Posts Tagged ‘point and click’

BloodNet Review

BloodNet Featured

BloodNet Boxart

Developer: MicroProse
Publisher: Tommo
Platform: PC – GOG*

Ransom Stark is a New York native with quite the unique problem. At the very start of the game he has a fateful run-in with a vampire which leaves him as one as well. The only thing that is now stopping Stark from feasting on citygoers is an implanted nanomachine in his body that can stop his vampiric transformation – but only for a few days. Will he be able to find a cure before then?

BloodNet is one strange title. It meshes a cyberpunk aesthetic with classic tales of vampires. The city is fueled by technology, drugs, and a giant corporation known as TransTechnicals. Of course, the company is shady as is always the case with corporations in these types of stories. As Stark, you must investigate both in the real world and online to save yourself as well as others you’ll come to meet along the way.

The game could be considered both a point and click adventure and RPG, but most would probably just learn toward the RPG definition. Most characters have a lot to say and offer you quests. Unlike some games, the quests make a lot of sense don’t just sound like elaborate fetch quests (even if they are). This is thanks to the excellent writing. Some may find it drags on and on but I enjoyed getting into the strange world.

BloodNet Screenshot 1

Fights break out sporadically but you might have a hard time figuring them out. You see, there are NPCs throughout the city you can recruit to your team to add muscle, but that’s not all there is to it. You’re also going to want to fashion weapons from existing parts you have (and be sure to equip some to teammates as well!). None of this is explained very well and the fighting system is unusual as well. The player positions their team before initiating a strike, but then it takes on a turn-based battle structure.

The thing about BloodNet is that it’s very set in its ways but is unwilling to explain much of it to players. This goes for the narrative as well as the gameplay functionality. Because of that it definitely is not something you can just pick up and play. It’s a shame because there is a very unique world to explore but it will take most some real effort to get into it.


Score: 2

2 out of 5 alpacas


Review code provided
About our rating system – *Affiliate Link

Blackwell Unbound Review

Blackwell Unbound Featured

Blackwell Unbound Boxart

Developer: Wadjet Eye Games
Publisher: Wadjet Eye Games
Platform: PC – Direct, GOG*, Steam

After playing through The Blackwell Legacy I jumped right into Blackwell Unbound. Much to my surprise, the game actually positions itself as a prequel to the first. Instead of playing as Rosa this time around you’re Lauren Blackwell, the aunt. She also lives with spirit guide Joey although she appears to have long since come to terms with her ghostly partner.

As Lauren, your goal is to investigate two apparent hauntings in the city.  This time around there are two ghosts needing help (of course, they don’t realize it themselves!). You can tackle either situation first and neither takes particularly long. Apparently, this leads to a shorter game overall as it didn’t require two hours to beat.

Blackwell Unbound Featured

Although the game is shorter, it still sheds some interesting light into the whole spirit guide and medium dynamic. We also get to learn more about Lauren from when she was living and actually quite a shift form Rosa’s more reserved nature. Unfortunately, we likely won’t get to see more of Lauren since she’s gone by the time Rosa meets Joey.

Perhaps it was due to the even shorter length, or the less interesting storyline overall, but Blackwell Unbound felt like a step back. After all, my hopes were set on progressing Rosa’s story rather than fussing around with an other character. Perhaps the stories showcased here will come back as important points in Blackwell Deception or Blackwell Convergence. If they don’t, then this game may very well be skippable for casual Blackwell fans.


Score: 3

3 out of 5 alpacas


About our rating system – *Affiliate Link

The Blackwell Legacy Review

The Blackwell Legacy Featured

The Blackwell Legacy Boxart

Developer: Wadjet Eye Games
Publisher: Wadjet Eye Games
Platform: PC – Direct, GOG*, Steam

The Blackwell series by Wadjet Eye Games is one of the most notable independently published adventure games out there. In fact, in 2006, it was part of a very exclusive club as “episodic” titles hadn’t really broken into the mainstream yet. In anticipation of the final game in the series, Blackwell Epiphany, I’m playing through the previous four. My mission begins with The Blackwell Legacy.

