Critical Acclaim

This is a growing collection of some of the nice things people have said about my writing in the press. I've included links to the original reviews where possible, in case you don't believe me.

The Swapper
"One of the most emotional and thought-provoking stories I've experienced in quite some time[...] Very few puzzle games have ever managed to marry impeccable challenges with a mature storytelling quite like this."
IGN

"The Swapper's plot begins as a seemingly standard space story complete with a mysteriously vague stranger talking nonsense about who knows what. It quickly turns into a philosophical debate about metaphysics that, despite its complex ideas, is surprisingly easy to follow. It seems a bit strange and obtuse at first, but as the pieces fall into place the story becomes one of the most thought-provoking and interesting stories in a long time."


FTL
"If they can keep updating FTL with new scenarios, new spaceships and new stories with the same intelligence and restraint, we could well be seeing the birth of a future classic."
Eurogamer

"More than any other game I've played, more than the incredibly complex X series, more than the fanboy-titillating Star Trek: Bridge Commander, FTL made me feel like I was in command of a starship. Or, rather, a series of constantly exploding starships."
Destructoid

"Most playthroughs of FTL end the same way, but this pulse-poundingly vital, consistently surprising game manages to make death feel like merely the beginning of another great adventure."
Polygon

Ir/rational Redux
"The puzzles are based around logical reasoning, and like all the best puzzles they leave you feeling smart when you solve them. The whole thing is neatly put together, with polished visuals, an eerie soundtrack and some good jokes."
Eurogamer, 23rd July 2012

"It’s a fantastic concept. A game in which you’re not looking for the solution to the puzzles – it gives you those. But rather you must prove that the answer is correct. To do this you embrace the precise world of logic[...] It’s nicely presented, with witty silliness all around the puzzles, and a decent ending too."
Rock, Paper Shotgun, 27th July 2012

"No doubt the central premise of ir/rational Redux could have come off as incredibly dry, but overall this is a supremely engaging work. A unique brand of dark philosophical humor is present throughout, and the puzzles manage the right balance of posing a challenge to advanced logicians, while remaining welcoming to the novice[...] You truly get the feeling that you're playing a game that's something different and something special."
JayisGames, 14th July 2012

Basic philosophical logic, the type you might encounter in an entry-level Western philosophy course, can seem more obtuse than sophisticated. The Philosophy 101 logic puzzles in ir/rational redux capture this mind-bending mix of high-minded intellectual acumen and “isn’t that obvious?” simplicity.
Gameological, July 2012

Binary Domain
"...downtime reveals another unusual distinction of the game, for its genre at least; it feels like it's been written by adults, with set-ups and face-offs that havean ease of reference and a ready wit."
Eurogamer, 24th February 2012

"I did grow fond of Binary Domain’s characters. They’re a likable bunch, and the game is surprisingly low on military grunt stereotyping."
GameInformer, 29th February 2012

"Binary Domain is a wonderfully written tale. Binary Domain‘s writers hail from all around the world, much like the game’s characters. Tsuyoshi Furuta, Anthony Johnston and Tom Jubert have worked separately on some of the biggest games of recent years... It’s great to see such a polished game from three different writers – it’s clear that they work well as a team, and this is reflected in the game’s sterling plot."
BnBGaming, 26th February 2012

"...a very well written narrative with some genuinely gripping moments interspersed throughout the experience. The characters feel distinct and real."
PlaystationLifestyle, 6th March 2012

"Written by Tsuyoshi Fututa, Anthony Johnston and Tom Jubert – a trio who’ve previously helped to craft Dead Space, Yakuza: Dead Souls and Driver: San Francisco between them – Binary Domain... centres around a sub-section of androids who look entirely human... These droids are intermittently used (ingeniously) to define your character Dan Marshall, and it’s a testament to the exceptional script that you’ll probably wish that moral choices were employed during those moments."
ZavviBlog, 29th February 2012


Driver: San Francisco

"It's weird, but it's also engaging, surprising, and superbly acted, with a fantastic script that borrows more from magical realism than film noir."
Joystiq, 6th September 2011

"Driver: San Francisco's story is thoroughly ridiculous, but it's so refreshingly unique that one can't help but admire the foolishness."
Destructoid, 5th October 2011

"The little vignettes are well-written and carry the light-hearted tone the rest of the production exudes. It works to provide a fun, fly-on-the-wall perspective, when most games would be happy to just give you a list of missions to play."

