Posts Tagged ‘adventure’

Montague’s Mount Review

Montague's Mount Featured

Montague's Mount Boxart

Developer: PolyPusher Studios
Publisher: Mastertronic
Platform: PC – Direct, GamersGate, Get Games, GOG*

Montague’s Mount is a game that reveals very little about itself when you begin. As the story starts, your character simply wakes up on a dark and dreary beach. There are pieces of wood scattered around and it seems as if you once had a boat and ended up here. The character hobbles – perhaps his leg was injured in the accident? His coughs also echo in the quiet air which makes it seem that this guy is in a lot of trouble washing up in a strange place. You find a walking stick, and then proceed. That’s all the introduction player or character receives.

This is an excellent start to a game which, unfortunately, cannot live up to its own expectations. It sure tries though. Everything about the game attempts to push a dark and mysterious atmosphere, from the mostly monochrome visuals to the sometimes eerie ambient sounds. The story is also told in small snippets, and objects are named in the Irish language Gaeilge. This all sets up a superb “feeling” for Montague’s Mount but none of this can protect against dull gameplay.

Wandering through this isolated island is ponderous. The lead character is purposefully slow and so is his interactions with everything around him. At one point, a bridge is lowered, but it creeps down at a horrendous pace. Really, this characterizes much of the game where puzzles are resolved in equally snail-like fashion. Slow events could increase tension if there were anything to fear, but that’s not the case here either. Instead, everything is monotonously paced without a good reason.

Montague's Mount Featured

Exploration is the main goal and you’ll be doing a lot of it. Players basically have to examine every object, because it’s never known what might be useful. Only necessary items can be picked up, which is convenient. There still happens to be a ton of clutter though which is fairly annoying to comb through. But if you ever lessen your extreme attention to detail then needed objects will be overlooked, only forcing you to comb through an area or two again. Whenever a game demands copious item hunts it is annoying, but definitely more so in dark environments. As you might expect, these are plentiful in Montague’s Mount.

Even those who enjoy atmospheric and slow games might find a bigger issue with this one. For some reason, Montague’s Mount has caused me (and some other players as well) to experience definite framerate issues. Without them, I’m certain it would have been easier to tolerate the game, but the common 20 FPS or so really made other issues readily apparent. Some have reported no hitches when playing, but there doesn’t appear to be a demo to test out first.

To me, Montague’s Mount is a game that seriously could have been great but has turned out to be a very flawed creation. Puzzles usually only require fetching an item and using it, but that is hardly compelling gameplay. Of course, when finding some items can be difficult it just serves to annoy rather than immerse anyone into the world. Of course, the technical issues I encountered made it a nearly unbearable gameplay experience. It’s really sad to see a game with such promise end up this way, but they can’t all be winners.


Score: 1

1 out of 5 alpacas


Review code provided
About our rating system – *Affiliate link

Eleusis Review

Eleusis Featured

Eleusis Boxart

Developer: Nocturnal works
Publisher: Nocturnal works
Platform: PC – DesuraDirect, GamersGateSteam

If you’re anything like me, then Eleusis might strike you as an odd name. The game itself (judging by just screenshots) could also seem to be like any number of other horror games out there. However, these initial assessments sell the game short. It is nothing like the world of Slender copycats nor Amnesia. It takes a very different path, even if they all share a few gameplay elements in common.

In Eleusis, you’re given a very basic setup. After receiving a letter to visit your mother, your journey is stopped by a rock slide on the only road. Having your car stuck in the middle of the night is quite an unfortunate situation, thankfully, you find a town nearby and hope someone there can help you. The only problem is the town seems completely abandoned… Until you hear a scream.

While playing it was hard to shake the feeling that this felt far more like a classic adventure game than modern jump scare horror. Yes, it has attractive and ominous graphics, but the gameplay doesn’t necessarily tread far from old roots. What this means is that puzzles mainly consist of finding the right objects and using them when needed. Oftentimes, there are keys hidden which unlock the doors you need to head through. This is all pretty simple, at least, although finding objects can often be difficult.

Eleusis Featured

The difficulty stems from the fact that there’s just a lot of stuff the player can interact with. About 80% of it is useless, but the other 20% will be items worth investigating or provide objects necessary to finish the game. If you ever skip something, you can go back and find it, but it might take a while considering there are a lot of places to look. Wandering too often gets annoying so try to keep you eyes peeled throughout the duration of Eleusis.