The story begins as we meet a woman named Rosa releasing the ashes of her aunt over a bridge. Rosa seems confused, unsure of how things will play out now that the only family she had has passed away. However, she soon learns from her aunt’s doctor that the family may have an unprecedented issue with hereditary dementia. Shaken and distressed, Rosa returns home where she comes face to face with her worst nightmare – a ghost. Has her cognitive ability already started its decline or is this ghost real?

The Blackwell Legacy Featured

She quickly steels herself with the decision that the ghost – named Joey – is real enough. Using his 1930s vernacular he explains how the previous Blackwell women also had Joey tag along with them in their waking lives. He doesn’t even know how it happened but he has become something of a legacy to the family line. According to Joey, as long as he’s around, the two of them must help wandering ghosts come to terms with their own death. By acting as a medium, Rosa will be able to finally set their spirits free.

The Blackwell Legacy certainly spins a good yarn. As far as gameplay is concerned, it’s pretty standard point and click adventure fare. However, it’s incredibly easy and that was something I really appreciated. There are no ridiculous puzzles and only a few bits of deduction necessary anyway. Mostly, you’re safe to guide Rosa and Joey to various destinations and see how things unfold.

Since the series includes five games, the first is incredibly short. I devoured the experience in one two hour sitting and wished for more. Of course, there was, as I have the other games too! In any case, The Blackwell Legacy proves to be a very promising start to a long-running series. I look forward to seeing what happens next!


Score: 4

4 out of 5 alpacas


About our rating system – *Affiliate Link

Serena Review

Serena Featured

Serena Logo

Developer: Senscape
Publisher: Senscape
Platform: PC – Steam

Are you hungry for video games but short on cash? Out of nowhere, a game by the name of Serena popped up on Steam for the price of only… zero dollars! This was fairly surprising given that it’s an adventure game and not a free-to-play MMO. After finding out it was an adventure game and apparently had references to classic titles, I had to give it a shot.

Serena plops you into a dusty old cabin as a possible amnesiac who reminisces over his homely possessions. He knows the woman he loves is named Serena but she’s not there. Where did she go and why can’t he remember a thing about her? As you play, story tidbits are slowly revealed, giving you a better sense of what’s going on.

The game takes place in a 3D space but is entirely driven by pointing and clicking. By examining objects you can hear the protagonist ramble, sometimes remembering things, other times simply musing. He has a lot to say about each item so it’s definitely worth listening to all of the lines. Some have complaints about his voice acting, but I found it fitting.

Serena Featured

The cabin, despite being small, is rich with mementos and histories worth investigating. Visually, it looks great too. The windows, dirtied with grime let in the light in a truly creepy fashion. Seeing everything in a dark brown and grey helps set the mood as well. Audio outside of voice acting is also nice, if usually transparent. It’s obvious a lot of love went into this project.

After clicking on specific objects, you trigger a new “stage” to begin. No, you never leave the cabin but after events are triggered it leads to entirely new things being said about the items in the cabin. It might seem weird to some but proves to be a very effective way to tell a story. Serena takes most from half an hour to an hour and a half to complete, but still made me feel quite bad after completing it. I just wish the ending hadn’t been as abrupt.

That said, I can’t believe the game is free. Other short titles definitely exist on the service and have a fee. Since Serena is free it is incredibly easy to recommend. It’s a relatively brief experience, moody, and even those who don’t like it shouldn’t feel “ripped off” by experiencing it. My time with the game was not wasted in the least and I hope others are willing to give it a try too.


Score: 4

4 out of 5 alpacas


About our rating system

Broken Age Act 1 Review

Broken Age Featured

Broken Age Boxart

Developer: Double Fine Productions
Publisher: Double Fine Productions
Platform: PC – Steam

Once upon a time, point and click adventure games were king. Then something happened – shooters became popular. With shooters, and many other genres, video games were pushed further, with more interactivity and better graphics. The point and click games of yore fought on, but fell out of favor with most people over the years. Then, Telltale Games made waves with The Walking Dead and the genre was cool again. Finally, innovative developer Double Fine ran a Kickstarter for a new adventure game and garnered an amazing 3.3 million bucks. It appeared adventure games were no longer dead.