GameShark, 22nd September 2011

"...the worthier part of Driver's narrative lies in the huge amount of skits that are scattered around the city... These expose you to the real stars of Driver. As Tanner, you get the swiftest glimpse into their cartoonish lives, and the result is usually charming. Often the whiff of cheese as Tanner banters with citizens is pungent, but it’s delivered with such good nature you can’t help but smile in spite of yourself."
The Telegraph, 31st August 2011

"...leaping from car to car throws up a seemingly never-ending succession of skits; finding yourself in charge of a school run, leaping into the midst of a lover's tiff or between two sparring work colleagues and, at one brilliant juncture, between two policemen having an illicit affair."
Eurogamer, 26th August 2011

"As he jumps between bodies, we dip into incidental stories... These vignettes are dispatched with a cheery humour and a dramatic irony."
Edge Online, 30th August 2011


Lost Horizon
"One of the defining characteristics of point-and-click adventure games is their ability to tell a great story, and Deep Silver’s latest game, Lost Horizon, is no exception. Great characters and writing."
Gamezebo, 27th September 2010

"If you’re looking for a classic point-and-click adventure game, one that lasts longer than a few hours and has a genuinely interesting story... then Lost Horizon might be the game that renews your interest in the genre."
Adrenaline Vault, 24th September 2010


"The dialogue is the best part of Lost Horizon. Fenton and Kim share a nice banter while they're in the game together (which is about half the time), and Fenton's comments are almost always funny, with many of them poking fun at adventure game cliches ("when in doubt, break it"). Plus, the voice actors do a fine job delivering their lines."
Game Over, 12th October 2010

"Lost Horizon deals us a hefty rucksack full of Fenton Paddock, rugged anti-hero, and we are refreshed and all the better for it."
Game Boomers, September 2010

"There’s a wealth of humor in the dialog which kept me chuckling."
Game Focus, 13th October 2010

"The writing was witty and enjoyable. Never taking itself too seriously, much of the game was sprinkled with quotes and loving nods to both the adventure game genre and pulp-action movies. Fenton, in particular, was voiced with a spot-on performance, sporting a jaunty smirk in almost every sentence."
Gaming Nexus, 15th September 2010

"The main character's voice acting is dead on. Not only does his dialogue seem to fit, but the execution of the script doesn't sound phoned in."
Game Vortex, September 2010

"It’s a sweeping, Indiana Jones-style epic... The story is enchanting."
Baking Games, 28th September 2010


ir/rational (Original, Text-Only Version)
"[ir/rational] tests your logic and deductive reasoning. Therefore you may be too lazy to play it. But you should. It concerns a stalemate between a (presumed) human and a sinister machine which holds him/her/it captive. You have to break that stalemate. Using only THE POWER OF YOUR MIND. Um, and your mouse. Also: it’s well-written, funny, and takes an unexpected and vicious pop at an Austrialian politician."
RockPaperShotgun, 15th December 2009

"It’s short. It’s free. You should probably play it. In pitting [the character] against an entity of pure logic it allows the character’s humanity to shine through, highlighting the battle of wits between the two. It’s an interesting angle that keeps the story element interesting throughout the game... It doesn’t take long for ir/rational to announce its own unique style."
City16, 29th March 2010


Penumbra: Requiem / Collection
"The writing is dark and unique, the situations and characters as diverse as they are strange."
Boomtown.net, 12th February 2009

