I.A.G. Alpha, by Serhii Mozhaiskyi. The first* metafictional game of this comp. A neat new idea for some puzzles, deliberately inviting the user to break the game (in very constrained and well-telegraphed ways), but it was a little incomplete-feeling. And not because it was intentionally about an incomplete game. Just that right when I'd gotten into the swing of how the puzzles worked, I ran out of them, and solved the last one before I thought I had. One more puzzle, or a little more of the original storyline, or a little more of the "author"'s story. But still, quite a lot of fun.
* Well, second, but I missed that there was a place in +=x that qualified.
Eunice, by Gita Ryaboy. This little fantasy quest was half classic quest (complete with what felt like an obvious Zork homage), and helf self-help book. The two made an awkward marriage at times -- some scenes felt like missed opportunities -- the scene with the dancers, if it had described the movement more joyfully, might have really felt like something changed. More evocative language, I guess? It felt didactic, and that threw me out of the story. A couple of puzzles were not well telegraphed, leading to one near-the-end guess-the-noun that I never would have come across without hints.
Shackles of Control, by Sly Merc. The introductory hook had me, despite the classic, often overused school setting. It just needed more room to breathe -- I hit what I think was the best ending first, and far too quickly. I'd also suggest that if there are endings you really *don't* want the player to give, the conceit that a lot of similar games use is to display the "bad end" and then a "But you didn't actually do that" link, rather than requiring the user to go back to the beginning just to see the silly bad-ends. (The longer silly bad-ends, like the detective one, though, were worth restarting for.) It's a very quick game, and if you're not bothered by typos and uneven pacing, amusing.
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