So what is that differentiates this game from the pack? Primarily, it’s due to a focus more on discovery rather than running and hiding all the time. However, another neat aspect of the game (and its plot) is revealed by the title. Eleusis is the name of a town in Greece where the “Eleusinian Mysteries” took place. This was a yearly ceremony instigated by a cult and, well, if you research it a little you’ll see the parallels between these ancient ceremonies and the game.

Mainly, the only issues lie with the title being short-ish and a bit of an item hunt. Beyond that, Eleusis is a creepy adventure game that pulls from a very interesting facet of ancient Greek history. This is a game best for those who are tired of playing copycat, half-finished horror titles which keep getting published.


Score: 2.5

2 1/2 out of 5 alpacas


Review code provided
About our rating system

Legend of Kyrandia Book Two: The Hand of Fate Review

Legend of Kyrandia Book Two: The Hand of Fate

Legend of Kyrandia Book Two: The Hand of Fate Boxart

Developer: Westwood Studios
Publisher: Electronic Arts
Platform: PC – GOG*

Westwood Studios crated an interesting adventure series back in the 90s via The Legend of Kyrandia. Spanning three games, it drew in existing fans of the point and click genre as well as pulling in new players. New fans were forged thanks in part to the fanciful visuals and was mostly free of incomprehensible puzzles. For many, The Legend of Kyrandia Book Two: The Hand of Fate stands as the high point of the trilogy. I’m inclined to agree!

Book Two begins with narration from previous protagonist Brandon. Out of nowhere, it seems that the realm of Kyrandia is slowly disappearing! However, Brandon can’t do a thing about it. This time, alchemist Zanthia must save her beloved home from being zapped into complete nothingness. Zanthia is a far more resourceful and endearing protagonist than Brandon and provides witty banter along her journey. Weirdly, the developers seemed keen on the running gag of Zanthia requiring costume changes at multiple points. At least there’s no pixellated nudity to speak of, since she is able to conjure up new outfits immediately.

In comparison to Book One, Kyrandia is now a much vaster kingdom. You aren’t forced to go through screens that are 75% forest now. Instead, there are now multiple, very different looking regions to explore. Each is distinct and includes different characters to interact with and puzzles to solve. Overall though, Zanthia’s main puzzle mechanic remains the same throughout.

Legend of Kyrandia Book Two: The Hand of Fate

Players must flip through Zanthia’s spellbook/cookbook which allows her to conjure up various spells. So far as spells go it is pretty easy to know when you need to cast what. The issue lies with collecting all the ingredients necessary! Sometimes this can be tough, but usually you can find all ingredients with a little ingenuity. Players won’t have to worry about rifling through massive inventories either because Zanthia regularly empties her inventory when entering a new area, signifying the old objects are not needed from then on. Of course, sometimes you’ll still need to find new items to replace the old ones (such as flasks to hold the potions).

It seems Book Two is so loved because it improves The Legend of Kyrandia in the most important ways. The expanded world looks fanciful and creative, just as it should. With a simplified main puzzle mechanic it’s also easier to know how to resolve most problems. Finally, we have the heroic Zanthia who saves Kyrandia all the while still taking the time to laugh at the entire ridiculous predicament. As far as new fans are concerned, it also serves as an excellent starting point as it only has a slight connection to the first (and third) games.


Score: 3.5

3 1/2 out of 5 alpacas


Review code provided
About our rating system – *Affiliate link

The Stanley Parable Review

The Stanley Parable Featured

The Stanley Parable Boxart

Developer: Galactic Cafe
Publisher: Galactic Cafe
Platform: PC – Steam

The Stanley Parable began as a Source mod in 2011. It gained attention, fans, and left a lasting impression on those who played it. Enough so, it seems, to have its remastered version break through the moderately unfair gates of Steam Greenlight. Now on Steam, what was previously known as The Stanley Parable: HD Remix is ready to confuse many new players.

Having only played the recent demo, I was mostly unaware of what to expect. Upon starting the game, you play as a character addressed only as Stanley. Stanley works at a monotonous job where he simply types what he is told for hours at a time. As the game begins, he becomes conscious to find the office entirely empty. As he searches further, he realizes that there is no one to be found anywhere. Well, unless you count the omnipresent commentator who is narrating all of Stanley’s actions.

