Developer: Blam! Entirely New Story!
BASED ON DEMO
This one gets 5 stars just for the story, because it is something completely new and different, and reflects a truly active imagination. But full marks are justified for other reasons as well.
SIGHTS & SOUNDS
The graphics are high class, fantasy-styled, a little cartoonish, and perhaps a little too water-colour for me, but definitely beautiful and easy on the eye. The cut scenes are marvellous, especially once you are into the game proper. The voiceovers are good, spoiled a bit by an attempt at lip synch that doesn’t come off. I still think it’s better not to try unless you can do it right. The music is excellent, pleasant with a sometimes Aztec sound to it. The game also has Aztec imagery throughout, but the interface leans towards dreamcatchers.
Your friend invites you to join him and his wife in the town they have settled in, where there is plenty of work and opportunities for a young man like yourself. Turns out he is not doing you a favour, but I am not sure he knew that when he sent the invite. Simon, the new ‘big man around town’ who is offering these opportunities asks you to play a game of cards with him before you’ve even washed the dust off the road down your throat.
That is where the story really begins. You find yourself trapped in a magical world of the cards, and the only way to escape is to survive the game. But Simon has been ‘turned’ by the game, and he no longer plays fair. It is almost impossible to hope to survive. Every object in the game can and usually is turned against you. Still, if you ‘play your (magical) cards right)’ *groan*, you might make it.
Whilst you will find HOPs and other puzzles and mini-games which are fairly standard, there are different types of gameplay to match the different story. You acquire magic cards that can perform certain spells, such as an ice card. To move up levels in the game, you must also find teleportation cards. All cards must be activated by a particular process.
For the rest, the HOPs have the usual number of interactive items to be found, but some of the interactions are much more involved. The puzzles and games are not overly difficult, and other game mechanics are the expected. You have a journal, an interactive map that jumps (within that world), and a helper. Yes, I’m sorry, the magical animal is indeed cute, in a wonky sort of way, and climbs and digs. It redeems itself, however, by also being very funny. I love the video where it slides down the waterslide, and tumbles down to where you are waiting.
There are collectibles. There are 30 plain looking jigsaw puzzle pieces and seem to relate to the “secret game” in the extra content. There are also achievements, displayed in a casino-style environment. The SG is well written. There are replayable mini-games, the Secret Game (which looks like a jigsaw), and the usual gallery items. 9 wallpapers, 14 concept art drawings and sketches (very good in their own right), 7 music tracks, videos. And of course the bonus chapter.
An excellent game, in which I am very happy to see a totally new story for the first time in... well, forever!I Recommend This Game!