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Baron_Blubba - 15 April 2021 09:09 PM

I have a feeling you’ve played many more adventure games than I have.

You should see my backlog, even of classics! Grin

What is it about Anna’s Quest that you enjoyed so much?

To me it’s just an outstanding game. I loved the heartfelt story, the characters, the fantastic blend of fairy tale elements into one cohesive and remarkably well-built world (and well-researched because there are a ton of more obscure Brothers Grimm references).
The animation in the game is absolutely flawless - it’s one of the prettiest hand-drawn games I’ve ever played.
Most of the puzzles are pretty standard adventure game fare, but the telekinesis adds a little extra element to make it more interesting.

Not a whole lot of adventure games have both an instantly likeable main character AND a good game villain (that has a tragic backstory of her own). The game’s story went a lot deeper than it seemed at first glance, and contrary to you, I really liked the ending.

This was an instant-classic for me, and it always felt like it could become one while I was still playing it…

     

Last played: Oknytt (CPT) - 2.5/5 | Horizon: Zero Dawn - 4/5 | Marvel’s Spider-Man - 4.5/5 | Freddi Fish 3: The Case of the Stolen Conch Shell - 3/5 | There Is No Game: Wrong Dimension (CPT) - 4/5 | There Is No Game (replay) - 4/5 | Broken Sword: The Shadow of the Templars (replay) - 3/5 | Lighthouse: The Dark Being (CPT) - 2.5/5 | Anna’s Quest (CPT) - 4.5/5 | Simon the Sorcerer II: The Lion, the Wizard and the Wardrobe - 4/5 | Florence - 4/5 | Alice Trapped in Wonderland - 1/5 | The Hunt for the Lost Ship - 1.5/5 | The Talos Principle - 4/5 | Tex Murphy: Martian Memorandum - 3/5 | Danganronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc - 3/5 | Simon the Sorcerer (replay) - 4/5 | Portal 2 - 4/5 | Murder By Numbers - 3.5/5 | Heavy Rain - 3.5/5 | Disco Elysium - 4.5/5

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TimovieMan - 16 April 2021 03:12 AM

Not a whole lot of adventure games have both an instantly likeable main character AND a good game villain (that has a tragic backstory of her own).

Aha! I think I’ve spotted the point that may have caused us to have somewhat divergent experiences.
I did not thing Anna was instantly likable. I thought her innocence and timidity were affectatious. Both characteristics were exaggerated to annoying proportions, and so it turned out that two of the very things which were probably intended to endear me to her ended up having the opposite effect.
As the game went on, she became more of a complete and pragmatic character, and I was able to enjoy the game because of her, to an extent, rather than in spite of her, which is how it was at the beginning.
Perhaps this is because of what I perceived as the shift away from her being a ‘meta’ character, written to be a an accidental and uncommonly moral adventure game protagonist, living in your common adventure game world where immoral actions are necessary to accomplish just about anything.
As soon as that satirical thread was abandoned, I began enjoying the game more.

That said, dropping the thread halfway through did cause the narrative to feel slightly disjointed—like they barked halfway up one tree, turned around, climbed down, then barked up a whole ‘nother one.
Also, I don’t want to discount the potency of the ‘moral character in the necessarily immoral adventure game context’ paradigm. Done well, it could be very interesting! But I imagine it would be *very* difficult to do *very* well.

Anyway, it’s so interesting how we both had such different reactions to the same exact material. That’s art…heck, that’s life…for ya.

     

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Baron_Blubba - 16 April 2021 12:02 PM

Perhaps this is because of what I perceived as the shift away from her being a ‘meta’ character, written to be a an accidental and uncommonly moral adventure game protagonist, living in your common adventure game world where immoral actions are necessary to accomplish just about anything.
As soon as that satirical thread was abandoned, I began enjoying the game more.

I never interpreted it as satirical, and the shift in her personality to me appeared to come naturally because of the events she went through.
To me it was a young, naive and innocent child who lost some of her innocence along the way during this adventure, but never lost her optimism…

Baron_Blubba - 16 April 2021 12:02 PM

Anyway, it’s so interesting how we both had such different reactions to the same exact material. That’s art…heck, that’s life…for ya.

And that’s a good thing. Thumbs Up
It’d be pretty boring if everyone liked the same things.

