BASED ON DEMO
One of the best stand alone SEs I have ever played, this game opens with a casual confidence, twists into mounting tension, builds on into creepy, suddenly becoming downright scary, and then that darn sinister laugh - nearly gave me goose bumps. You just don’t see many intros which are that wide-ranging in emotions.
And everything about the game is just a little bit different.
SIGHTS & SOUNDS
The graphics are easily CE standard. The cut scenes are extremely well done, the HOP scenes are clear, detailed, and with just the lightest of surreal touches making them interesting. Lots of life and light, but with that colour palette that always lets me know this is a game that will have its gross moments. You know, the purples and greens, and oranges with pinks. Liked the interface, too. All that dangerous broken glass!
The main character/narrator’s voiceover is excellent. She acts very well, with the right emphasis and intonation, as well as clear and flawless pronunciation. The other characters achieve a close approximation to lip synch. The music is multi-layered, often ominous, but also exciting & energetic at times. Great ambient sounds and effects.
This is a good somewhat original story, well structured, but little emphasis is really given it in the game. You used to be trapped in a dead end job with an over-demanding boss, but without the fortitude to get out. Then something terrible goes horribly wrong. An evil laugh follows you down into darkness, and you wake up trapped in a hospital room. But the story does not descend into another of the ‘abandoned asylum’ games, it is way more weird than that!
Alice’s journey is an internal mental one, as most of you have probably already guessed, and so anything is possible. We find ourselves on a quest to find 4 totems, each from a different world, in order to escape back to reality.
The adventure gameplay is fairly easy, and so too are the many HOPs and mini-games. There are, wait for it, 30 (!!) HOPs, but don’t panic, because there are 40(!!) mini-games. At least, it seems so according to the achievements list. Yes, there are also (many) achievements! No collectibles however.
Again, some at least of the HOPs you can expect to be quirky, for example the one of Vitrupian Woman (hee hee), where all the items on the word list are silhouettes on a poster.
So far the mini-games are easy and fun. The journal gives objectives and sub-objectives, as well as notes. Hint is directional, and you will eventually get an interactive jump map, which indicates task available, if you choose. There are choices of 3 levels of difficulty, volumes, widescreen, and aspect correction.
It took me almost exactly the full hour to complete the demo, which was still in the first of 4 chapters, and a reasonably long way till its completion.
These developers have spent their money wisely. There are only a few but very effective cut-scenes, which you can’t play later, and carefully distributed excellent voiceover, rather than endless chat. It just doesn’t have the glamour of many games. But it has good solid gameplay, attractive and interesting artwork, and a little quirkiness as a bonus.
In all, a great SE game. If this is the quality of games we can expect for our PCCs in the future, I for one am happy to accommodate the recent changes!
I recommend this game!