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Master of the House
What does AIF stand for? Adult Interactive Fiction. If you likely to be offended by games with sexual content, you are advised not to open these files.
Let's get some bookkeeping things out of the way first. Since ExLibris has gone on vacation, there is something of a need for people willing to write in-depth reviews. I don't really want to fill that role, sometimes I just don't have the patience to, but I will the best I can. The point of these semi-reviews is not to give recommendations for the AIF community on what to play, although that might be a happy accident. I'm really writing these for the authors, a little acknowledgement that writing AIF games is difficult, and that every game at least deserves a serious response even if it doesn't get one. Even if I write a bad review, it's not to crush the author but just to show that someone took it seriously enough to think about it.
Of course, that wasn't a prelude to me reviewing Master of the House badly. This is a positive review, I really like Master of the House, though I must admit I didn't finish it for reasons out of the author's control. It is a highly-refined sex romp, in the sense the gameplay elements are really well thought out and breaks a bit of new ground. And, to boot, it has good writing. An important thing in text games. In any case, this review is months overdue already, so let's get into it.
The story is nothing to write home about. A young man goes on a quest to become the "Master of the House", an ubermencsh with a harem of sex slaves. Including your own family, of course. An absolute fuckton of incest ensues as you assume your rightful place as the alpha male. None of the characters are particularly deep, but they are entertaining and distinctive, and Abby's determination to make you into a sex god is rather endearing.
MOH has the an odd honor in that much of the sex scenes are threesomes, with Abby often joining you in your antics. This is an impressive feat indeed, considering how difficult it is to write threesomes. There are few throwaway descriptions, and Minterlint never seems to fall into common pitfalls of writing sex scenes. Grammar is sometimes off ("You're hand is never leaving my pussy!!") but it's rarely frequent enough to be distracting. A+.
The biggest issue in these sex scenes is the frustrating disambiguation. It's distracting to have to write "rub abby's tits" all the time instead of just writing "rub tits". It gets even worse, of course, when there are more than two characters. "Abby lick Paige's pussy" is almost more trouble than its worth. This seems to be common in games written with Adrift, but I've played Adrift games that didn't have these issues either. An improvement here would make a huge difference.
Much of the game is about exploring the house, and the exploration stuff is a mixed bag. It's fun finding hidden things, but the fact you're forced to use the "search" command makes exploration more arduous than it needs to be, especially since that's the only way you can find some things needed to progress the game. This is all exacerbated by MOH's big ass map. Shouldn't examining be enough? On the other hand, "collecting" sex moves is really creative and really links the exploration mechanics with the sex stuff in a cool way.
After you've found the requisite items, the puzzles are nice. They usually involve a little more than just giving someone the right items without being illogical, gamey, or overly complicated. Because I'm shit at puzzles, of course, I had to use a walkthrough, but I can easily imagine getting through it (eventually!) without one.
MOH is just a nice romp. It's not the most brilliant thing ever made, but it's damn fun at what it does. I'll finish it eventually, I want to see how it ramps up toward the end, but my playtime so far has been disjointed because of other commitments, and it's hard to get back into IF games once you haven't played it in a month.
Reviews should be considered copyrighted by their respective authors.
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