Finally, the Double Fine Adventure Kickstarter has borne fruit via Broken Age. However, only Act 1 is available right now, with the second act still being worked on. So what can be said about a game that was so tremendously anticipated by many? It likely won’t live up to your expectations. That doesn’t make it a bad game, of course! Well, let’s get into this review already.

Broken Age is split into two halves. One is the story of a young woman named Velouria (shortened to “Vella”) and a teenage boy named Shay. Players choose which story to begin with and jump right in. Although it is possible to swap between them at any time, it doesn’t seem to serve much purpose. It’s easiest to just play one story first and then go for the other, which is what I did. Vella’s part appears the longer, and much more interesting, half.

Broken Age Screenshot 1

Vella’s story starts as something called a Maiden Feast is about to start. It is quickly revealed that the town fears a  huge monster named Mog Chothra and that the only way to sate it is by offering up the best girls of the village. Unfortunately, Vella was chosen to take part. Unlike the others who all seek to be eaten, Vella recognizes the inherent wrongness of the situation and wants to fight back! Along her journey she meets many characters and solves a good deal of puzzles, although almost all of them could hardly be considered puzzles.

Shay has a completely different life. He lives by himself in a space station with only a sentient, overly-watchful computer and machines to interact with. For all intents and purposes, his world is a foil of Vela’s. Instead of the looming fear of death, he is protected completely from any and all danger. Shay’s life of repetitive nonsense is interrupted one day and finally his story starts to become interesting. Unfortunately, there are even less puzzles in this section and even less characters to meet.

One of the most exciting things about adventure games is the witty and intriguing characters you’ll come across while playing. Many point and click games fail in this respect, but since Tim Schafer was at the helm here, most expected something great. Somehow, Broken Age manages to not be that funny. The writing is good, but it doesn’t feel all that special in most cases. It seems like personalities are very subdued, when they exist at all. Thankfully, the voice acting is phenomenal which makes it so that listening to dialogue is never a chore.

Broken Age Screenshot 2

The most impressive aspect of the game is the visuals. Simply, this is one incredible-looking title. The art style makes everything seem like you’re watching a pretty picture book come to life. Animations are smooth, if sometimes repetitive, and help bring the experience to life. Locations have a great sense of design and fit with the themes of Vella and Shay’s stories. If I had to guess where a lot of the Kickstarter money went, I’d say it went into art.

As was hinted at earlier, though there are a lot of puzzles, most aren’t particularly difficult. Some players have lamented this point but it doesn’t seem bad to me. This is an adventure game being marketed to a massive audience – many of whom probably have never played a classic adventure game. Making puzzles as easy as possible keeps players moving and free of frustration. Just know that if your enjoyment of point and click games comes from intriguing puzzles that Broken Age will not scratch that itch.

All in all, Broken Age offers a meandering first half of an experience that becomes interesting right near the end. The story ends just as things start to get interesting and there’s no specific date for when we’ll get to play act 2. As gorgeous as the game is, there seems to be a distinct lack of personality. By that I mean the characters are mostly transparent task givers rather than true “characters” in the sense of being memorable. Perhaps we’ll see that change in the second half. Mostly, I just want to see how this story resolves itself. I’ve got my theories about what will happen, but we must all wait on Double Fine to see how everything turns out.


Score: 3

3 out of 5 alpacas


Review code provided
About our rating system

Violett Review

Violett Featured

Violett Logo

Developer: Forever Entertainment S.A.
Publisher: Forever Entertainment S.A.
Platform: Mobile – Android, iOS PC – Steam

Violett is just your average teenager. Her parents have forced her to leave her friends behind as they move to an old house in the country. She’s angry and expects her life to be dull from here on out – until she spies a strange charm. Upon picking it up, she gets transported to another world. This Alice in Wonderland-esque adventure definitely wasn’t what she bargained for!