     

Last played: Oknytt (CPT) - 2.5/5 | Horizon: Zero Dawn - 4/5 | Marvel’s Spider-Man - 4.5/5 | Freddi Fish 3: The Case of the Stolen Conch Shell - 3/5 | There Is No Game: Wrong Dimension (CPT) - 4/5 | There Is No Game (replay) - 4/5 | Broken Sword: The Shadow of the Templars (replay) - 3/5 | Lighthouse: The Dark Being (CPT) - 2.5/5 | Anna’s Quest (CPT) - 4.5/5 | Simon the Sorcerer II: The Lion, the Wizard and the Wardrobe - 4/5 | Florence - 4/5 | Alice Trapped in Wonderland - 1/5 | The Hunt for the Lost Ship - 1.5/5 | The Talos Principle - 4/5 | Tex Murphy: Martian Memorandum - 3/5 | Danganronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc - 3/5 | Simon the Sorcerer (replay) - 4/5 | Portal 2 - 4/5 | Murder By Numbers - 3.5/5 | Heavy Rain - 3.5/5 | Disco Elysium - 4.5/5

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There were moments that rang strongly of satire or parody. My head is like a sieve, so I can’t remember what it was specifically, but I think it was all the guilt she felt over tricking the guards and getting the one guard fired.
I hate it when games make me do mean/bad things to people who don’t deserve it, but in this game, you’re asked to feel bad about doing mean things to

Bit of a stretch.

     

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I just finished Laura Bow and the Dagger of Amon Ra.
Loved it, even though I didn’t do well in the final exam and ended up getting killed in the ending.
The problem is that I played the game at work during lunch, where it’s hard to keep the necessary notes. I can’t wait to play it again in a few weeks, this time playing like a real detective, creating a timetable of the events and a dossier for each character. I’m going to nail this case closed like a great big travel trunk with a tell-tale skeleton inside it!

Great graphics, locations, puzzles. But what makes this game truly great is the characters! and the dialogue!
Okay, a game like this would probably never be made today, as so much of the cast are caricatures of stereo-types, complete with overblown accents, habits, and prejudices. However, if you can turn off your PC-radar for a minute and enjoy this unPC-PC-P&C game with a grain of salt, it’s so funny and so much fun.

Oh! And the other great thing about the game: You can try and brute force the puzzles all you want, or even use a walk through, but none of that is going to help you solve the mystery. To do that, you’ll have to reaaallly pay attention to everything that is happening, from start to finish. In a strong sense, the game is one huge puzzle knot that you unravel through solving smaller puzzles and tracing the threads all over the place. Something that I didn’t do well at…but man, what great replay value!

The only thing I didn’t like about the game was having to open and scroll through the notebook each and every time you want to ask anyone anything. Would have much preferred to have a dialogue window that remained open throughout the conversations.
Also, you can’t save in all the rooms, which leads to some replaying of scenes if you die or feel like you performed sub-optimally in situations.

I’d give this game a solid 8.5/10. It’s everything I enjoyed about The Colonel’s Bequest, with a much more complex cast of characters, with more complicated motives, who (de)compose a more convoluted (in a good way) mystery. The last chapter is thrilling!

     

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Finished 3 wonderful games: one from the past, two from the present as I suddenly realised I hadn’t played any games from 2021. The first was Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney, of course, which I started like a month ago, but didn’t have enough free time to finish until recently, and the game turned much longer than I expected - two last chapters in particular. I very much enjoyed most of them, although the 3rd chapter felt weaker than the rest (not very good story-wise, and it’s practically just walking and talking), while the last chapter felt very different. They created it specially for DS and added some cool features like 3D rotating inventory items, ability to take prints by blowing into DS or search screens for blood stains. It was fun finding “bonus” stains that had no relation to the story Smile The story itself though also felt a bit like a letdown, some characters were just too over the top, even for this game, while the 3rd act was also just talking, talking, talking…

The game is VERY heavy on text and often feels like reading a book. A very well-written book, mind you, especially the 4th chapter which I absolutely loved - Manfred von Karma made a great villain, and the story kept surprising till the end. It is also interesting how all cases involve our protagonist or his friends, and by the end of the 5th chapter the really grow on you. I still wouldn’t dare to call Ace Attorney “an interactive novel” - the game is better designed than many modern games: every screen is full of hotspots and there are enough activities, from questioning characters to some classic puzzles (there is even one jigsaw puzzle! kind of). But my favourite moments were court scenes, of course, this is when things got really exciting. Thanks to the top-notch writing you feel really involved as you try to uncover every detail, to find all inconsistencies in testimonies, to outbest the prosecutor. And it feels really frustrating when someone suddenly ruins your carefully built case. Legendary.

