TouchMyApps » Adventure http://www.touchmyapps.com All Things iPhone and iPad for those who like to Touch. iOS App reviews, News, New Apps, Price Drops and App Gone Free Mon, 14 Apr 2014 11:45:56 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.7.3 Nightmares from the Deep: The Siren’s Call HD in Review – Davey Jones Is Still A Fish Out Of Water http://www.touchmyapps.com/2014/01/19/nightmares-from-the-deep-the-sirens-call-hd-in-review-davey-jones-is-still-a-fish-out-of-water/ http://www.touchmyapps.com/2014/01/19/nightmares-from-the-deep-the-sirens-call-hd-in-review-davey-jones-is-still-a-fish-out-of-water/#comments Sun, 19 Jan 2014 21:36:05 +0000 http://www.touchmyapps.com/?p=73520 I’ve been pondering how to keep this review from sounding like a simple retread of the first installment, but that might be a bit of a losing battle.  Thankfully that’s not entirely a bad thing because the original Nightmares From The Deep was definitely one of my favorite G5 offerings, and so far the sequel … Read more]]>

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I’ve been pondering how to keep this review from sounding like a simple retread of the first installment, but that might be a bit of a losing battle.  Thankfully that’s not entirely a bad thing because the original Nightmares From The Deep was definitely one of my favorite G5 offerings, and so far the sequel has been just as entertaining.  The protagonist Sarah Black is back, as is the slimy sea serpent Davey Jones.  The backstory is different, but ultimately it’s still you against evil incarnate with a healthy dose of exploration, puzzle solving and mini-games coming your way.  Are you ready to match wits with the stuff of legends once again?

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This time around you’re trying to save an island-bound village whose mayor made a pact with the devil and has now gone mad with power.  You’ll make friends with a rebel fish-man and set out to rescue Caliope and reclaim her siren powers so that you can defeat the Kraken and whip Davey Jones into shape once and for all – or at least force him to slither away until your next adventure.  A bulk of the story will be communicated through your fish-man ally and journals you find scattered throughout the world, though the annoying treasure chest and its goblin-like guardian do return for this second installment.  There are plenty of rooms to explore and like most adventure games these days you’ll find yourself traipsing back and forth to certain locations several times before fully completing some tasks.  The game does actually offer maps, and if you’re playing in casual mode it will mark the map to show locations where you can actually do something.

In order to fully explore the vibrant world there are plenty of object based puzzles to solve.  Occasionally you’ll run into a situation that requires a bit more than what’s in your inventory to conquer, at which point you’ll enter into a mini-game.  None of the games so far have been overly difficult to solve, really acting more as a diversification element than anything else.  Finally there are several hidden object scenes, which in this case are broken up into three distinct types.  The first is your typical “find a list of objects”, while the second requires you to find all the silhouetted parts to a single object.  The last hidden object style is much like a mini-adventure as you have to find items and then use them elsewhere in the screen until you find the object you’re ultimately looking for.  I really like this last type of hidden object screen and hope to see it more in future games.

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To navigate between rooms you can double tap the direction you want to go, or you can actually pull up the map and double tap the location on the map to which you’d like to travel.  Pretty much anything you need to do in the game will be some combination of tapping and dragging which naturally works great on the touch screen but doesn’t really take advantage of anything unique to the device.  Once you’ve completed the main story you can play it again on a different difficulty setting if you want or you can continue the story with a bonus adventure that gets unlocked the first time you win the game.  There are 29 achievements to earn and 3 different types of “secret” objects to collect, but these seem pretty superfluous given that this is, in fact, an adventure game.  The thrill should come in seeing the story to a close (though I’ll admit the ending wasn’t quite as interesting as that of the original game).

Graphically the second Nightmares is on par with if not maybe slightly better than the first installment.  There are plenty of details in the backgrounds and surprisingly enough the hidden object scenes are often challenging without being overly crowded.  The character models are really well done also, rounding out the visuals quite nicely.  The sound effects are pretty decent, and the voiceovers for the most part are well acted and don’t sound stiff.  The music is pretty good when you notice it, but I usually found myself too engrossed in the game to care.

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I’m not too surprised, but this is another fine adventure game from G5 and Artifex Mundi.  The developer does a great job of telling a story, and is quite skilled at balancing the game play elements so it never gets boring.  I was a bit annoyed that they revisited the concept of collecting the coins to open a treasure chest, and the extras to find like birds and octopi seemed a bit overkill, but by and large I enjoyed traveling with Sarah Black just as much this time around.  If there’s ever a third Nightmare you can bet I’ll be there.

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App Summary
Title: Nightmares from the Deep™: The Siren’s Call HD Developer: G5 Entertainment
Reviewed Ver: 1.0 Min OS Req: 5.0
Price: Free App Size: 896 MB
  • Interesting story
  • Balanced, fun game play
  • Excellent video and quality audio
  • Another dwarf-protected treasure chest!
  • Secret collectibles seemed unnecessary

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Oceanhorn in Review – If We Can’t Have Zelda, I’ll Take This http://www.touchmyapps.com/2013/12/31/oceanhorn-in-review-if-we-cant-have-zelda-ill-take-this/ http://www.touchmyapps.com/2013/12/31/oceanhorn-in-review-if-we-cant-have-zelda-ill-take-this/#comments Tue, 31 Dec 2013 19:44:39 +0000 http://www.touchmyapps.com/?p=73485 Games like Diablo certainly popularized the concept, but in my opinion one of the earliest examples of a good action / RPG was The Legend Of Zelda.  There have been many installments in the franchise, but more importantly there have been a ton of wannabes made in an attempt to provide the same type of … Read more]]>

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Games like Diablo certainly popularized the concept, but in my opinion one of the earliest examples of a good action / RPG was The Legend Of Zelda.  There have been many installments in the franchise, but more importantly there have been a ton of wannabes made in an attempt to provide the same type of game to non-Nintendo platforms.  Some of them have succeeded to a limited degree, but Oceanhorn is one of the few to do so in both mechanics and spirit, and probably the only one for the iOS platform so far.  Apparently you don’t need a tri-force for this type of game to be fun.