With the game named Violett after the lead character, it’s obvious that we will spend our time playing as her. Gameplay is of the point and click variety, with a few small tweaks. Along her journey, she discovers new powers. The first grants her telekinesis which is indispensable at times.  Continuing along reveals more, as well as a need to collect orbs to power some skills. Orbs decorate landscapes like a hidden object game and you’ll never have to worry about running out.

Violett Screenshot

As would be expected with a point and click adventure game, there are many puzzles to solve. Some are simple while others require a bit more thought. However, they’re often quite fun and unique. There were a few times I got stuck, and unfortunately, the in game “hint” system rarely offers any tangible hints. Those who can’t figure something out will likely find the Steam Community a great resource.

Interestingly, the story is told without much use of real language. Violett and her family speak gibberish as do the insects and other creatures living in the strange world. Still, you can grasp what characters need to solve their problems via illustrations. Adventure fans who love witty writing won’t get that here, but don’t skip it up just yet!

What Violett does so amazingly is create an environment that stands out against the droves of competition. This game doesn’t just suggest Violett is inhabiting a wonderland – it shows you. The inhabitants are unusual and the backdrops are simply stunning. It’s impossible to convey how awesome they are until wandering into new areas yourself. Seriously, it’s been a while since an adventure game required me to fight the urge to continuously save screenshots.

Violett Featured

Music is another high point for the game. Although there are not a ton of songs, each song is great. They all come back to the game’s theme but each do so in unique ways. Also, even though there aren’t a ton of songs, they’re the kind you are excited to hear one more time. Buying a copy through Steam nets you the official soundtrack at no extra cost, which is definitely handy.

There’s a lot to say about Violett. Although it is not a perfect adventure experience, it offers a wonderful time. From the unique and creative puzzles to the gorgeous backdrop and accompanying soundtrack, it’s hard to ignore the game. Start up Violett and you’ll be in for quite the journey!


Score: 4

4 out of 5 alpacas


Review code provided
About our rating system

Al Emmo and the Lost Dutchman’s Mine Review

Al Emmo and the Lost Dutchman's Mine Featured

Al Emmo and the Lost Dutchman's Mine Boxart

Developer: Himalaya Studios
Publisher: Himalaya Studios
Platform: PC – Desura, Direct, IndieGameStand, Zodiac

Even though most gamers seem to have forgotten adventure games existed until recently, developers have continued to make them year after year. There are a great many classic point and click adventures from the 80s and 90s but there are also those made in the past ten years. Some don’t quite stack up while others are actually quite good. Al Emmo and the Lost Dutchman’s Mine initially came out in 2007 but has since been granted an Enhanced Edition. Regardless of the edition, Al Emmo is skippable.

As the title implies, this is a game about a guy named Al Emmo. He’s 42, lives with his parents, and is a virgin. If you ignore the parents bit he’s practically an alternate Larry Laffer. Perhaps facsimile would be the better way to describe him. Although he hits most of the same beats, Al is not likeable in any sense because he is devoid of any true kindness. He carries out his tasks while whining and does some messed up stuff in the process. Instead of simply laughing at his antics, I cringed. By the end, Al’s quest leads him down some interesting paths but it’s not worth the journey.

Al Emmo and the Lost Dutchman's Mine Featured

Perhaps the problem isn’t so much with Al but with the humor of The Lost Dutchman’s Mine as a whole. Including a transphobic incident masquerading as a joke in the first five minutes was certainly not the way to get my attention, at least. As the game proceeds, there are only more problematic jokes issued left and right related to women, sex workers, and Native Americans. To top it all off, the joke I had hoped would be thrown away at the very start was brought back on multiple occasions as a requisite plot point. The concept of a “man” dressing “as a woman” being ridiculous was apparently too hilarious to pass up a second and third jab. No, I’m sorry, but it’s not funny at all.