It’s possible to beat the game after 20 minutes or so, but to leave it at that is to sorely miss the point. Try it again. After all, the loading screen at some points states how the end is not the end. Things change, and things stay the same, but overall things evolve in ways that gamers are likely not accustomed to. This is fun and even a little bit frightening at times. What choices change things and what are meaningless? It’s a joy to test everything out and advance tweaked narratives.

The Stanley Parable Featured

Obviously, the content of these replays is best seen on your own. Much of the fun for me playing was hearing the narrator basically make fun of the precepts of gaming. We see a lot of talk about choice (or rather, the illusion of it) in modern video games. Developers wax about how impactful these choices are but deep down we all know they rarely lead to anything interesting. Knowing that choice is a constructed mechanic in games, and referencing it as such, The Stanley Parable is still able to create an experience wholly unique in the gaming medium.

There’s some people who will definitely dislike what is offered here, but if you have any inkling of interesting in gaming beyond taking everything at face value then discovering all of The Stanley Parable’s secrets could become a temporary obsession. It already has for me, as my time has been spent replaying the same old situations, hoping to jump into something far more fascinating. Sometimes it happens and other times the same exact story is retold. What will frustrate some has captivated me and soon may ensnare many other players as well.


Score: 4

4 out of 5 alpacas


Review code provided
About our rating system

I Have No Mouth and I Must Scream Review

I Have No Mouth and I Must Scream Featured

I Have No Mouth and I Must Scream Boxart

Developer: The Dreamers Guild
Publisher: Cyberdreams
Platform: PC – DOS, GOG*

During most of adventure gaming’s history there were many great titles released. The most popular tended to be from Lucas Arts and Sierra and often were comedic. Those looking for more “adult” fare were left with a much smaller library to choose from. I Have No Mouth and I Must Scream, based on a short story by Harlan Ellison, attempted to push that envelope when it launched in 1995.

The game is certainly strange. It focuses on a supercomputer by the name of AM which grew in power enough to ultimately take over the world. Humanity is all but demolished aside from five different individuals who AM has decided to hold captive for over 100 years. They basically stand as AM’s playthings, and are tortured continuously in the most painful ways specific to their psyches.

As the game begins, you are tasked with playing a new “game” that AM has come up with. One by one, each of the five must enter into a simulated world which has to do with their lives. There they must relieve past nightmares and overcome them. While some characters perpetrated great evils upon the world, others were victims. In particular, the story of Ellen was especially worrisome due to the triggers it may set off in some people.

I Have No Mouth and I Must Scream Featured

It doesn’t appear that I Have No Mouth and I Must Scream commits any of the cardinal sins of adventure gaming but there are still some niggling issues. One is based around the control scheme which has players first select an action (look, use, talk, etc) and then click on an object. On a few occasions, there were times when an item had to be used in a way atypical from the rest. This was confusing and led to a lot of backtracking at times only to realize the simple error. Also, it feels a bit cumbersome to have to reach down to the functions and click them every time, but that’s thanks to changes in modern adventure games.

With those issues considered, it still isn’t a bad game. AM is one spiteful, cruel machine but it also has a weird sense of humor. The characters also stand as interesting when you uncover their lives through play. Backdrops, too, are incredibly well done. Adding in the voice acting, I Have No Mouth and I Must Scream is a really impressive adventure game overall which helps it overcome aged gameplay mechanics.


Score: 3.5

3 1/2 out of 5 alpacas


Review code provided
About our rating system – *Affiliate link

Cognition: An Erica Reed Thriller – Season One Review

Cognition: An Erica Reed Thriller Featured

Cognition: An Erica Reed Thriller Boxart

Developer: Phoenix Online Studios
Publisher: Phoenix Online Studios
Platform: Mobile – iOS, PC – GOG*, Steam, etc

Cognition: An Erica Reed Thriller is an episodic point and click adventure series which just concluded its first season. It took Phoenix Online Studios about a year to pump out all four episodes, but now that it has concluded we can finally assess how the full product stands against adventure gaming competition.

