially appears to be a charming slice-of-life about a six year-old girl helping her dad get ready for a dinner party turns into a old-school puzzlefest with an extraordinary mechanic that I’m embarrassed to admit I needed the in-game hints to even discover. Discovering the mechanic is part of the fun so I won’t spoil it here. I’ll just say it involves changing things in your environment with some magical thinking.

Continue reading The Impossible Bottle

Necrotic Drift

Author: Robb Sherwin
Year: 2004
Development System: Hugo
Cruelty Rating: Tough (save frequently and you’re fine)
Length Of Play: 2-3 hours

My Rating: 5

Awards: Best Individual NPC — 2004 XYZZY Awards

I fell in love with New Haz and its universe while playing Sherwin’s Fallacy of Dawn. The story in Necrotic Drift occurs mostly in a nearby town with an entirely different cast, though frequent references are made to the events in the first game. And while this entry into the series is more focused, I unfortunately found myself missing New Haz and its citizens.

Continue reading Necrotic Drift

A Change in the Weather

Author: Andrew Plotkin
Year: 1995
Development System: Inform
Cruelty Rating: Cruel
Length Of Play: 2-4 hours, depending on how quickly you look up a walkthrough

My Rating: 7

Awards: 1st Place: 1st Annual Interactive Fiction Competition

>hint
That’s now how life works.


And so sets the mood for A Change in the Weather: dark, dreary, and unforgiving.

I tried this a couple of times in my youth and could not get into it. I think knowing going in that you could lock the game out victory near constantly kept me from immersing myself in the world. I recently gave it another shot and I’m glad I did.

Continue reading A Change in the Weather

The Elysium Enigma

Author: Eric Eve
Year: 2006
Development System: TADS3
Cruelty Rating: Polite
Length Of Play: 2-3 hours

My Rating: 5

Awards: 3rd Place: 12th Interactive Fiction Competition; Best Game, Best Individual NPC: 2006 XYZZY Awards

The Elysium Enigma is a competently made game that easily drew me into its world of intergalactic politics and subterfuge and I eagerly rushed through it. Unfortunately, the story and plot turns were unsatisfying and I felt like a spy left out in the cold.

Continue reading The Elysium Enigma

Trilby’s Notes

Developer: Fully Ramblomatic
Publisher: Fully Ramblomatic
Year: 2006
Platform: Windows

Score: 5

The third game in Yahtzee Croshaw’s Chzo series, this game brings back Trilby himself but in a slightly different manner than in 5 Days a Stranger. The results are mixed, but it’s a refreshing change of pace and a solid entry for fans of the series.

Continue reading Trilby’s Notes