I don’t know if I’ll play other games in the series soon, but maybe I should since only recently I found out that a new Ace Attorney game will be released this summer! In fact it is right there at the top of AG’s Hype-o-Meter Neutral Next to Amanita’s new game. And it just happened so that I also finished a 2021 Polish game made in the best traditions of Amanita - TOHU. In fact it is better than everything Amanita released during the past 3 years. So many ideas were thrown into this game, to better or worse results, that my head starts spinning when I try to recall everything I had to went through - despite the game is pretty short. “Hit the hot spot” gameplay is mixed with inventory, logic and completely illogical puzzles, both inventive and cliched, with levels of different sizes and structure, with exotic planets that look like living sea creatures, with frustrating mini-games that challenge your reflexes thrown in, with characters that could take any shape… Even our protagonist - a little girl - has the ability to change into a robot for some reason to carry heavy objects. The game is a product of wild imagination of very good artists and animators: everything moves, flies, runs and turns around here, and I had to take breaks just to give my eyes some rest. The story is laughable, but this game was made for different reasons, and it truly satisfies the needs of those who miss the golden age of Amanita.

And I already mentioned the 3rd game in the CPT thread - Inspector Waffles. This one was a completely different case: light on puzzles, heavy on story. In fact dialogues made up for like 80% of the gameplay. At one point I decided to replay half of the game (around 4 hours at that time) and clicked through 2 hours of my life in like 10 minutes. But I had no problem with it since I had finished Ace Attorney before and - more importantly - since the writing was so good. The game was certainly inspired by The Darkside Detective (as usual, only after finishing Waffles I found out that the 2nd Darkside game was released just this month), only - to my taste - it is much, much better. I loved the world this French author created, with anthropomorphic cats and dogs playing on both animal and human stereotypes while also growing on you with each chapter. The lead cat-dog duo was excellent, and so was… the other playable duo Smile And the game itself gave me many Lucas Arts vibes - it never tried too hard to be funny or serious, but often succeeded in both. That kind of vibe. Very interesting dialogue mechanics that plays more like a puzzle than a simple “question/answer”. Nice inventory puzzles, again, very traditional Lucas Arts stuff. And, of course, the collectable items you may reveal during the game (why I had to replay it) - they add some extra scenes to the ending as well as extra fun since they are basically additional puzzles that involve thinking and tinkering around. The game was also on the short side and I wouldn’t mind playing another chapter of this length, but as a one-man game it was excellent. I really hope it will get a sequel some day.

     

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Doom:

I am actually playing The Darkside Detective right now. I just finished the first six cases and am about to begin the three bonus cases. It’s enjoyable, really nicely written, but a little too easy.
Interestingly, Inspector Waffles was coming in strong on my radar since seeing some screenshots and the nice rating it got on this website. It looks so charming. But…I’m not really so into dialogue heavy games if they are also very light on challenge and puzzles (all’s well when *everything* is heavy). Would you say that Inspector Waffles is easier/same/more challenging than Darkside? Are the dialogue puzzles solid puzzles, or trial and error, or do they just change the story a bit depending on your choices?

Thanks for your help!

     

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Baron_Blubba - 26 April 2021 04:23 PM

Would you say that Inspector Waffles is easier/same/more challenging than Darkside? Are the dialogue puzzles solid puzzles, or trial and error, or do they just change the story a bit depending on your choices?

I also remember DD being disappointingly easy, so I guess Waffles is more challenging. The world is bigger and more detailed, you carry more items while inventory puzzles are less straightforward and involve thinking outside the box. And dialogues are designed like this: you are shown a notebook (similar to Laura Bow 2) with two separate pages, one - for “questions”, and one - for “clues”. You ask a question, have a small chat and then have to choose a proper clue in order to get something out of the character. Of course, you have to gather those clues first. “Clues” could be anything you reveal during your investigation, from case-related leads, to random info related to your current needs, to inventory items (they are shown below and also work as clues which adds to the challenge). Sure, you can always brute force through dialogues by choosing every clue/item available - I did that several times early into the game, but then realised it was much more satisfying to connect dots in your head. By the end you have a big list of clues and must answer various questions related to the case - again, somewhat similar to Laura Bow 2 (guess the author was inspired by various games). Still not much of a challenge for a seasoned adventurer, but plenty of good moments.

     

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Doom - 26 April 2021 05:55 PM
Baron_Blubba - 26 April 2021 04:23 PM

Would you say that Inspector Waffles is easier/same/more challenging than Darkside? Are the dialogue puzzles solid puzzles, or trial and error, or do they just change the story a bit depending on your choices?

I also remember DD being disappointingly easy, so I guess Waffles is more challenging. The world is bigger and more detailed, you carry more items while inventory puzzles are less straightforward and involve thinking outside the box. And dialogues are designed like this: you are shown a notebook (similar to Laura Bow 2) with two separate pages, one - for “questions”, and one - for “clues”. You ask a question, have a small chat and then have to choose a proper clue in order to get something out of the character. Of course, you have to gather those clues first. “Clues” could be anything you reveal during your investigation, from case-related leads, to random info related to your current needs, to inventory items (they are shown below and also work as clues which adds to the challenge). Sure, you can always brute force through dialogues by choosing every clue/item available - I did that several times early into the game, but then realised it was much more satisfying to connect dots in your head. By the end you have a big list of clues and must answer various questions related to the case - again, somewhat similar to Laura Bow 2 (guess the author was inspired by various games). Still not much of a challenge for a seasoned adventurer, but plenty of good moments.