"I dug Clarence big time. He's snarky, funny, sadistic, and creepy[...] I will give major propers for a twist that occurs about 2/3 of the way through the game. Clarence messes with your head, making you see things that aren't there from time to time. It comes off as a gimmick at a first—a way for the developers to get a few cheap scares from the player—but it pays off brilliantly in the end."
GamingEvolution.info, 17th February 2009

"[The story is] told with effortless panache, through a delectably penned script that often confuses as much as it enlightens.One particularly ingenious segment towards the finale sees the level radically alter each time your back is turned, a ubiquitous voice in your head taunting you as you try to escape the dynamic maze. As your perception begins to alternate between the real and the not-so-real, you realise the horrific nature of some of your seemingly innocent actions, and panic sets in more and more. Penumbra toys with your mind fabulously."
RealGamer.net, 28th January 2008

"Having all three chapters together allows you to digest the suitably gripping and complex narrative in its entirety."
StrategyInformer.com, February 2009

"Penumbra remains thoroughly captivating. It's an example of a slightly awkward story being told incredibly well, with an abundance of intelligence and thought put into the script and characters. These NPCs are few and far between[...] but they're wonderful. Creeping around the relentlessly dark passages of Overture, we're treated to the deranged radio messages of a man trapped within the confines of this foreboding world, desperate to escape from the insanity brought on by years in the company of his own thoughts. In Black Plague, a sinister voice in your head begins to taunt you, twisting your notion of reality and carving his own personality into your psyche."
HonestGamers.com, 11th February 2009



Penumbra: Black Plague

"Possibly the greatest achievement of Black Plague is in its writing. The script never fails to both entertain and enthrall the player, and the game's final, overarching message is profound and well-delivered. I was truly impressed."
Gamernode.com, 12th February 2008

"An added dimension of storytelling casts doubt on the reality of what you see, heightening the already powerful atmosphere that exists here. I don't want to give too much away, but essentially it forces you to second-guess that what you see and hear is a reality."

IGN.com, 1st February 2008

"The main drive behind Black Plague is the story. Thankfully, it quickly builds a mini-epic out of the initial clichés and predictable turns. The latter stages of the game come across very much as a tribute to Looking Glass Studios – and coming from me that’s a massive compliment. By pulling the player down into Philip’s mind [the game provides] a massively satisfying ending – the type which ties everything up neatly, but leaves enough mystery and ambiguity for a sequel at some point."
bit-tech.net, 20th February 2008

"Discovering more about the virus that has escaped, symptoms of which include schizophrenia, Black Plague successfully dallies with the psychiatric disorder. Listening to Philip's mental struggles with 'Clarence' escalates the quality [of the game] immensely, and provides a tangible hook to keep playing the game and discover what's going to happen next."
TotalVideoGames.com, 18th February 2008

'There's even dark humour in the form of the character who starts squatting in your brain, and the wonderfully laid-back damsel in distress trying to help you flush him out with a mental enema.'
PC Gamer UK, March 2008

"The developer has really nailed the elements of mystery, suspense, and isolation. You start to inhabit the character. The unsettling atmosphere is utilised in various plot devices almost as a weapon against your senses."
Jolt.co.uk, 24th February 2008

"The audio is truly great, with perfect voice acting – something you almost never find."
GameIndustry.com, 28th February 2008

"Even without [playing the previous game], Black Plague’s ending and Penumbra’s finale was unique, rewarding and compelling even to a 50% outsider."
DarkZero.co.uk, 29th February 2008


"We must congratulate the author of the entire Penumbra story, TJ Jubert. The game ends very strongly and will surely leave you entirely satisfied... some of these moments left us speechless."
GamersUniverse.com, 4th February 2008

"The story may sound like generic horror narrative -- and in some ways it is -- but by the end of the game it comes into its own and actually becomes quite compelling. And if you're worried that it will end on a cliffhanger because it's episodic, don't."
1up.com, 13th February 2008