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In this game you wake up a boy and set off to become a legend as you track down the mysterious creature Oceanhorn that is somehow tied to both you and your father.  To start your journey you must recover a mysterious necklace, and during that brief quest you’ll also find your first weapon.  Much like Zelda, you tend to find the useful stuff underground in the caves and tunnels you’ll explore.  Why do they always hide everything underground?  Anyway, you also have your trusty shield and fairly early on you’ll acquire the ability to collect and use bombs, so I’m expecting to find a bow and arrow or at least a boomerang at some point.  You soon get directed to visit a new island, and as you find documentation or talk to people that reveal the history of the land new locations will be unlocked for your explorative pleasure.

Naturally this won’t be a straightforward expedition, so you’ll spend some time traveling back and forth between islands to accomplish all of your goals.  In a nod to Wind Waker you actually pilot your boat during these treks, and once you get the bombs you actually have to shoot at things as well.  On the islands you’ll battle a variety of creatures, solve basic environmental puzzles that so far tend to revolve around moving blocks around and flipping switches, and some occupants on the islands will give you quests to complete.

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Along the way you might find items that you can equip or that relate to quests, and in a nice twist when you find non-essential items you’ll automatically sell them for gold.  No seeking out shops to clear your inventory in this game!  Each island also comes with three overriding missions to complete, though some or so broad you can actually finish them on any island.  Completing missions and killing monsters earns you XP, and once you’ve gathered enough you’ll go up a level which enhance or unlock some new trait for you.  There seems to be plenty to do, and the multiple levels make for some expansive islands, but even with the mini-map it can be easy to get lost and turned around at times, especially when you’re trying to get to that treasure chest that you can see on the map but just can’t quite find on the actual game screen.

To move your character along you use an invisible virtual joystick on the lower left side which works reasonably well most of the time.  Its impreciseness can be felt at times when you are trying to cross narrow bridges and such, however.  Most actions are performed with the versatile action button in the lower right corner of the screen, and special items are activated via the graphical item button above the action button.  Don’t confuse this with the button that actually says “item” which brings up the menu of special items you can pick from.  You can throw certain items by picking them up and holding them with the action button, aiming by dragging the virtual control stick, then releasing the action button to toss.  This does take some getting used to, especially since there is no nifty guide ala Angry Birds to show you where you’re actually tossing the item.  There is also a menu accessible by touching the mini-map that shows things like your current missions, items you’ve collected and a log of everything you’ve read and everyone you’ve talked to.

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Graphically I’d say the game comes in at about the level of the Zelda series when it was on the Nintendo 64.  The backgrounds are pretty stunning at times, and there’s plenty of detail strewn throughout the levels.  Some of the monster designs are rather interesting, and there’s an obvious influence from Zelda in cases like the monster that rises from the ground and spits rocks at you (sort of a combination of two classic Zelda critters).  The sound effects are pretty good and they did a good job finding people to voice the characters, though there are times that the voices don’t necessarily match what you’d expect by looking at an individual.  The music takes me back to the days of Castlevania IV on the SNES.  That was some of the best music of the 16 bit era, and the style still holds up incredibly well as evidenced by the soundtrack in Oceanhorn.

This game does offer a few frustrations, especially when it comes to the preciseness of the controls.  However, all the good in the game far outweighs any minor inconveniences these things might provide.  I’ve always been a big fan of the Zelda series, and since Nintendo doesn’t share the closest we were ever going to get on another platform was an incredible clone.  There’s no question in my mind that Oceanhorn is that clone.  If Zelda doesn’t mean anything to you then you’re still in luck because Oceanhorn is a pretty remarkable action / adventure RPG in its own right.

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App Summary
Title: Oceanhorn ™ Developer: FDG Entertainment
Reviewed Ver: 1.3 Min OS Req: 5.0
Price: $8.99 App Size: 170 MB
  • Closest thing to Zelda on iOS
  • Lots of world to explore
  • Challenging and rewarding game play
  • Excellent visuals
  • Great soundtrack
  • Virtual joystick not as precise as it could be
  • Often hard to judge where you’re throwing something
  • Easy to get lost on some levels

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Temptation. Episode 1 HD (Full) in Review – Can You Resist The Fog? http://www.touchmyapps.com/2013/12/02/temptation-episode-1-hd-full-in-review-can-you-resist-the-fog/ http://www.touchmyapps.com/2013/12/02/temptation-episode-1-hd-full-in-review-can-you-resist-the-fog/#comments Mon, 02 Dec 2013 23:35:26 +0000 http://www.touchmyapps.com/?p=73408 Temptation. Episode 1 HD is another solid offering from G5 Entertainment.  The story keeps you engaged and there are plenty of rooms to explore and puzzles to solve.  The mini games can be a bit on the tough side, and the hidden object scenes are basically superfluous, but overall this is once again a job … Read more]]>

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Temptation. Episode 1 HD is another solid offering from G5 Entertainment.  The story keeps you engaged and there are plenty of rooms to explore and puzzles to solve.  The mini games can be a bit on the tough side, and the hidden object scenes are basically superfluous, but overall this is once again a job well done.  I do hope that if there is an episode 2 that it takes a bit more liberty with the whole concept of temptation.

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You are an unfortunate victim who ends up getting sucked into a fog she is trying to escape and ultimately winds up trying to save the land’s queen from the evil Dark Raven.  Even though you know you’ll eventually escape it or fall prey to it, I like the “impending doom” imposed by the fog at the beginning.  I also like the fact that Dark Raven’s minions are constantly trying to get you to join the dark side, but the sad reality is that you can’t (or at least I haven’t been able to so far), and that would have been an interesting angle to explore.  Otherwise, if you’re at all familiar with adventure games you now how this goes.  You wander around different locations collecting items, using those items to solve puzzles and playing the occasional mini game to unlock an object or new area.

There are plenty of object based puzzles to complete, and the only problem I’ve had with that so far is that sometimes by the time I get an object I forget where I need to use it.  The mini games are quite interesting in that there are a number of them that I have not seen in other adventure games before.  Unfortunately they often tend to become a true obstacle after a while and I have found myself skipping them just to get on with the game.  The hidden object scenes seem like an afterthought or a mechanic that was used just because they couldn’t come up with another way to present a certain puzzle, and to me it seems like they should have been left out.  One thing I do like is that along the way you’ll be granted the power of three different plants that help you solve puzzles by transmuting items.  It’s mainly just a gimmick, but it adds an extra dimension to the game.

