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Author: A. Ninny
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.
Reviewed by Grimm Sharlak
This sequel to the classic Moist finds the player returning to the Queen Morghana’s castle, this time by invitation, to attempt to lift a curse that has befallen it’s inhabitants. Ever since the earthquake that occurred at the beginning of Moist, there have been no further visitors, and the four ladies therein are trapped, unless you can put a stop to the decay and give the ladies something they haven’t had in a long time…
Moist is a classic in the AIF genre, and as such A. Ninny is taking on quite a challenge. While he has full permission from the original author, Scarlet Herring, the real question is will this game live up to the original in the eyes of the AIF community, especially considering that the first game came out over a decade ago.
When you first enter the castle, you find an empire that has fallen. Dust coats every surface, the women you can find are either lackadaisical, neurotic or in the case of the maid, practically
zombies. Your task seems quite daunting at first; even the Queen herself can barely give you any hints, unable to get out of bed.
The structure of the game is fairly straightforward; solve the problems of each of the Queen’s retainers and pleasure them so they can recommend you to the Queen, just like the first Moist. However, in this case you’re freeing each from their own problems, rather than just trying to impress the Queen, giving each puzzle a little more weight. That each character is an old favourite to someone encourages the player even more.
The puzzles are never too taxing, with logical steps and logical outcomes. The only area I truly had trouble with was Kim’s craps game, but that was more due to me diving in headfirst rather than looking things over. They may have to take away my AIF Game Reviewer badge when they found out that prodigious abuse of the UNDO command got me through that one…
However, this ease of the puzzles mean that the game time is short, which is in keeping with the original game.
The sex in Malaise is an interesting experience, while it mostly takes the form of straight up male-female scenes you’d see in most AIF, A. Ninny has programmed the player with a dildo and vibrator from the outset, adding some extra options to each scene. Not to mention the scenes with Ilsa, the Queen’s bodyguard!
Speaking of Ilsa, the only gripe with the sex scenes comes from the occasional lack of interactivity. At certain points with the Queen, and definitely with Ilsa, the player loses all control of the situation and it becomes more like reading erotic fiction than playing a game, especially after the fifth time in a row that you’re told that your input is ignored. This may irk some players whose main attraction to AIF is to direct the scene, but that’s not to say these scenes aren’t well written or enjoyable.
Over the course of reviewing this course, I had the opportunity to play both the pre-release version and all subsequent release versions. Needless to say, every time I came across a bug, it was resolved in short order. In the end, while the pre-release version still had the occasional bug (none that were game-stopping) version 1.2 is practically bug free.
I would recommend that if you have not played Moist in a while, or have a memory as terrible as mine, to play the two games back-to-back. A lot of Malaise’s appeal comes from recognisable characters and settings, so playing them one after another will not only help this, but may aid you in a puzzle or two as well.
Speaking of puzzles, the hint system is similar to Moist’s in that each hint is encrypted. While this may frustrate the impatient player, the encryption is quite simple, and after a little while you should be able to recognize certain common letters easily.
In the end, Malaise is a worthy sequel to Moist. It’s certainly not trying to break the mould, both in regards to the original game and AIF in general, but everything it attempts it does well. An enjoyable game that’s highly recommended for both those who have played the original and those that haven’t.
Reviews should be considered copyrighted by their respective authors.
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