Developer: Big Fish Games in conjunction with Jet Fun Do (there were BFG credits, so I think they were a little more involved with this one than the usual)It’ll Keep You Busy!
BASED ON DEMO
The opening sequences are not at all impressive. There is no voiceover, the graphics are sub-par and the story itself seems at this stage pretty obscure. Things do improve once the game proper starts, but it is still definitely a B grade production. Of course, some B grades – movies or games - are just the thing in the right mood.
SIGHTS & SOUNDS
While the graphics are bright and colourful, they are a bit blurry, and have an amateurish feel about them. But they are not ugly, and are clear enough to see all you need to see, and if you’re on a laptop or small monitor, I doubt you’d notice the blur. The lack of artistic style, though, is obvious.
The music is strange to me, but then I know nothing about music. I think this is jazz. It certainly involves excessive use of a big string instrument. I did not notice any other environmental sounds. There are no voiceovers, and that means a heck of a lot of reading in the early part, and throughout the demo it is still noticeable by its absence.
I think the key to success without voiceover is to tell as little of the story as possible, and let the characters’ actions speak for themselves, otherwise there is just too much time spent looking at the bottom of the page.
You have been enticed to the Any Wish Hotel to investigate a disappearance, but before you even walk through the door, the presence of a strange and malevolent looking man bothers you. So does a very beautiful and ethereal butterfly that is the highlight of the game.
Inside, the hotel is a shambles, and just getting to the owner’s office is an adventure. The current guests include an inventor, an artist, an illusionist, and a musician. They are all acting peculiar, and it has something to do with that butterfly and the stranger. Things go downhill from there.
Very basic. This a no frills game all the way, and that includes the HOPs and puzzles. The HOP scenes look quite good, but are very cluttered. They are interactive lists with some new interactions. The puzzles and mini-games are for the most part old, and very easy. Some, though, are quite clever. But neither types of game are the main focus.
Most of the game is very easy adventure stuff. What I call inventory-driven. Wander around and find out what you need; then wander around and find out what you’ve got; put the two together. After the initial confusion, where you have a dozen inventory items and a dozen places to put things that don’t match with any of them, the game settles down into an easy rhythm. Each location has lots to do of this sort of thing, and you will certainly be kept busy, but the objects and their uses are usually pretty obvious.
There is an interactive map giving you where there are active task, where you are finished, and of course where you are. It (sometimes – you’ll find out) allows you to jump, which judging by the toing and froing, and the complexity and size of the map, is going to be a good thing. There is also a directional hint and a journal which allows you to replay cut scenes. And 3 modes of difficulty.
One aspect of this game is fun. There is an ironic humour throughout, leading to black bar comments like: What a good place to hide a cane head! (The maintenance hatch of the elevator).
I can’t get into this game. But it is not all bad. It is a nice easy game with some good moments and I’d never NOT recommend it on its B grade status alone. But, personally, I think there’s better.
Good for a punchcard coupon or gum shoe fans. I Recommend This Game!