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Graphically the game stands up to its peers in the G5 catalog.  The backgrounds are ornately detailed, the character designs are decent, and there are decent effects like when the fog is rolling in or you use a flower to transform something.  The sound effects are pretty good and they did a great job of casting the voices.  The music is top notch as well and really emphasizes the dire mood of the game.

Overall Temptation Episode 1 was an enjoyable game.  I think it would have been better to go straight adventure rather than trying to through a few hidden object scenes in just for the sake of doing so, and some of the mini games were kind of annoying, but the interesting story and abundance of object based puzzles more than makes up for any of that.  I’m looking forward to seeing what episode 2 has to offer.

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App Summary
Title: Temptation. Episode I HD (Full) Developer: G5 Entertainment
Reviewed Ver: 1.0 Min OS Req: 5.1
Price: $6.99 App Size: 648 MB
  • Interesting story
  • Plenty of item based puzzles
  • Excellent visuals
  • Great music
  • Hidden object scenes felt out of place
  • Too many frustrating mini games

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Hero of Many in Review – Lack Of Action Doesn’t Mean Dull http://www.touchmyapps.com/2013/08/03/hero-of-many-in-review/ http://www.touchmyapps.com/2013/08/03/hero-of-many-in-review/#comments Sat, 03 Aug 2013 17:57:43 +0000 http://www.touchmyapps.com/?p=72950 Hero of Many is an intriguing game.  I have as yet to encounter most of what is talked about in the iTunes description for the game, or at least in mass amounts, yet I find myself mesmerized every time I load it up and start playing.  This game is about exploration as much as anything else, … Read more]]>

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Hero of Many is an intriguing game.  I have as yet to encounter most of what is talked about in the iTunes description for the game, or at least in mass amounts, yet I find myself mesmerized every time I load it up and start playing.  This game is about exploration as much as anything else, and if you’re the kind of player that needs to blast something every five seconds you might have a hard time latching on to Hero Of Many.  On the other hand, if you prefer a relaxing experience that has a little bit of gameplay thrown into the mix as well, Hero Of Many will be both satisfying and unlike much of anything else you’ll play from the App Store.

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There is a story that from what I can gather so far involves oppression and trying to break free from the evil that binds… you know, your typical cliché background.  What’s interesting is that the tale is told via in-game cut scenes that have no text or dialog, so you pretty much take from it what you will.  The game itself involves collecting orbs to make yourself stronger and freeing your comrades in light who will follow you and help fight the darkness when you encounter it.  So far I have engaged in one or two “major” battles, and had one opportunity to flee for my life from a boss that was too powerful to take on directly, but most of the combat has been pretty benign.  Most of the “puzzle solving” so far has been relegated to pushing rocks and trying not to get lost, but based on some of the screenshots I’ve seen I’m guessing that picks up later on as well.

Hero of Many relies on your ability to be patient and content with swimming around your surroundings, building your own tension simply by anticipating what might come around the bend.  It’s kind of like the difference between the first two films in the venerable Alien franchise, Alien and Aliens.  The latter was an all out action fest similar to most FPS games, whereas the former kept you thinking “when is something going to pop out”; that’s the feeling Hero of Many invokes.  For me it actually works rather well, but there’s certainly a particular mindset required to fully enjoy this style of game play.  There is also no score to be found in this game or any sort of achievements, so if you’re in need of instant gratification when playing a game you won’t find that here.

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To control the orb (and consequently the followers) you just tap the screen.  The farther your finger is from the orb the faster it will travel in the direction you want.  Your followers automatically attack anything that’s fairly close which is good to pick off bad guys in small groups.  The only special move I’ve learned so far is a group attack where you swipe from your orb in the direction you wish to attack, and all of your current followers will attack what is in that direction.  The control seems responsive enough so far, but the ability to perform additional moves will help cement that belief.  The levels are huge, which is nice, but your only indication that you’ve been somewhere other than flat out recognizing your location are white circles that appear in the rock formations at certain points when you first pass them.  There are also specific save points, and any progress you make between them will be lost if you need to quit the game.  That’s a bit disappointing given how much ground there is to cover in each level.

The visuals are simple and breathtaking.  The creatures look like living symbols, and the background has just enough animation to give you the sense that this is an organic, breathing world.  I’m always impressed when designers can make something look so good with a limited selection of colors as well.  The sound has a unique flavor to it, and the music is often subtle or lacking until you get to key moments at which point it gets very energetic and helps to set a frantic tone.

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I know it’s true of just about any game, but Hero of Many will definitely not appeal to everyone.  If you’re a high octane, blast everything in sight kind of guy this might not work for you.  There’s also a chance you’ll struggle a bit if you’re the type to pull up a map over your display every five seconds to find out where to turn.  On the other hand, if you get how exploring without confrontation can be fun or just want to experience something that doesn’t feel like everything else you’ve played on the App Store, Hero of Many is a great choice for you.  Just don’t expect any updates in the foreseeable future to add a BFG to the mix.

Grab It Rating - 4/5

App Summary
Title: Hero of Many Developer: Matous Jezek
Reviewed Ver: Min OS Req: 6.0
Price: $3.99 App Size:
  • Unique, relaxing game play
  • Large levels to explore
  • Great visuals
  • Complimentary sound and music
  • Easy to get turned around
  • Can’t just save anywhere
  • No immediate gratification via scores or achievements

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LIMBO Game in Review – A Dark, Captivating Platformer http://www.touchmyapps.com/2013/07/21/limbo-game-in-review/ http://www.touchmyapps.com/2013/07/21/limbo-game-in-review/#comments Sun, 21 Jul 2013 17:41:53 +0000 http://www.touchmyapps.com/?p=72890 I’ve always felt platform games were a staple of the mobile game world, or at least they were until everyone wanted a touch screen.  It’s not even that people didn’t want platform games any more, but rather while some developers did a much better job than others, no one could really seem to master solid … Read more]]>

I’ve always felt platform games were a staple of the mobile game world, or at least they were until everyone wanted a touch screen.  It’s not even that people didn’t want platform games any more, but rather while some developers did a much better job than others, no one could really seem to master solid controls with no physical controller.  LIMBO doesn’t accomplish that task either, but thankfully that didn’t stop the developers from porting the game over to iOS devices.  There’s something about this game that grabs you pretty much from the beginning and just doesn’t let go… even when the main character doesn’t do what you want him to.

