Tag Archives: point and click

2064: Read Only Memories review

2064: Read Only Memories is a Cyberpunk adventure game from San Francisco developer MidBoss, that was originally founded by members of the GaymerX team, who primarily focus on LGBT issues in the gaming industry. As a result, 2064 tackles a lot of these issues, but moves the setting to a futuristic America where the population includes hybrid humans with animal qualities made possible by genetic modification. ROMs (Relationship Organizational Managers) are also owned by most of society, and are robots who carry out the menial tasks within society.

2064 starts with you waking to find one of these ROMs, called Turing, in your apartment. His owner, your old friend, Hayden Webber, has gone missing, and Turing has identified you as the person most likely to be able to assist in finding out what has happened. During your investigation you will encounter a wide range of characters, and will uncover the seedy underbelly of the city.

There were a lot of things I liked about 2064, particularly the writing and story that deals with the hybrid humans, in particular Jess, a lawyer who fights for the rights of hybrids. You will also encounter the leader of the Human Revolution who campaigns against hybrids, and protests outside of the genetic hospitals who carry out the work. There are real similarities here to current day issues of racism, homophobia, etc, and the subject matter is handled very sensitively.

In fact, all the characters in the game are written incredibly well. The stand-out, and the emotional core of 2064 is Turing, who you soon find out is not just an ordinary ROM. Hayden had designed Turing to be the first sentient artificial being, and is as inquisitive and emotional as a child would be facing the horrors of the world for the first time. Voiced by Melissa Hutchison (Clementine from Telltale’s Walking Dead series), the sadness, anger and frustration really shines through. There is a great line of dialogue at one point where you discuss Turing’s perceived gender, which again really hits home with current day issues.

However, as good as the story is, the game it finds itself packaged into is not great. At its core, 2064 is a point and click adventure, without any meaty puzzles to solve. There are objects to be picked up and used, but these are extremely rare, and there is no real challenge in working out where and how they have to be used. The game is extremely linear, with the in-game map always telling you where you need to go with a big fat exclamation mark. Attempting to travel to a different location sometimes leads to Turing commenting on how that decision is not right.

There are also a couple of puzzle sections, which require virtually zero brain power in order to complete. A walk through a underground tunnel system is simple to navigate as there are maps on the wall. And the final puzzle sequence is a cat and mouse encounter in a maze, where it seems like the outcome will be same whatever you do, unless I am mistaken. Overall, 90% of 2064 is clicking the A button to move the dialogue along. There are dialogue decisions to make from time to time and the outcome of your response does affect the relationships between your characters, but picking the right response is again not much of a challenge. Being nice to people means they will be your friend and help you at the finale, being horrible, or rude will mean they won’t help. The completionists/achievement hunters amongst us will be disappointed to learn that to get 100% will mean multiple playthroughs.

And let’s not dwell too much on the control system. Point and click adventure games struggle when on console, and 2064 is no exception. The controls are truly awful. Clicking an object will bring up four possible actions, all represented by white icons which get lost within the background. There is no quick way to select, meaning you have to move the cursor via the left stick to select them. It is very irritating and led to me not bothering to interact with the game world in any detail.

2064 is a great story, with well-written characters, but wrapped up in a terrible game. It would have been more suited to be left as a visual novel for people to enjoy that way, as lasting memories of it in it’s game format will not be positive.

Thanks to Xbox and MidBoss for supporting TiX

Broken Age review

Broken Age, a point and click adventure game from Double Fine Productions, has finally come to the Xbox One. Originally announced over five years ago via a famous Kickstarter campaign, the game is a love letter to the LucasArts titles of the 1990’s.

It tells the story of young Shay, last survivor of his planet, aboard the space vessel Bassinostra. Searching for a new home for him, the ship’s AI watches over every aspect of Shay’s life, and appears to him as his mother and father. Yet his life is an endless loop of breakfast cereal, cuddly toys and rollercoasters. Shay tires of his situation and longs for adventure. Keen to break free of his own Groundhog Day routine he soon discovers a stowaway aboard the ship who has a very different perception of what’s going on in Shay’s life.

Broken Age also tells the story of Vella, who finds herself in the apparently enviable position as one of her town’s sacrificial offerings to the dreaded Mog Chothra, a fearsome creature that demands all villages offer up sacrifices of young girls every 14 years. Whilst the other maidens are more than happy with this arrangement, given that it saves their entire villages from being destroyed, Vella would rather find a way to kill the creature. Unfortunately for her, no one else agrees. She escapes the Mog and embarks on a mission to find out more about Mog Chothra, and how to kill it.

