These reviews are for the games in the IF Library Interactive Fiction Competition. I play/review as many games as possible depending on my current platform (windows or linux); this means tads, inform, hugo and usually also alan, adrift, quest, and windows/msdos executables. When I'm on a windows machine I use multimedia interpreters where appropriate.
I've sorted games into three categories, "highly recommended" (the best of the competition), "recommended" (worth the time spent playing), and "not recommended" (not worth playing); and then sorted the games alphabetically within those categories. I've put an asterisk (*) by some games that were difficult to categorize or when the categorization feels extremely subjective; you may want to read the review before deciding whether to play them.
Some of these reviews may contain minor spoilers. Unfortunately, for some games, even knowing that there is a spoiler in the review may itself be a spoiler. I don't know what to do about this short of the Magic Amnesia Stick. If you have the time and inclination, I recommend playing the games first, but if not, go ahead and read the reviews. Nothing major is spoiled.
If a game was entered by proxy or under a pseudonym, the actual author is listed afterwards in square brackets.
Dwenodon (Gary Shannon) TADS 2:
This game is the first installment in a series of generic-fantasy-world games (or, as the intro puts it, "The First Element of the Cycle of Joining"), and that's both good news and bad news for its design. On the upside, the starting village is big, and Shannon clearly has it well-fleshed-out, at least in his mind. It's got a bunch of places you can wander around, things you can explore, people who are your friends, places you can't understand, etc. But this works against the gameplay when I'm trying to find anything in this huge-ass anonymous village. Having lots of shops doesn't really help me when virtually none of them are useful now. The same kind of broad-vision-limited-execution affects the rest of the game too. The magic system, for instance, is cool, but the opportunities to use it seem extremely limited. It's great to have this whole epic plot mapped out but it's annoying to be able to only interact with a fraction of it. Finally, the game's got some serious bumps, both in coding and in writing. Nothing fatal, but stuff like your buddy teleporting in to the same room as you, even when it's your bedroom; or the moneylender who runs in terror from you over and over again, between the same two rooms, tend to make it a bit tricky to get as into the story as I'd like. The game also has a hunger puzzle, which adds nothing to the game except tedium and a penalty for trying to explore.
Still, it's a good effort, and I'm looking forward to part 2 (or part 3, depending on how one finishes up this version).
Lazy Gods of Earth (Stark Springs [Stark Springs]) Glulx:
Passing Familiarity (Papillon [Papillon]) TADS 2:
And that's all. For other IF-related things, including many more reviews, you can go to my main IF page.