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You play a young boy trying to rescue his sister, though I wouldn’t have known that had I not read the iTunes description.  You start out in a field with no explanation of why you’re there or any instructions on how to play the game.  Anyone with the slightest amount of gaming experience will figure it out, though, and soon you’ll be up and running.  And jumping, pushing, pulling, climbing and swinging from ropes.  There is a wide variety of puzzles in this game, and some of them are very creative.  There are also a couple of “bosses” that you have to deal with in quite interesting ways.  The important thing is that you are willing to try things that you wouldn’t expect to work, because you never know what will succeed in the land of Limbo.

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You swipe both to move left and right and to jump, which can sometimes cause issues where you end up performing one action instead of the other.  This can be especially problematic in situations that require extremely precise movement or impeccable timing.  Most other actions require some combination of tapping and dragging and do tend to work fairly well except when timing is crucial.  Thankfully I’ve always managed to figure a puzzle out just before I was ready to chuck my iPad through a window.  It’s a good thing too, because I can’t afford a new iPad right now.  The focus of the game is exploring and ultimately finishing it, evidenced by the lack of level score or any sort of leaderboards.  There are achievements, but even though I’m nearly half way through the game I haven’t earned a single one yet, so I’d say these are geared more towards the folks that really need it all.

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The graphics in LIMBO are incredible.  Everything is extremely well drawn and despite the limited palette comprised of shades of black and white and the silhouetted nature of the design, there is still plenty of detail.  I particularly like the fact that you often see the protagonist’s white eyeballs amidst the shadowy nature of his form.  The only thing I don’t care for is that sometimes the scenes get a bit too dark and it’s hard to tell what’s going on.  The sound effects do a great job of bringing the world of LIMBO to life.  I don’t normally like it when games like this don’t have a soundtrack, but the ambient sounds are enough to accentuate the spooky atmosphere.

Conceptually this is a beautiful game.  It’s gripping without a vocalized story, it’s challenging and creative, and it looks and sounds amazing.  It’s probably one of the best platform games I’ve played in a long time, iPad or otherwise… at least in terms of content.  I just implore the developers to consider revamping the control scheme to make it more touch screen friendly.  By the time that happens I’ll probably be done with the game, but they’ll certainly save future players a bunch of heartache.

Grab It Rating - 4/5

App Summary
Title: LIMBO Game Developer: Playdead
Reviewed Ver: Min OS Req: 6.0
Price: $4.99 App Size:
  • Great atmosphere
  • Creative puzzles
  • Beautiful visuals
  • Complimentary sound effects
  • Controls can be frustrating
  • Visuals sometimes get too dark

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Fighting Fantasy: The Forest of Doom in Review – Much More Than Lions, Tigers and Bears Here http://www.touchmyapps.com/2013/06/27/fighting-fantasy-the-forest-of-doom-in-review/ http://www.touchmyapps.com/2013/06/27/fighting-fantasy-the-forest-of-doom-in-review/#comments Thu, 27 Jun 2013 15:44:45 +0000 http://www.touchmyapps.com/?p=72793 If you’re familiar with me, at least when it comes to my reviews, you know that I’m a big fan of Tin Man Games and their Gamebook Adventures.  I remember this sort of thing when the books were actually printed and you had to use real dice for combat and pen and paper to keep … Read more]]>

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If you’re familiar with me, at least when it comes to my reviews, you know that I’m a big fan of Tin Man Games and their Gamebook Adventures.  I remember this sort of thing when the books were actually printed and you had to use real dice for combat and pen and paper to keep track of your inventory.  There are clearly so many advantages to an electronic version of this form of entertainment, and to date Tin Man Games has one of the best interfaces available.  It doesn’t hurt any that their stories are generally quite interesting as well.  So far The Forest of Doom has been no exception to the rule, though I will say that as a whole this one seems much harder than any of the ones I’ve played in the past.  I guess that means I’ll just have to put more effort into beating it.

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If you’re not familiar with Gamebook Adventures, they are like Choose Your Own Adventure books in that you get to decide every few pages how you want the story to proceed.  However, they incorporate concepts like combat and an inventory to make the “book” more interactive.  Depending on the GA title you might have a varying set of statistics to work with that shape how well your character does at certain things, and in this case you have the three basic stats of skill (how well you fight), stamina (how well you take a beating) and luck.  At the beginning of each read through the gamebook you’ll roll for each of these stats and then add that roll to a predefined base value depending on which difficulty level you select.  You can go Hardcore Hero, which is how the original printed book was intended to be played, Adventurer which gives you better starting stats, and Free Play which basically lets you goof up and continue without any consequences.

Control is simply a matter of tapping the appropriate button to do what you want.  When there are multiple pages in a section you can swipe to switch between them.  If you tap in the center of the screen it will pull up the interface that allows you to do things like view your character sheet and check out a map of the forest (the parts you’ve already explored), as well as set and use bookmarks.  Bookmarks are unlimited, so don’t use them sparingly.  It would be nice if there was a way to clear out some bookmarks, though, as the lack of labeling makes it hard to decide where you want to go back to if you have more than two or three bookmarks saved.  The other thing that would be nice was if there were a quick way to reset the adventure if you so choose.  On the plus side you can change many options on the fly, including the size and style of the font and whether you want to use a “retro” look or not.

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Since this is supposed to simulate the printed gamebooks of old you won’t find a full blown illustration with every page, though the ones you do run across are quite nice.  What you will see, however, are sketches of things like swords and signposts, just enough to give you something to look at.  The interface is quite slick, and the ability to switch between “retro” and “modern” for the look of the pages is a nice touch.  There are also a couple of fonts you can choose if you’d like your print a bit fancier.  What really impresses me about The Forest Of Doom (and in general with most of the gamebooks) is the quality of the music.  They could easily have skimped on that part, but instead they give us a soundtrack that sounds more like it comes from a movie than a gamebook adventure.  In this case there are also some nice ambient noises to give you that “in the forest” feeling.

