by ALAWAR; WELLORE; BIGFISH GAMES
Story: A young journalist, desperate for a big story, accepts an intriguing assignment: Hunt down an eccentric inventor who hasn’t spoken to anyone in years and interview him about his latest gadget. The writer gets more than she bargained for when she arrives at her destination and finds the living have abandoned the town and she learns of the inventor’s plans to create cars with souls! As her guide, you’ll search vintage cars and rundown factories for clues, perform tasks for ghosts, and solve an array of ingenious puzzles. With the fate of many souls and the life of the inventor on the line, you must not delay! (Big Fish Blurb)
Options & Main Menu: Both are good – MM is clear and easy to use.
Music & Voice-Overs: These are also good – the music suits the setting, and the dialogues give adequate information and set tasks.
Desktop: Journal, Menu (L); Inventory, Lists (C); Hint, Amulet (R).
Tutorial: Done with the usual Alawar efficiency.
Graphics: These were predominantly clear and colourful, but not the glorious brilliance of the Fantasy games colour. Rather it is ‘plain’ tones and industrial hues, to suit the delapidation of the rundown city full of derelict vehicles. This is done really well, without resorting to gloom or over-use of darkness.
Play Modes: Casual; Expert. The game offers unlimited Hints and Tips – at least in the Casual Mode – and you need to resort to these frequently, unless you are skilled enough to draw a Map as you go. This of course only helps if you can remember which Sites need of which Items.
Map: None! I looked for one in the Journal but could find no tabs. This makes this cool game tedious. You are forced to go back and forth continually, increasing the player fatigue and making the wrist ache.
HOPs: These are standard Interactive Lists, most with clear Graphics. There are plenty of them and you play 2 HOPS per Site.
Puzzles: The logical, quick Puzzles were fine, but the random and sliding Puzzles were annoying and often unworkable. Of course if I wanted to sit there, growing older with aching shoulders for half an hour just to try to get one Puzzle out, I could have, but as usual I just hit SKIP.
Collections: 10 Slides for use in the Projector.
Game-play: This follows the usual seek and find format, collecting Items and using them elsewhere. The inevitability that tools you find and use will immediately be mysteriously lost from your Inventory so that you have to find another one to use on the next screw, bolt, lock etc becomes an ongoing joke. Ditto that everything place you look is secured by locks that are missing symbols, plaques, coins, etc! And they are rarely to be found in the same location as they are needed. But the game flows well, driven on by the tasks of its story
Player Participation: Full on! And tiring.
Satisfaction Factor: It’s an enjoyable game, as the premise is different. Of course there is an eerie element to it, an unreal twist within the storyline, but it ends satisfactorily.
Frustration Factors: Mostly the lack of Map and the resulting tedium and fatigue; and the annoying Puzzles.
As it is interesting, I do recommend this game, despite the lack of Map.
Jud House 21/03/2016
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