healyg: (aww)
[personal profile] healyg
Hello, all and sundry! We're in the final stretch of the IF Comp judging period, so I'll be reviewing one game a day until Saturday, November 14th. (That's an extra 4 reviews!) Up next, it's Steph Cherrywell's Brain Guzzlers from Beyond!

Brain Guzzlers from Beyond! (the exclamation point is very important) is a 50s sci-fi parody starring a young Bonnie Noodleman, who finds herself embroiled in a interstellar imbroglio when her boyfriend gets snatched by one of the eponymous brain guzzlers early one morning. She'll be up against deadbeat beat cops, a snobby festival queen, and mean ol' beatniks in her quest to save the town of Canyonville's brains.


Steph Cherrywell infuses Brain Guzzlers with a whip-smart sense of humor. I knew I was going to like this game when I read the town's history in the yearbook I found; it's one of the meanest, funniest bits of writing I've encountered all Comp season. The character writing is pretty great, too; by the end of the game nearly everyone you meet has shown some surprising (and funny) side to themselves. Some of the jokes about the hokey 50s small town setting didn't work for me as well, but because the other elements of the writing were so good, it didn't bother me.

Brain Guzzlers from Beyond! is a pretty classic puzzly parser IF, in the same tradition as Arrival by Stephen Granade, Earth and Sky by Paul O'Brian, or Lost Pig by Admiral Jota, although it runs a bit longer than those games. There were a few puzzles I found frustrating (like the one with the goat, or the coffee mug), and I resorted to the walthrough more than I would like to finish the game under the two hour time limit, but I otherwise found them enjoyable, and would recommend the game to anyone who has a hankering for old school/middle school parser IF.


Conclusion: Brain Guzzlers from Beyond! is a very funny and sometimes sweet romp through old B-Movie cliches. A top 3 contender this year for sure. (And yes, I realize I said that about at least 3 other games so far.
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