Not much to say here except that The Forest Of Doom holds up Tin Man Games’ tradition of turning out one high quality gamebook after another.  Aside from a string of bad reads, which I don’t foresee ever happening, I think the only way I’ll get sick of these offerings is if I decide I don’t want to read any more.  Sure there are times when I want to get down and dirty with some guns blazing dual stick action, but there’s no question in my mind that this type of game can be just as engaging and satisfying.

Grab It Rating - 4/5

App Summary
Title: Fighting Fantasy: The Forest of Doom Developer: Tin Man Games
Reviewed Ver: Min OS Req: 5.0
Price: $5.99 App Size:
  • Interesting story with lots of decision points
  • Slick interface
  • Nice illustrations
  • Great music
  • Need a way to tell what each bookmark represents or to delete them

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Vanished: The Island in Review – An Entertaining Cliche http://www.touchmyapps.com/2013/05/04/vanished-the-island-in-review-an-entertaining-cliche/ http://www.touchmyapps.com/2013/05/04/vanished-the-island-in-review-an-entertaining-cliche/#comments Sun, 05 May 2013 02:28:34 +0000 http://www.touchmyapps.com/?p=72541 A good adventure game has a balanced story.  It gives you enough to keep you interested but not so much that you have no reason to continue playing.  The puzzles are fair and at least some of them should be challenging.  There will be both inventory based challenges and riddles that simply challenge the mind.  … Read more]]>

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A good adventure game has a balanced story.  It gives you enough to keep you interested but not so much that you have no reason to continue playing.  The puzzles are fair and at least some of them should be challenging.  There will be both inventory based challenges and riddles that simply challenge the mind.  In a perfect world there would be NPC interaction as well, but sometimes the story might prohibit that.  And even though you might have to do a lot of traipsing back and forth, you won’t mind because you’re too into the game.  Vanished: The Island is a good adventure game.

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The plot, as so many tend to be these days, is a bit cliché.  You get called to an island by a mysterious note from your aunt, only to find her missing and the island basically abandoned.  Through a friendly crow and your own wits you must discover the secrets behind the island and ultimately find your aunt.  As you explore the island you’ll run across books and journals that provide details on certain things, and you’ll also find certain locations that trigger flashbacks or actual visions of events that took place to lead up to the present situation.  They did a decent job of presenting the story and actually making you want to read entries as they are written into your own personal journal.

Navigating around the island requires tapping on a spot to move to that location or using the back button in the upper left corner to return to the last place you were at.  Sometimes it is difficult to tell what is considered background and what leads to a new location, and as a result I had to consult a walkthrough once or twice because I missed something that wasn’t obvious.  Unfortunately, the same can be said for items.  Once you find your inventory, however, it’s usually pretty obvious where you need to use things.  To apply an item you simply drag it from your inventory to the place on the screen where you want to use it.  The only issues I really had with the controls were the couple of mini-games that were included.  2D puzzles in a 3D world didn’t work so well, at least not in this case.  The pieces of the puzzles were hard to move around and I was thankful when they were both complete.

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There were quite a few rooms to navigate through, but the developer was nice enough to provide a “quick jump” feature.  Several main areas were denoted on a map, and you could select them and tap a portal button to go immediately to that location.  I would have liked to been able to tag my own screens to jump to, but this still worked reasonably well.  One interesting thing about the game is that as you transitioned between certain parts of the island there were slight loading times, though you didn’t necessarily have those same loading issues when you moved back to the screen you had just come from.  It’s not significant but it’s still enough to notice in case you’re one of those people that get annoyed with loading screens.

Visually, I was a bit disappointed with Vanished.  The graphics didn’t look bad, but it seemed very low res and somewhat muted color-wise.  I know the Unity engine is capable of some pretty slick stuff even on mobile devices, and the landscape just didn’t impress me for the most part.  Conversely, I did like the hand drawn “cut scenes” that explained certain happenings, and I wish there would have been more of those.  The sound effects were decent enough and the music worked well to keep things from being too quiet.  I definitely wasn’t wowed with the aesthetics in Vanished: The Island.

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iOS is certainly coming into its own as a platform for adventure games, and I grow more excited with each solid release like this one.  It wasn’t perfect, especially with regards to the mini-games and audio / visual department.  When it comes down to it, though, I was as intrigued by the game once I had finished it as I was when I started.  For years many folks have touted that the adventure game genre was dead.  I never really believed that, but I’m beginning to wonder if the authors of such games were just waiting for a new platform to bring their creations to life on.  Whatever the case, they’re back now and getting better with every release.

Grab It Rating - 4/5

App Summary
Title: Vanished: The Island Developer: SkyHorse Interactive
Reviewed Ver: Min OS Req: 4.3
Price: $0.99 App Size:
  • Intriguing, well paced story
  • Fair and sometimes challenging puzzles
  • Quick way to navigate between key locations
  • Sometimes hard to figure out where to go
  • Mini-games difficult to manipulate
  • Audio and visual elements somewhat lackluster

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The Silent Age in Review – No Marty McFly Here! http://www.touchmyapps.com/2013/04/20/the-silent-age-in-review-no-marty-mcfly-here/ http://www.touchmyapps.com/2013/04/20/the-silent-age-in-review-no-marty-mcfly-here/#comments Sun, 21 Apr 2013 04:56:13 +0000 http://www.touchmyapps.com/?p=72378 Now that developers are comfortable with the iOS platform and have realized how well it works for adventure games we’re starting to see a lot more original content come to Apple’s mobile devices.  One of the latest entries in the genre is The Silent Age, and it’s clear the folks behind this game know a … Read more]]>

Now that developers are comfortable with the iOS platform and have realized how well it works for adventure games we’re starting to see a lot more original content come to Apple’s mobile devices.  One of the latest entries in the genre is The Silent Age, and it’s clear the folks behind this game know a thing or two about what made the old Sierra classics great.  If I had to come up with a down side, it’s that the game was over just as it was reaching its peak.  Thankfully the developers are already hard at work on a sequel, though, so even that little inconvenience will be rectified at some point.

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You woke up on this particular morning and went to work just like every other day. Who knew that you’d go from mild mannered janitor to time traveler extraordinaire on a quest to save the world from itself?  The story sucks you in from the very beginning and doesn’t let go until the final cut scene is done.  In fact, I was a bit sad when the game ended, because I really wanted to know why the future became the world it had become.  The one thing that was a bit lacking after the initial few minutes of the game was character interaction, but I suppose that’s what happens when you become a fugitive on top of everything else.