“But what about the gameplay?!” cry adventure game fans. It doesn’t amount to anything special either. The best features of the game is that it’s hard to die (and may be impossible?). This is no Sierra adventure. Even so, The Lost Dutchman’s Mine manages to be an almost stereotypical point and click experience. The story follows Al as he falls in love in Western town and seeks to get the lady’s attention. As a suave man has already made her acquaintance, it proves difficult for him. Everyone in the game has tasks for you and they spell them out directly. No matter what, there are always new puzzles to solve. Most aren’t particularly interesting, although some manage to be unique. For as long as the experience takes to build up though it feels like much of this could have been removed. It serves more as padding than truly entertaining quests.

Al Emmo and the Lost Dutchman's Mine Screenshot

The game has received a few upgrades for the enhanced version. A new voice actor does his best to squeak away like Al, and does so in a slightly less annoying fashion. Cutscenes have also been changed from their original CG graphics to 2D animation. The animation isn’t particularly fantastic, but it does look better than the original CG art. All the same, Al retains a 3D model when wandering around the hand-painted style 2D town. It’s an unfortunate clash of art types because the backdrops are actually quite good.

Al Emmo and the Lost Dutchman’s Mine is an adventure game that functions as intended. I experienced no glitches and could solve each puzzle. However, it is a puerile adventure that should be easy to ignore. I know the developer can do better as they have proven themselves to in the past. Unfortunately, this is not an example of their skill.


Score: 1

1 out of 5 alpacas


Review code provided
About our rating system

Dragon Lore: The Legend Begins Review

Dragon Lore: The Legend Begins Featured

Dragon Lore: The Legend Begins Boxart

Developer: Cryo Interactive
Publisher: Mindscape / Anuman Interactive
Platform: 3DO PC – DOS, GOG*

The early ’90s were an incredible time of change for gaming. It was in these years that developers began taking 3D art animation seriously and creating full 3D games. Of course, many of the earliest were crude, but full of exciting ideas that would eventually work out. Dragon Lore: The Legend Begins is one of these formative titles, although it doesn’t get nearly as much credit as The 7th Guest. Dragon Lore shares the tale of a young man named Werner Von Wallenrod on a quest to become a Dragon Knight.

Things aren’t so easy for the fellow, as his birthright was stolen from him when his father was betrayed by another Knight. Because of it, Werner spent his youth being raised by one of the castle’s men, completely unaware of his lineage, until his 18th birthday. From there, you must figure out the pertinent parts of Werner’s past and also try to convince the warriors of the Valley to allow you to join their ranks.

Dragon Lore plays out as a first person point and click game. Players move through the 3D environments by clicking areas of the screen they wish to move toward. Along the way, there are many items to pick up and use as weapons or for completing puzzles. Unfortunately, Werner’s pockets are not infinite, so there is a limit to the inventory. This causes issue when you’re not sure if certain items will be needed later. Here’s a hint: Keep non-weapon objects. Weapons are usually just needed for fights, and therefore a huge stack of them isn’t required.

Dragon Lore: The Legend Begins Featured

The world is surprisingly expansive, even though it is mostly empty aside from warriors and a few enemies. When talking to the council members, they discuss what they are looking for in the next Dragon Knight. Some favor wisdom while others favor bloodshed. This means that no matter what you do, some of them simply won’t vote for you. It’s a pretty neat concept and makes the final vote at the end a nail-biting experience.

Of course, Dragon Lore is also a product of the time. The point and click interface is incredibly rough, making it more of a chore to use than most. Then there are the graphics themselves which are silly to today’s eyes. Weirdly, some characters have faces fully sculpted in 3D, while others have flat faces with digital images overlaying them. Voice acting is average, and the music is mostly forgettable. As for sound effects, they are completely laughable. Still, the gameplay is mostly solid if you can handle the rest of it. The sequel, Dragon Lore II: The Heart of the Dragon Man, is currently not available on GOG or Steam.