Read more »

The Legend of Kyrandia Book One Review

The Legend of Kyrandia Featured

The Legend of Kyrandia Boxart

Developer: Westwood Studios
Publisher: Electronic Arts
Platform: PC – GOG*
Review code provided

It’s a shame we don’t see more adventure games in the modern era. Before FPSes and 3D landscapes became de rigueur for games, the adventure genre flourished. Here was a genre that gave players a view of vast creative, beautiful, or even disturbing landscapes that they were free to explore! Many classics came from that era. The Legend of Kyrandia series is not one of the well-known highlights from that time, but instead stands as a hidden gem.

In The Legend of Kyrandia Book One you begin your journey unexpectedly. Your grandfather has just been turned to stone by the power-hungry jester Malcolm. As a young man named Brandon, you seek to get your grandfather back to normal. Along the way, you come across multiple citizens who point you in the right direction, usually alongside new puzzles.

Puzzles are the make or break aspect for most modern gamers who try out adventure titles. Most modern ones feature easier puzzles or hints, but The Legend of Kyrandia is hint system free! A handful of puzzles require you to cycle through multiple attempts to figure out the proper solution. However, you can save at any point so it’s not very painful to retry puzzles. And unlike some games, you can never be stranded without a necessary item later on. No matter what, items will respawn if destroyed or you can backtrack to find them again.

The Legend of Kyrandia Featured

With that said, there are aspects of the game that are pretty hard to figure out without help. If you pick up the GOG release it comes with a PDF of the old Prima strategy guide. Although it doesn’t give you a point by point breakdown, it does showcase all solutions. It’s pretty handy, although many online guides exist too, such as this excellent one.

The game is not quite as fanciful as others of the time period, and it shows. For example, there are multiple areas to explore, but their forests are visually identical. Brandon even makes a remark about this. Funny as it may be, it doesn’t help the player to differentiate the landscape. Basically, you’ll need to create a map or use one someone else has drafted.

The Legend of Kyrandia Book One is a short and sweet adventure game with creative puzzles. When it comes right down to it, those are all the requirements needed to make an acceptable adventure game. It deserves some credit for never leaving a player without all required items, but isn’t quite as inspired as other titles. If you’re an adventure lover who has played all the big names but missed out on Kyrandia then go give it a shot!


Score: 2.5

2 1/2 out of 5 alpacas


About our rating system – *Affiliate link

See No Evil Review

sne10 - Copy

Capture

Developer: Bigfingers
Publisher: Bigfingers
Platform: PC
Received review code

See No Evil is the newest niche adventure game on the market by developer Bigfingers. Of course, even most adventure game fans will probably be unaware of its arrival. Why is that? It seems most likely due to the fact that this is a bara game. With that said, it manages to push past whatever notions people might have in their heads about what a bara game must be. As it turns out, See No Evil is a lovely title that deserves a much larger audience.

Read more »

Is Harvester a Good Game?

Harvester Screenshot

Harvester Logo

Recently I decided to finally try playing Harvester. Basically, it’s an adventure game which also makes use of FMV graphics. It came out in the mid-nineties and attempts to be a point and click title with real bite. Before playing it myself I had watched a few videos of the game and though it looked outrageously bad.

Playing it myself though I found it to actually be a very interesting, if definitely disturbed, adventure. Although I have only played a small segment of the game so far it seems like something I’m going to want to experience to completion. That is, unless future puzzles end up being intensely difficult. So far my gameplay has consisted of basically meeting the locals and coming to grips with the eerie American town.

Harvester Screenshot

What makes me like it after only playing for an hour or so? It’s all about the characters which inhabit the world. Each of them is in some way broken, disturbed, or at the very least unusual. Some are worse than others, with some having completely repellent attitudes and outlooks. All the same, I found them fascinating in their sickening selves and wanting to see how the story unfolded.

Again, I have barely played it, but so far I’m leaning toward the idea that Harvester is far better than people give it credit for. Here’s hoping that the puzzles don’t end up taking the tactic of having the “most implausible solution ever” like adventure games are sometimes apt to do. If so, then my excitement for it will definitely dissipate.

Vida Review

Vida Featured

Vida Boxart

Developer: Interactive Girls Club
Publisher: Interactive Girls Club
Platform: PC (DOS)

Wow, what can I say about this game? First off, I’m not even sure if the name is “Vida” or “Interactive Girls Club: Vida” or what. We’re just going to rule under the good faith that this FMV game is titled Vida. And boy, if it isn’t the worst game I’ve played all year – old or new.

Read more »