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The game uses pretty standard touch screen adventuring mechanics.  Tap the screen to move, tap on an item to interact with it or tap on an inventory item and then an item on the screen to use the two things together.  I will admit that there were a few occasions where a screen simply turned into a hunt and peck fest, and once in a while it didn’t seem like there was much guidance as to what to do next, but for the most part the game flowed nicely and there was never a time that I was so stuck that I needed a hint.  While it is by no means a new technique, I think the developers did a really good job of utilizing the need to go back and forth between two time periods in order to solve certain puzzles.  If there was one thing I didn’t care for it was the fact that the screens were all linear in the sense that you could only move left and right.  Even the old Sierra games understood that the world was more engaging when you added a sense of depth with the ability to move in and out of the screen.

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Visually The Silent Age is a treat.  It has a look that is both highly detailed and somewhat simplistic at the same time, and it pulls it off quite well.  Given the stylized look they did a good job of making the future seem bleak graphically speaking.  It really has a modern Sierra Online feel to it.  The sound effects are well done, though I do wish the characters had some voice to them.  The music is certainly good when it’s there.  I do hope there’s a more complete soundtrack in the second installment of the game.

The Silent Age is a prime example of how to make a good point and click – or tap – adventure game, regardless of the platform.  The story is interesting, the puzzles flow nicely and don’t get you too frustrated, and the game looks and sounds good.  While I was disappointed when it ended it felt like it was a pretty good length, and it certainly left me wanting a sequel.  There were a few niggling points where I could see some improvement, but overall I was very happy with my time spent in The Silent Age.

Kiss It Rating - 5/5

App Summary
Title: The Silent Age Developer: House on Fire
Reviewed Ver: Min OS Req: 4.0
Price: Free App Size:
  • Captivating story
  • Good puzzle design
  • Stylish visuals
  • Nice audio elements
  • Scene design too linear
  • No voiceovers
  • Needs more music

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Forever Lost: Episode 1 HD in Review – Can You Picture That? http://www.touchmyapps.com/2012/12/13/forever-lost-episode-1-hd-in-review/ http://www.touchmyapps.com/2012/12/13/forever-lost-episode-1-hd-in-review/#comments Thu, 13 Dec 2012 14:43:28 +0000 http://www.touchmyapps.com/?p=71328 I probably shouldn’t admit this, but there’s something about wandering around an asylum that’s always been oddly intriguing to me, which I think is why I tend to gravitate towards such games.  It’s also a well visited subject, as I can recall games back as far as my Radio Shack color computer dealing with the … Read more]]>

I probably shouldn’t admit this, but there’s something about wandering around an asylum that’s always been oddly intriguing to me, which I think is why I tend to gravitate towards such games.  It’s also a well visited subject, as I can recall games back as far as my Radio Shack color computer dealing with the topic (if you don’t know what that is, congrats on being a younger gamer).  Forever Lost: Episode 1 HD is a more recent entry in the list, and it’s actually one of the best ones I’ve played in quite a while.  I do miss the fact that there are no wacky inmates to converse with, but otherwise it has managed to nail the atmosphere pretty well, and has a nice balance of object puzzle solving and mini-games to complete.  Now if I could just find the skip button for the puzzle I’m stuck on…

You don’t know where you are, the game isn’t clear that you know who you are, but you’re definitely not in Kansas any more… or are you?  You’ll have to explore every nook and cranny of the “asylum” that you realize you’re in, gathering objects, solving puzzles and completing the odd mini-game that’s conveniently been placed in the way of your progress.  Thankfully the game leans more towards object based puzzles than mini-games, and for the most part the mini-games are thoughtful but not hair-pulling.  Of course I say that as I am currently stuck on one of the mini-games, and I can’t seem to find the skip button so that I don’t have to beat my head against the wall (or maybe THAT is the puzzle?)  There is a hint system, though I’m a bit disappointed that I actually have to leave the game in order to use it.

The story is told mostly through pages scrawled in journals that you find scattered throughout the asylum, though an occasional flashback helps confuse the issues just a bit.  There wasn’t an abundance of details laid before you, but I presume that’s what the sequel will be for.  Even though you don’t get a novel’s full of journal entries or a fan-film length set of cut sequences, there’s enough to keep you wanting to press forward all the time.

To that end, “pressing forward” primarily constitutes tapping the appropriate item at the right time.  There is a few times where you actually get to drag your finger around to do something, but there are no tricks that require actions like tilting the device or anything.  One neat feature that’s unique to Forever Lost is that you can take a picture of each scene with the camera you get early on.  Beyond that you have the capability to scribble notes on each picture to help you remember important details.  I’m hoping for part 2 they might let you type on the pictures instead, since my “less than slender” fingers mostly produced markings that might make a doctor proud, but did little to help me out.

The atmosphere is extremely well crafted.  Detailed 3D rendered scenes coupled with some ominous background music set a moody tone of hopelessness and a desire to get free of your creepy confinements.  I like the fact that when you get the UV torch you can use it in any room you’re at, even though it’s only needed specifically in one room.  There are also some nifty blurred effects applied when you use a special pair of glasses in rooms where they weren’t intended to be used.  Overall it’s a nice package aesthetically, though the sound effects are actually pretty hum drum (this isn’t one of those games where there are dripping faucets or overhead lights that are shorting out around every turn).

It happens that I did finally complete the puzzle that had me stumped for a while (turns out I was over thinking it).  While I did peek at the hints a couple of times, in the end Forever Lost turned out to be a nicely balanced adventure game that most players should feel satisfied rather than frustrated with.  It’s a great foundation for what I imagine will be a two or three game story arc, and based on this first installment I expect to see some interesting things happening in the future.