The game is split into two acts, with the second act being considerably longer than the first. The two stories are entirely separate but you can switch between them at any time. I don’t think it’s much of a spoiler to say that the two stories do eventually come together, but you can play either story through to the end of Act 1 without starting the other. But it’s a useful feature for when you might be stuck on a particularly difficult problem, and you will most definitely be stuck on many particularly difficult problems.

So, pointing and clicking. You will move through different areas, meet characters, find objects, combine objects, give combined object to character to get an item to put on top of something. I really don’t want to say too much about the story, but: you’ll have to contend with a snake who will strangle you if you get too close, you’ll steal an anti-radiation suits from a cult, you’ll frost cakes, the list goes on. There is no tutorial or hint system in this game, it also involves a lot of backtracking across areas. If you walk off to the side of the screen the game has to load, so although loading is very quick, a fade to black and back again, you’ll be doing it a lot. There are also surprisingly few locations in the game. Whilst I got through the first Act of the game with relative ease, the second, much longer part of the game sees many multiple objectives to complete, with it never being entirely clear what it is that you need to do to complete each one. I found that completing puzzles boiled down to being resolved in one of three ways: you solved it yourself, you fluked it by trying ‘everything on everything’, or you resorted to looking up the answer somewhere. There are some really difficult puzzles later in the game and you’ll really need to take notes (pro tip: or take screenshots with your phone) and due to the random nature of many of the puzzles, a guide is only of limited help.

As I said in the introduction, this is very much a traditional point and click adventure game. Of course it is, and it’s what the fans kept asking Tim Schaffer for. He made all those great old games, why can’t he make one now? The answer was always that it would never sell enough copies in today’s market and no publisher would stump up the cash for a game that wouldn’t make a profit. And so he turned to Kickstarter and quickly raised over $3m as the rabid fan base practically forced him to take their money. This allowed the team to expand their plans for the game, hire some top voice talent and increase the number of platforms the game was released on. This game came to the Ouya before it came to the Xbox. Perhaps some concessions to modernity should have been made. The game could at least have had a hint system, because looking up the answers online doesn’t sit right. I completed the game in just under 12 hours with only 480 Gamerscore, so plenty of reason to go back, especially due to some of the puzzles having different solutions each time, and maybe get the achievement for completing the game in under one hour. I did really enjoy Broken Age, despite the difficulty.

Thanks to Double Fine Productions and Xbox for supporting TiX

Silence review

Silence is the brainchild of Daedelic Entertainment, you may not have heard much about them but the German based company have come up with something very special that will surely put their name firmly on the gaming map.

From the moment I launched the game, I was immediately relaxed. The title screen was gorgeous with an autumnal feel and piano music slowly playing in the background. The title screen gives you a few options, nothing complicated but with the nice addition of a bonus section that lets you look through some of the concept art for the game. The concept art is amazing. That gave me high hopes about Silence and I wasn’t disappointed. I launched the game and the same piano music played, opening up to a snowy town with children playing, building snowmen. The relaxed feeling didn’t last however as our protagonist Noah, entered the scene calling for his younger sister Renie. The emergency became apparent as the next shot showed war planes emerging from the clouds as Noah and Renie made their escape into an air raid shelter. This next part isn’t a spoiler but more a mood changer, you see a hand touch the glass in the door to the air raid shelter and then a explosion. The blood on the window makes it very clear what has happened and also makes you aware that Silence isn’t a nicey-nicey game that is going to give you an easy emotional ride.

silence_noah_renie

So, Noah and Renie are stuck together in the shelter with nothing to do, so your first objective is to try and comfort Renie. Much like Tell Tale games the mechanic is quite simple, you have a scene and you have to work your way around finding objects that you can interact with in order to progress, that being said it’s not always apparent what you have to do with the objects and may require you discover something else before you can use them. During his showpiece Renie asks Noah to tell her a story of Silence. As they get into the swing of the story an explosion is heard, this is where the story really starts.

silence_noah_1

Time for a confession, Silence is apparently a sequel but to be honest I never played it’s predecessor so this was a new experience for me. Getting to grips with the story isn’t hard though and I don’t think you’re missing out by not playing the first one, although there are references that may not make much sense such as a clown called Sadwick. I think this is a reference from the first one, however it’s not really explained in this game. Silence is a place that exists between life and death, and the objective is to leave Silence whichever way you want to. I guess life would be the desirable way out. There is an element of “choose your own adventure” giving you options on how you reply or comment on certain situation. I’m not sure if this has an impact on your overall outcome but it gets your moral juices flowing that’s for sure.