Score: 2
2 out of 5 alpacas


Review code provided
About our rating system – *Affiliate link

The Shivah: Kosher Edition Review

The Shivah: Kosher Edition Featured

The Shivah Boxart

Developer: Wadjet Eye Games
Publisher: Wadjet Eye Games
Platform: Mobile – iOS PC – Direct, GOG*, Steam

A “shivah” is a period of mourning observed by people of the Jewish faith. Those outside of the religion may have at least heard the term “sitting shivah” before. In any case, as might be expected, this is a game about death and mourning. But it’s also a tale of questioning God and the concepts surrounding faith to begin with. All told, The Shivah: Kosher Edition is one of the more interesting point and click adventure games I’ve played.

The story starts us off in Rabbi Stone’s synagogue. The place is a tiny room, the walls are cracked, and there is barely anyone left attending. His debts are high and if things don’t change the synagogue will have to close down. Things aren’t looking good for Stone until he receives word a past congregation member left him a great deal of money in their will. But why – and how – did he die?

The Shivah: Kosher Edition Featured

Stone can’t just take the money and run. He knows that this person would have never given him money because they parted on very heated and hateful terms. This is where players take over as they try to discover the reasons. It only takes an hour or two, but this cuts out the standard fluff of adventure games. You don’t have to combine millions of objects just to see if one works, or engage in pointless banter with nonsense characters. All that is here is what’s needed and that makes for a very streamlined experience.

This version is a remake of The Shivah, which was Wadjet Eye Games’ first project in 2006. It has enhanced visuals as well as a new soundtrack. There are no new decision points though, which could have been neat. The voice acting is fine although it betrays the less-than-perfect recording conditions at times. Even though it is a compact experience, The Shivah: Kosher Edition gets you involved quickly. There need to be more stories told like this in gaming. We have no reason to restrict ourselves to the drab, dull, and expected.


Score: 4
4 out of 5 alpacas


Review code provided
About our rating system – *Affiliate link

Lilly Looking Through Review

Lilly Looking Through Featured

Lilly Looking Through Boxart

Developer: Geeta Games
Publisher: Geeta Games
Platform: PC – Direct, GOG*, Mac Game Store, Steam

The past few years have been really good to adventure game fans. Thanks in part to companies like Telltale Games and Kickstarter, there seems to have been a rebirth of the genre that has long since been defined “dead” by the general gaming populace. It never died, though, and there are certainly a lot of great new games making their debut! One successful Kickstarter adventure title is Lilly Looking Through which was fully funded in 2012. Have Geeta Games managed to produce a lovely point and click adventure?

Yes! At the very start, we are introduced to Lilly. This young girl has a pair of goggles that, when worn, transform the world around her. No longer are her surroundings drab and dated but colorful and full of life! Her world becomes something straight out of a picture book or an animated fantasy film and is a joy to explore. Players navigate via a point and click interface (which includes a tool to highlight selectable objects). Some adventure games cram environments with too much interactivity, but Lilly Looking Through keeps it easy.

Lilly Looking Through Featured

Well, most of the time. There are some puzzles which caused me to employ liberal use of guess and check. Although most of the puzzles aren’t this way, the ones that are tougher can become annoying. This is mostly due to the fact that Lilly takes her sweet time traversing areas and interacting with objects. Her animations are lively and all, but after seeing them the first time it becomes more of a time waster to see them on the third or fourth loop. There’s no way to skip said animations which is the main misstep.This is a small complaint, all things considered.

Geeta Games have provided a lovingly crafted point and click game. It is fairly short (from 2-6 hours for most players) but the journey is a lot of fun. It’s easy to get wrapped up in Lilly’s goggle-aided view of the world. Her delight and discovery is definitely imparted on the player. Here’s hoping that this delightful game gains a following so that maybe we’ll see more Lilly Looking Through in the future!


Score: 4

4 out of 5 alpacas


Review code provided
About our rating system – *Affiliate link