Kiss It Rating - 5/5

App Summary
Title: Forever Lost: Episode 1 HD Developer: Glitch Games
Reviewed Ver: Min OS Req: 4.3
Price: $1.99 App Size:
  • Well balanced game play
  • Keeps you wanting more
  • Looks great
  • Hint system on main menu
  • Lacks atmospheric sound effects

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Fighting Fantasy: Blood Of The Zombies in Review – A 30th Anniversary Treat http://www.touchmyapps.com/2012/11/29/fighting-fantasy-blood-of-the-zombies-in-review-a-30th-anniversary-treat/ http://www.touchmyapps.com/2012/11/29/fighting-fantasy-blood-of-the-zombies-in-review-a-30th-anniversary-treat/#comments Thu, 29 Nov 2012 16:02:00 +0000 http://www.touchmyapps.com/?p=71101 One sign that you’re getting older is when things you remember from your childhood start having their 30th anniversaries.  Such is the case for me and the Fighting Fantasy gamebook series.  Granted I was only 10 when the first one debuted, but you get my drift.  In this year that marks the third decade of … Read more]]>

One sign that you’re getting older is when things you remember from your childhood start having their 30th anniversaries.  Such is the case for me and the Fighting Fantasy gamebook series.  Granted I was only 10 when the first one debuted, but you get my drift.  In this year that marks the third decade of the series’ existence the man himself, Ian Livingstone, has penned a new entry called Blood of the Zombies.  Thanks to Tin Man Games we can enjoy this milestone adventure on our iOS devices, and enjoy is being quite conservative.  I’d say this is probably one of the best electronic gamebook adventures yet.

You’re an innocent bystander trapped in a cell in some sort of compound where a mad doctor is turning people into zombies for some nefarious purpose.  You can’t get much more cliché then that, but you also can’t help loving every moment of it.  You’ll constantly have to decide between opening that suspicious door – they don’t really mean “keep out”, do they? – or travelling further down a darkened hallway that could lead to even greater doom.  You’ll collect a variety of items from useful weapons to a tape measure, and even find some money along the way that you can spend.  Not only does this have the most extensive inventory that I’ve seen in such a game, but I believe it’s the first one to have a store of sorts.  Ultimately, of course, you’ll get the chance to kill plenty of zombies, and if you’re lucky maybe even the good doctor himself.

The only stat you have in this game is stamina, which determines how many hits you can take before you die.  Both your starting stamina and the number of bookmarks (save spots) you have available are determined by which difficulty level you choose.  Combat seems to be a simplified affair in this gamebook as well, as so far all adversaries have only required one point of damage to kill and most only do one point of damage in return.  Your die roll determines how many bad guys are killed, and then the remaining villains attack you to inflict damage until either you or they die.

In standard gamebook fashion you’ll get one or more pages of story followed by several choices, some of which may not be available if certain criteria aren’t met or you don’t have a particular object in your possession.  You never access your inventory directly for anything other than med kits, and it appears that the only way to switch weapons is if you run out of ammo with your current one or you find a better one.  Because of the many branching paths you can play the game several times with a different experience each play through, regardless of whether you ultimately win or lose.  There are many achievements to earn as well, and an interesting little read in the extras section on how the Final Fantasy series came to be in the first place.

This is a gamebook adventure, so a bulk of it is text and interface, but what a stylish interface it is.  The default settings are clear enough, but you can adjust the font size and style if you like.  Most sections have a little illustration on the last page, and certain sections are prefaced by a picture just like you’d find in the actual books.  As you stumble across each picture in the game you can then go view it in a gallery along with a black and white version of the illustration.  There is some nice and creepy music that plays in the background, and all actions, including things like “tossing” dice and “turning” pages are accompanied by the appropriate sound effects.

If you call yourself a gamebook adventure fan and you don’t have Blood of the Zombies, I’m hereby revoking your theoretical membership to the fan club.  If you’ve somehow never managed to delve into the Choose Your Own Adventure genre, this might just be the best place to start.  I haven’t gotten to the “good” ending yet, but I’ve certainly enjoyed all the time I’ve spent trying.  I can’t wait to see what both Tin Man Games and Ian Livingstone have in store for us next (there will be a next time, I presume).

Kiss It Rating - 5/5

App Summary
Title: Fighting Fantasy: Blood of the Zombies Developer: Tin Man Games
Reviewed Ver: Min OS Req: 5.0
Price: $5.99 App Size:
  • Excellent writing
  • Abundant inventory
  • Simple but satisfying combat
  • Wonderful interface
  • Lots of zombies
  • Not this time

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Horn – Console Adventure On A Portable Screen http://www.touchmyapps.com/2012/11/15/horn-in-review-console-adventure-on-a-portable-screen/ http://www.touchmyapps.com/2012/11/15/horn-in-review-console-adventure-on-a-portable-screen/#comments Thu, 15 Nov 2012 16:48:54 +0000 http://www.touchmyapps.com/?p=70784 I first tasted of the intrigue that Phosphor Games could produce as I wandered the creepy halls of Dark Meadow.  It had its issues, but overall it was a captivating game with wild creatures and a unique control scheme.  That was, of course, until I played Infinity Blade and realized that I had suffered Déjà … Read more]]>

I first tasted of the intrigue that Phosphor Games could produce as I wandered the creepy halls of Dark Meadow.  It had its issues, but overall it was a captivating game with wild creatures and a unique control scheme.  That was, of course, until I played Infinity Blade and realized that I had suffered Déjà Vu in reverse.  Now Phosphor Games has released Horn, and while the fantasy theme is reminiscent of Infinity Blade, it actually has a lot more to it then either of the aforementioned games in terms of things to do besides combat.  At first I was a bit skeptical about it just because I was afraid it would be a clone of the Chair Entertainment Group’s franchise, but every time I load up Horn I manage to get lost in its mystery and grandeur.

You play a character named Horn, and aside from the fact that you don’t know why you’ve awoken in a strange tower, you discover that you are the only person from your village that has managed to evade a mysterious Pygon curse.  You’ll have to explore a sprawling land with the “help” of the sarcastic head of a Pygon creature in order to discover what the curse is about and how to defeat it.  You’ll face many creatures, solve puzzles to unlock new areas to explore, and gather Pygites and Cores which will allow you to forge and upgrade weapons as well as buy outfits and other miscellaneous items.  Of course you can buy all the outfits as well as additional Pygites and Cores from the App Store if you’re not the grind and earn type.

To move horn and interact with most items you just tap on the screen in the appropriate places.  As simple as this seems, I often find Horn running where I don’t want him to or not manipulating what I’m aiming for.  In combat you’ll swipe to use your currently equipped weapon and tap the left and right dodge buttons to roll in the desired direction.  While the swiping behaves nicely the dodging seems a bit finicky, though that could just be the game trying to catch up with all your swipes.  Additional controls allow you to consume health potions and toss bombs that temporarily stun the enemy.  My favorite thing to use is your Pygon-based wristband, which acts as a projectile weapon, grappling hook and lighter among other things.  It’s sort of like the Swiss army knife of Horn’s world.

