Dark & Brooding, HOG Heavy***
BASED ON DEMO
I like it. I know it was panned by the critics, but I like it. Yes, it is dark, and yes, it is mostly HOPs, but if you are into creepy and like HOPs that are challenging, there is a lot to say for this one.
SIGHTS & SOUNDS
The graphics are good, clean and well drawn, nothing fancy, but competent. The primary colours are brown, grey, green. Dingy brown, grey and green. The images are also very dark, often dirty and occasionally a bit gross. It’s all part of the atmosphere. There are no real cut scenes, just transitions. The sound track is quiet in parts, nerve-abrading in others. The storm outside the village of Iping is tremendous, and thank goodness there are inside locations! Or we’d be overwhelmed. No voice acting, no real interaction with the other citizens we observe from time to time.
Your sweetheart is a ‘mad scientist’ convinced he can create the formula to make things invisible. He is off in some hotel doing his experiments when you get worried about him (I forget why) and go to see him. He seems to have run away from an avalanche of bad feelings among the people at the Inn. You follow him to the village of Iping, where things are even worse! Seems everywhere he goes, people hate him. Yet he’s done nothing wrong. You set about trying to fix things for him.
As said, lots of HOPs. They are interactive word lists, with the interactive items indicated on the list, but no cursor change in the scene increases the difficulty. Also, the game ‘cheats’. My word for the tendency to hide objects almost completely behind others. Also, there are dark corners where items are hard to see. You have to like a challenge in your HOPs if you are going to enjoy this game. There is also a click penalty!
There are few puzzles, and they are easy, with a quick skip button. The adventure play is logical and somewhat linear, although not as much as many other HOP dominant games. There is a directional hint which, when it shows you the final location where you need to be, discharges itself, and so you must wait. But this only happens on the last direction needed to put you in the right place. There is a journal and a task list (separate from the objectives). The inventory system is rudimentary, with inventory on one side, and the objectives – the items you need – on the other, and you can toggle between them.
This game appealed to me first, because the atmosphere was indeed creepy and brooding. And secondly, because the gameplay was simple enough to move easily through the actions needed, but challenging in the HOPs. This game is really designed for a sophisticated HOP addict. HOPA fans will find it a bit too easy, with the emphasis on the wrong kind of challenges.
But we’re not all HOPA freaks. This one is for the HOP players with a taste for the dark and eerie.
I recommend this game!