silence_noah_3

The point and click style of Silence gives you plenty of opportunity to take in all of it’s glorious surroundings. Each character is 3D, laid over the top of 2D scenarios. Each scene is beautiful, from the plants growing in the ground, to the interesting creatures that play a small part, it’s clear Daedelic have spent a lot of time fine-tuning the gorgeous visuals in this game. The graphics are stunning throughout. There are a few cut-scenes but these blend in nicely and use the same graphics instead of switching between high rendered cut scenes and playable areas. The music laid over the top adds for an amazing atmosphere, fitting in nicely with the mood and pace of the game. I’m lucky enough to have surround sound in my living room but I would highly recommend playing this game either the same way or with headphones on to truly get immersed in the land of Silence.

silence_monument

Silence is a puzzle game, and each stage will have a few things to solve. At times it did feel that a puzzle was created purely just to fill out a level. An example of this is where you meet a character by the name of Kyra. She is a rebel and potential love interest (well I thought so anyway) who is trying to blow up a bridge. Blowing up the bridge is simple enough with the explosives she has but for some reason you need to use your friendly pet Spot, who is extremely cute by the way, to blow up a retaining chain on the bridge. Now that seems simple but to get to that point isn’t so. Most of the time there are hints and tips but sometimes there isn’t any, and as I mentioned before, it’s not always that obvious what you need to discover or use. That being said I can forgive Silence for these little flaws because as soon as you finish a puzzle the graphics and music soon chill you out and gear you up ready for the next objective.

silence_seeker_rebels

Overall, Silence is a fantastic experience, the little flaws such as the puzzles and the often, at times amateur dramatic voice acting can all be forgiven every time you step into a new area. If you have ever played a Tell-Tale game or a point and click adventure then you’ll feel right at home with Silence, and if you haven’t then Silence will be a good first one to try. With an emotional and inviting story Silence will have you going back for more. I hope that this isn’t the last we see of Silence and I hope that Daedelic Entertainment will take us back again to continue the beautiful adventures.

Thanks to Daedelic Games and Xbox for Supporting TiX

 

 

Adventure Time: Finn and Jake Investigations review

When I heard that a brand new Adventure Time title was making its way to the Xbox One, I was beyond delighted and was even happier to hear that it was an adventure-puzzle game – one of my favourite genres. I had missed out on previous titles due to numerous reasons, and had to get my gaming fix from the excellent mobile games available, but now was my chance to get my hands on a Finn and Jake adventure for the new generation.

ATCandyKingdom

One quiet afternoon, Finn and Jake are relaxing in their treehouse, pondering what to spend their day doing, when suddenly BMO discovers an old investigations printing machine called the “Tickertype”, which belonged to their parents. Naturally Finn and Jake set out to solve these mysteries, whilst honing their puzzle-solving skills, battling bad guys, and just having fun in the Land of Ooo.

Each of the five mysteries are laid out just like an episode of Adventure Time and feature many smaller puzzles which need to be solved to then complete the main investigation of that episode. In the first investigation Finn and Jake take on they must prove to Princess Bubblegum that the Wizard, Abracadaniel, is innocent of kidnapping Peppermint Butler. To prove his innocence Finn and Jake must search for clues and question the members of the Candy Kingdom. However, it soon becomes apparent that there is a much larger mystery to solve, and the mathematical duo must escape the Candy Kingdom to discover the fate of the kingdom’s missing residents.

ATAbracadaniel

Finn and Jake Investigations plays very similarly to other well known point and click titles, such as Monkey Island or Broken Sword, using the controller face buttons to interact with other characters and items within the environment. Whilst exploring the Land of Ooo, you will pick up items along the way, which can then also be used in special combinations to solve smaller mysteries.

As with any Finn and Jake adventure, you will find yourself battling against many of the unfriendly residents of the Land of Ooo, resulting in a basic button mashing exercise, which with a certain number of successful hits, unlocks special Finn and Jake combination moves to use throughout the battle. Victory in these battles will sometimes result in a new sword, with their own special abilities, such as the Root Sword which roots an enemy to the spot, hindering their attack. Any new swords Finn acquires will be available to pick up in his sword storage from the safety of the treehouse.