If you’re willing to put up with the controls, which really aren’t that awful, there’s a fairly big world to explore.  Each area usually has several interconnected sections to explore, complete with interesting little hovels that take you to bonus areas that couldn’t possibly exist within the physical constraints of the level layouts.  Every once in a while I found myself getting disoriented and going back the way I came instead of pushing forward, usually as a result of doing a lot of dodging during a battle.

People like to throw around the phrase “console quality” when it comes to some of the more ambitious iOS efforts, and while I wonder what the obsession with that is, I would say that games like Horn are starting to breach that barrier.  There are occasions where things can get a bit drab and murky, but overall the visuals are lavish and highly detailed.  The opening video and combat sequences are quite impressive, as is standing and spinning around in an area filled with waterfalls or tall structures.  There are even fine details like sun rings to give natural effects a realistic look.

The sound effects are pretty good, though I do wish there were a bit more ambient noise, as the game often seems too quiet.  I do like the banter between Horn and the Pygon head, as they did a good job of casting the voices.  The music is pretty decent as well, when it plays.  Sadly this mostly seems to be during the initial movie and when you are engaged in combat.  This again adds to the unnecessary silence, which can sometimes be annoying.

If you like games like Dark Meadow and the Infinity Blade series you will feel right at home with Horn.  I was trying to find a total playing time, which I haven’t come across yet, but I’m sure I’ve put a few hours into the game and I’m only 30% through.  There’s a nice balance between exploration and fighting, with a healthy dose of “figure out how to open the doors” thrown in for good measure.  Supposedly the latest update – as of this review being published – addressed some of the control issues I mentioned, but I’m not really seeing it at this point.  Still, the experience far outweighs any minor navigational inconveniences.

Kiss It Rating - 5/5

App Summary
Title: Horn™ Developer: Zynga
Reviewed Ver: Min OS Req: 4.0
Price: $6.99 App Size:
  • Lots to explore
  • Decent, balanced challenge
  • Incredible visuals
  • Good sound and music
  • Controls are a bit flaky
  • Needs more noise

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Edna & Harvey: The Breakout in Review – Crazy About The Looney Bin http://www.touchmyapps.com/2012/08/30/edna-harvey-the-breakout-in-review-crazy-about-the-looney-bin/ http://www.touchmyapps.com/2012/08/30/edna-harvey-the-breakout-in-review-crazy-about-the-looney-bin/#comments Thu, 30 Aug 2012 14:18:31 +0000 http://www.touchmyapps.com/?p=69538 I remember fondly spending a lot of time with adventure games back in the 80s and early 90s when the likes of Sierra Online and LucasArts reigned supreme.  TellTale Games has done a good job of recapturing that magic, as has Bulkypix with their recent release of Yesterday.  Now you can add Daedalic Entertainment to … Read more]]>

I remember fondly spending a lot of time with adventure games back in the 80s and early 90s when the likes of Sierra Online and LucasArts reigned supreme.  TellTale Games has done a good job of recapturing that magic, as has Bulkypix with their recent release of Yesterday.  Now you can add Daedalic Entertainment to that list with Edna & Harvey: The Breakout.  This adventure game about a young lady and her bunny has humor to rival the best Sam & Max installment, artwork that is quite delightful and some great voice acting.  There is plenty of game play as well, which oddly enough might be its biggest detractor – there’s almost too much to do.  Still, this is one nuthouse I don’t mind visiting.

You play Edna, a girl that has been imprisoned in an asylum but you don’t remember why.  Your task is to get out and discover who you are, and you’ll have the help of the other inmates as well as your stuffed rabbit Harvey.  Despite the “bleak” setting of a nuthouse and some potentially deep subject matter the developers manage to make the whole affair rather whimsical.  The crazies are of course crazy, but the workers aren’t a whole lot better.  And then there’s your talking bunny pal who will often offer advice and in some sequences even helps you learn about your past.  You can look at many different objects and interact with all the other inhabitants, so expect a lot of dialog and back story to unfold while you are exploring.

When you tap on an interactive object you’ll be presented with a graphical menu of actions that you can perform on that object.  Using an object is as simple as dragging it onto another object or dragging it into the scene wherever you want to use it.  When you talk to a person (or sometimes an object) you’ll be presented with dialog options that you can select by tapping on them.  So far I haven’t run into any mini-games, and I’m not sure there are any, so the controls are pretty much tap or drag.

Typically I bemoan a game for being too short, but in this instance I think there is almost too much going on.  It seems like there is a lot of exploration and investigation without much problem solving.  I don’t mind all of the chats and background information, but one of the things I really liked about this style of game in the old days was that there was a good balance between wandering and doing, and I’m not sure Edna and Harvey has achieved that balance.  Thankfully the setting and characters are interesting enough that I keep plodding along, though I’m really hoping the balance sways more towards puzzle solving soon.

As I watch the game I feel like I’m looking at a cartoon.  The backgrounds are detailed, and the characters are well designed, though there’s a distinct lack of animation in anything except the characters themselves.  Still, I love the art style and could easily see something in this universe showing up on some station’s Saturday morning lineup.  The sound effects are pretty good too, and the voiceovers are just about perfect for the various characters.  The background music is quite entertaining and changes depending on what part of the asylum you’re in.

Edna & Harvey has a lot going for it.  There’s no question that the production values are high, and I’ve gotten my fair share of chuckles from it already – I’ve possibly even laughed out loud a couple of times.  I just wish there was a little more to do and a little less wandering around.  If you’re a fan of the old school adventure games you’ll definitely feel a sense of nostalgia when playing this game, but don’t dive in unless you’re ready for some hard core dialoging.

Grab It Rating - 4/5

App Summary
Title: Edna & Harvey: The Breakout Developer: Daedalic Entertainment GmbH
Reviewed Ver:  1.1 Min OS Req: 4.0
Price: $5.99 App Size:  1.24 GB
  • Interesting story
  • Colorful characters
  • Excellent voiceovers
  • Catchy music
  • Lots of dialog and little puzzle solving so far

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