Posts tagged ‘Point & Click’

City of Secrets (HD for iPad)

City of Secrets (and HD) is an iPhone and iPad classical point and click adventure game presented with beautiful hand drawn art, layered 2D backgrounds and a 3D character cast, fully spoken throughout.

City of Secrets HD

The main characters you control are Rex (a little dog) and Mr Moles. Originally cartoon characters in Polish media, they have been in existence for nearly 100 years, so there’s a big back-story there for those keen enough to research it!

Various other games with the characters have been launhed on various platforms, selling over a million copies in Eastern Europe, but this is their first appearance on the iOS platform!

It’s a charming game, with a personality all of it’s own. The balance between intricacy of puzzles and accessibility is pitched about right, with the puzzles giving up a good challenge, but never getting too frustrating.

There are several methods to point players in the right direction such as a notebook containing a list of completed and ‘to-do’ tasks – and a hint system giving a written clue for the next most important task if you really get stuck!

City of Secrets HDFor more seasoned players there are numerous more subtle clues in the voice-overs and art itself, but it’s easy to miss the relevance of the spoken clues the first time around, and there’s no way to go back and read any spoken dialogue, so you will have to have your best detective head on and pay attention to really grasp it all! A notepad would be handy because it’s pretty obvious when a clue is told, but hard to remember it when it comes to the realisation of how to use it!

Most puzzles involve searching for items, sometimes combining them in the inventory, exploring the scenes and talking to the inhabitants, then using the right items to progress the plot.

The animated story is split into 5 chapters, and follows the adventures of Mr Moles, trying to save Poco Pane (the moles underground world) from being taken over by the sneaky rats!
City of Secrets HDChapters are introduced by a narrator, commenting on the action and giving context to the next scene. In some chapters control is passed to Rex the dog which gives a nice change of pace and feeds off the relationship between the main characters. In ways, it reminded me a lot of Wallace & Gromit or Sam & Max in the way the characters work together in the story, and has a lot of the quirky charm of those games, although the puzzles are more object and action led rather than talking to the right people with the correct responses so City of Secrets still has it’s own feel, with the much better option of smooth and attractive backdrops rather than slightly under-resolution 3D!

The game is crafted to work very well with touch controls, although there is usually only one context for each interaction which simplifies it, rather than in Lucasarts games where you can choose between actions for an object.

The whole game is very atmospheric and highly polished, with the artwork pulling it all together.

City of Secrets HDI understand there are going to be other episodes of the series, but there is an entire cohesive story arc contained within City of Secrets.

The stability of the game is also to be commended – never even thought about crashing. It’s also got a rock-solid load/save system, as well as automatic quick saves each time something significant happens so you won’t ever lose any progress.

I love adventure games on iPad – in my opinion they are the perfect genre for the device… It’s such a chilled way of playing that it feels like an interactive book with a life of its own! You can just pick it up and carry on with your story at your pace, in a very tactile way.

You can see the full details on their website:
Or download the official Press Release here: Aidem Press Release – City Of Secrets

The Death of “Point & Click” Adventures

My fondest ever memory of gaming… Monkey Island 2: LeChuck’s Revenge by Lucasarts (released 1991). The atmosphere, art style and story was (still is) incredible. I loved the 2D hand drawn art in those earlier games. They had so much more character than anything 3D shaders can throw at us.

All Lucasarts titles were top notch quality in every way, but at the age of 16 playing in my darkened bedroom, MI2 had me totally captivated!

What has happened to my beloved Point & Click games??!!

The most recent games are of course all geared up for joypad control systems. Fine… but where have the ideas gone?

The writing of any Lucasarts game was so sophisticated, subtle and most importantly just plain funny!!

The most recent Monkey Island 5 (Tales of Monkey Island) is now developed by Telltale Games as an episodic release in 5 parts, but with a cohesive storyline betwen all episodes. I have not played all the way through yet… somehow it just doesn’t feel quite right although it is of a very good standard – better than their previous games of this ilk, Sam & Max and Wallace & Gromit. It’s on my “to play” list so will report back with a mini review when I’m done.

Other more recent P’n’C games I have tried are:-

  • Ceville (a bit slow and trying too hard to be whacky)
  • A Vampyre Story (quite good story with some good puzzles and stylish 3D graphics)
  • Sam & Max season 1 (episodic approach makes the puzzles a bit too self-confined and sequential)
  • Wallace & Gromit season  1 (good fun if you like W&G – very kid friendly!)

But they really can’t compare with the Lucasarts Classics such as:-

  • All the Monkey Island games (a class of their own… well 1, 2 and 3 stand out as the best, 4 was a bit off but that was semi-3D where you moved the character with the cursor keys, so not a real point and click any more)
  • Day of the Tentacle (sublime story, amazing puzzles, original game mechanics, beautiful pace, great characters and voice acting)
  • Sam & Max Hit the Road (funny story and lines, great locations)
  • Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis (very clever mechanical puzzles, long story)
  • Grim Fandango (stunning visual art style, brilliant script, imaginative story)
  • Beneath a Steel Sky
  • Full Throttle

…I will post more detailed reviews of these at some point!

So going back to my first question… What HAS happened to Point & Click games?!

Has the audience changed THAT much? Are the development costs too high now? Have the writers all gone on holiday?

What are your thoughts?

And… what was your favourite of the pointy clicky games?