Late last year we reported a bunch of adventure games, planned for adaption to the iDevice platform with the centerpiece being the legendary game by Benoit Sokal – Syberia, arguably one of the most enchanting adventure games ever. Unfortunately, with the owner of the franchise, Microids, having been acquired by Anuman the plans shifted and the project had been suspended indefinitely, with other titles being pushed forward. Instead the current home of the genius, White Birds Productions, has teamed up with Bulkypix and released The Last King of Africa, an adaptation of one of Benoit Sokal’s later games – Paradise.
The Last King of Africa is a watered down version of the original PC adventure with only the first chapter available at the moment. In the small country of Maurania, civil war is raging and the king is forced to flee. Only the true heir to the throne, supported by the people, may stop the bloodshed and reunite the country. And by chance this unlikely person suffers a plane crash near the capital city of Madargane, losing her memory in the process. It is up to us to help her find her lost father, discover the family secret and discover the true role of the black leopard.
In its journey to the iDevice, The Last King of Africa underwent a transformation from a classic 3d-person point-and-click adventure to a much simplified 1st person experience, with a bit of hidden-object fun thrown in for good measure. As real wars are described as short periods of action with long periods of moving troops, LKoA’s gameplay may be described as short series of dialogues and cutscenes mixed with long periods of finding items and places for employing them. And, of course, there are a few occasional puzzles thrown in for good measure to bring some variety to the gameplay.
Most of the puzzles aren’t difficult, but pixel hunting is a serious issue. While the developers tried to implement an area search interface to simplify the design, it still has a long way to go from being perfect, with very careful positioning required sometimes to hit the object hot spot. The list of current objectives, available at the tap of a finger, is certainly helpful in many situations, but on the whole the decision to take up such a significant amount of screen real estate with the menu panel on the left is highly questionable, especially since there is no zoom available on the main screen.
The graphics leave a dual-impression. On the one hand – the cutscenes and backgrounds are beautifully rendered. On the other, as noted above, there is no zoom, which apart from making hitting the sweet spot often a pain, doesn’t give much opportunity to study the scenery in detail. And have I noted already that the game is no longer 3d person? The performance is decent on the iPhone 3G, but the dialogue display speed is frustratingly slow, at least when not holding down on it.
Despite the aforementioned flaws, The Last King of Africa is still an impressive piece of work and well worthwhile any gamers’ attention. While it is definitely not my first recommendation for the genre, in the barren wasteland of adventure games section of the App Store (true adventure games, of course) it is still a welcome addition to the genre. Beautiful graphics and cutscenes and a captivating story make for an enjoyable trip to Maurania any day of the week.
With this I declare The Last King of Africa officially touched!
|Title:||The Last King of Africa||Developer:||BULKYPIX|
|Reviewed Ver:||1.1||Min OS Req:||3.0|
|Price:||$2.99||App Size:||148 MB|