ATBattle

Whenever anyone mentions Adventure Time, the first thing which comes to mind is the unique art style of the series. However, Little Orbit have decided to take the iconic imagery and style of the series into the third dimension, and the character, identity, and charm of Adventure Time is lost. They could have created a wonderful world using the original artwork of the series, but instead the game looks almost childish in appearance, and loses a lot of its original identity. What it lacks in detail, however, it certainly makes up in colour, as the environments and characters are instantly recognisable.

Little Orbit have created a well rounded and quite enjoyable puzzle-adventure title, which will keep you hunting for clues, and solving mysteries for hours. However, I did find that it felt more like a fleshed out arcade title, rather than a full retail game, and not sure whether it warrants the price of some other AAA titles out there.

ATTreasure

Adventure Time: Finn and Jake Investigations feels as though it’s aimed at the younger audience, with its bright and colourful visuals, uncomplicated combat system, and a full cast of familiar faces, but it will satiate the appetite of the older Adventure Time fans, although only for an afternoon or two. The puzzles and combat aren’t particularly taxing, but overall it is an enjoyable romp through the Land of Ooo.

[rprogress value=75 text=”TiX Score 75%”]
[xyz-ihs snippet=”XboxOne”][xyz-ihs snippet=”Pegi7″]

Thanks to Xbox and Little Orbit for their support

Broken Sword 5 review

With the emergence of ID@Xbox there have been some top quality titles hitting the Xbox Store, it also gives players a chance to experience titles such as Broken Sword 5: The Serpent’s Curse. Having had the chance to play the game previously on the Playstation Vita I was looking forward to the chance of playing it again on a big screen.

The Broken Sword series was originally conceived in 1994 by Charles Cecil and has seen many different titles right up to The Serpent’s Curse, which was originally released in 2013 and was funded as a Kickstarter project.

Broken Sword 5 begins in 1937 in Catalonia, Spain, when a painting is seized by a man and his fascist army. The game then jumps to the present day, where we see the familiar faces of George and Nico. George is a good looking, American man who the French clearly love (well, love is a strong word) And Nico, a freelance photo journalist working for a newspaper called “La Liberte”, always on the lookout for a big story.

Broken_Sword_5___the_Serpent_s_Curse___George_under_Fire.jpg

By chance, they meet in a Paris Art Exhibition where they witness a murder by a man disguised as a Pizza Delivery driver, who then goes on to steals random painting from one of the walls, called la Maledicció.

This is where you gain control in the story. Control wise the game is pretty simple, it is a point and click after all. You use the left stick to move the cursor around to select objects and people and then one of the buttons to perform a certain action, the Xbox Controller vibrates whenever you pass over something to note. It would obviously be quicker if you had a mouse to use but I didn’t feel like I was being impeded by using a controller.

As you play through the game there are plenty of puzzles to solve, conversations to be had and information to take in, but it’s a great story that will see you travel the world. The first half of the game is quite pedestrian, you will spend time going back and forth to the same locations as the story unfolds. It’s in the second half of the story that the game really gets going. The puzzles start to become more challenging, there are riddles to solve and some cryptic clues to decipher, but if you get really stuck there is a hint system to help you along. You are able to combine items you collect in the game with characters or other items to help you in your way, conversation plays an important role too, as you discuss various topics with other people new subject can appear that can lead to important information. There is plenty of trial and error, but it never felt like a chore.

Broken_Sword_5___the_Serpent_s_Curse___Montserrat

That doesn’t mean the game isn’t frustrating at all, because it is. There are times where George and Nico find themselves in danger, but because of the point and click nature, you never feel like you are in danger. As you try to get yourself out of a situation they just amble along to wherever you direct them, the lack of urgency and threat in ruins the suspense.

When I played Broken Sword on the Vita, I though the game looked lovely but it’s even better on the Xbox One, the game has a beautiful colour palette, and the hand drawn graphics are lovely. Audio wise there are no complaints either, the soundtrack is very soothing, and the voice acting is good too. The script is well written and contains lots of humour (there are plenty of in-jokes for fans of the series in general) and you’ll see some familiar faces return from the series.

I certainly enjoyed playing the game again on the Xbox One, and was glad attention had been paid to make sure that the game suited the console. There are also achievements and they have been well thought out, if anything they will make you pay more attention to your surrounding and make you explore the environments more closely. Broken Sword 5 brings a great change of pace to the Xbox One, and most point and click fans will enjoy the experience.

Thanks to Renaissance PR for their support

[rprogress value=70 text=”TiX Score 70%”]
[xyz-ihs snippet=”XboxOne”][xyz-ihs snippet=”Pegi16″]