"Black Plague is moody as hell, and it's got one absolutely incredible plot moment about 3/4 of the way through the game (I'm tempted to call it the indie equivalent of BioShock's "a man chooses, a slave obeys" scene)."
Destructoid.com, 12th February 2008

"Black Plague is wonderfully engrossing, especially as Philip begins to lose his mind, exploring a surreal dream world where hands grow from walls and acquiring an inner voice that sounds like a Runyonesque gangster and wryly encourages Philip to take lethal risks."
The New York Times, 14th February 2008

"This is the thing: Penumbra: Black Plague manages to do something with its narrative that many games do not: inspire emotional response."
DieHardGameFan, 22nd May 2008

"Your perception of what is reality and what isn't is something that's played around with throughout the game. It works extremely well. Black Plague also has a wry sense of humor... and the game will make you chuckle at the most inappropriate times. It only makes the game scarier."
2404.org, 9th May 2008

"Once it gets going you become engrossed within a psychologically brilliant story and gaming experience."
AceGamez.co.uk, 28th February 2008

"Story developments are never confusing, even when you are teased with incomplete revelations. Philip also develops a plague-induced alter-ego who accompanies you throughout the game, and there is something entertainingly disturbing and infuriating about the antagonist's “cranky old man” persona. There are plenty of smaller touches too, which breathe life into the scattered diaries and notes you collect. Add a few strokes of almost Portal-like humour, and despite the fairly simple plot, there is plenty to keep the player drawn in."

AdventureGamers.com, 28th February 2008

"You may begin to question your own sanity. This is a very real gameplay element in which you, as the character, begin to second-guess events. So bizarre are some of the situations that you start to believe that you are losing your grip on reality. This is another example of how the puzzles are woven into the gameplay and storyline."
CCC, 20th February 2008

"I find Penumbra: Black Plague to be Pink Floyd's Comfortably Numb adapted to video games. There's only a handful of titles that cross the border between game and art... I'm going to take my chances and salute Frictional Games for kicking me in the head like only three other games did before - Fallout, Thief and Planescape Torment."
ComputerGames.ro, 23rd September 2008



Penumbra: Overture

"Your insane tour guide, Red, is one of the craziest, most memorable characters you'll ever meet in a game. The subtle... unremittingly grim and bizarre storyline... really gets into your head." 

Gamespot.com, 5th May 2007

"Where Penumbra really wins through, however, is in its storytelling and puzzle solving... truly keeps you gripped to the plot throughout."
Play.tm (formerly Ferrago.com), 26th April 2007

"Without wanting to give the game away, [Red's] deliberately unusual manner of speech is simultaneously frightening and hilarious, as is his tendency to flit wildly between helpful and hostile. He's the most compelling element of the narrative."
Eurogamer.net, 30th March 2007

"The ending is so well baked, so unexpectedly wicked that the successive entries are now absolutely necessary. I’m too invested in its characters — Philip and the mine — not to give them another shot."
TheGameChair.com, 30th April 2007

"The mine... has a great air of mystery about it and reading through the various notes and hearing the ramblings of Red only helps increase your own uneasy need to delve deeper into the mystery... especially with a disturbing scenario and creepy cliffhanger at the end of the episode."
IGN.com, 1st June 2007

"The story does a fine job of providing a mix of suspense and mystery, and the gameplay complements it. In focusing on narrative, the development team is pushing the video game medium like few developers are doing. It's no small feat to intertwine a compelling story with rewarding gameplay... but Penumbra: Overture delivers where it counts."
YouGamers.com, 1st May 2007

"The notes are well-written... Penumbra is very likable and accomplished."
PC Gamer UK, May 2007

"It's certainly intriguing. The story is gripping and interesting."
GamesTM, April 2007

"In terms of story, Penumbra will certainly sit well with fans of the genre."
DarkZero.co.uk, May 2007