The Mage interactive was written by a terrific fantasy author, Karen Tidbeck, so I gave it a shot. It's great so far- beautiful prose, unusual setting.
I agree with you that the writing is the best part of the mage interactive novella. Its occasionaly muddled when it comes to the more gamey parts of the story, but overall it has left me with some remarkable visual memories.
Im less impressed with the implementation as an actual game.
The UI is oddly unresponsive, which is perplexing considering we have been playing text adventures as long as there were personal computers.
The text scrolls up nicely and legibly, until there is a conversation option, then the text is suddenly shunted to the top of the screen breaking your reading flow.
I finished one playthrough, or at least I assumed I did. I got the epilogue but I have no idea if thats the only ending. I tried again and died, so I know there are at least 2 endings! Komrad and 80 days handle this much better, explictly referenceing alternative endings or new game+ modes.