Oh, that sounds really nice! Thank you, I’m excited about the game again!

     

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Doom - 26 April 2021 04:05 PM

I also finished a 2021 Polish game made in the best traditions of Amanita - TOHU. In fact it is better than everything Amanita released during the past 3 years.

Thanks for recommending TOHU, but I wouldn’t agree that the golden age of Amanita Design is behind us, because Creaks was great. A really good game for fans of 2D side-scrolling puzzle games; it has superb art and finely thought-out puzzles that were a delight to solve. In my opinion, their best game since Machinarium, and the first one in their catalog to rival Machinarium in terms of puzzle substance.

I am excited to play the “Happy Game” soon.

     
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Bon - 27 April 2021 02:14 PM

Thanks for recommending TOHU, but I wouldn’t agree that the golden age of Amanita Design is behind us, because Creaks was great. A really good game for fans of 2D side-scrolling puzzle games; it has superb art and finely thought-out puzzles that were a delight to solve. In my opinion, their best game since Machinarium, and the first one in their catalog to rival Machinarium in terms of puzzle substance.

I am excited to play the “Happy Game” soon.

This is a matter of taste I guess, personally I found the Creaks gameplay too tedious and uninspired, too “artificial” compared to Amanita’s earlier works (basically a puzzle game where every level plays more or less the same). Their first adventures were more like interactive worlds with unique locations and some interesting mechanics thrown in, with Botanicula being my favourite - it was so much fun just clicking everything and watching how all five characters react to the environment, while puzzles also varied a lot. As for Happy Game, I’m still not sure what to make of it - from the trailer it looks like something in the vein of Chuchel (only horror-themed), and I’m not a fan of that game(

     

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I’ve just completed The Darkside Detective, including the ‘unlockable’ bonus cases.

This game is a prime example of how a game can be perfect, but not great. Perfect because it sets out to be a simple, charming, game that tells simple, and charming short stories about two characters who are also charming, with one being slightly more simple than the other…and perhaps all the more charming for being so.

With one exception, The Darkside Detective seems to hit every cue that it aims for, with graceful and understated aplomb. It’s a modern-retro game that holds obvious reverence for everything Lucas Arts did in the 90’s, but doesn’t shove its religion in your face. The characters, in all their guises and recurring roles, likable and memorable, and the same thing could be said about the myriad tropes that the game employs. Almost every joke lands, eliciting a nigh endless stream of solid chuckles if not belly aching guffaws. Don’t click through the text; read it and appreciate it, because the quality of the dialogue is essentially why you are playing this game.
And therein lies the problem: Perhaps The Darkside Detective is a little bit too understated. At times it seems almost afraid to challenge the player. Puzzles that would be significant and satisfying are too often diluted by obvious clues, such as uses of words like ‘later’ and ‘yet’. Sometimes you pick up an object and are told exactly what to do with it. “I bet I can USE THIS OBJECT to DO THIS so I can GIVE IT TO THAT PERSON so that he will GIVE ME THAT OBJECT.” It’s not as bad as in some other modern adventure games, but this tendency to treat the player like an idiot did hamper my enjoyment and hamstring my sense of agency enough times throughout the 13 cases that I am using so many words to complain about it here.
Is this intentional design, wanting to keep the puzzles as understated as the stories, which somehow manage to be oh so dire and yet intensely casual at the same? Seems like it. There’s a commitment to casualness here that just didn’t do it for me.
Now, I enjoyed *almost* every minute of the 4-5 hours it took me to complete the game, but most of that enjoyment came from the stories and the humor. There is just enough game here that I never felt like Darkside Detective was just another walking simulator, just enough challenge that sometimes I did need to think about what I’d seen and read in order to move forward without brute forcing, but still, the challenge is set much too low to be as satisfying as the best adventure games are.
And I mention The Best Adventure Games because DSD could have been one of them. The developers clearly have the right stuff, and I will certainly play the just-released sequel and anything else they release down the line. But I will do so hoping that these games will not only so wonderfully emulate the graphics, style, and humor of their idols, but the gameplay as well.
Last and least, the 13th Chapter seemed significantly weaker than the others. There was some great stuff, but overall the narrative was much looser and the inventory puzzles much more nonsensical than the rest of the game. It’s the only chapter where I frequently found myself doing things because I knew that, having played a grillion other adventure games in my life, doing them would very likely yield results—not because I had any idea what the results would be or why I needed them to be.

Overall, I would rate The Darkside Detective a very solid 6. My expectations going in were too high, but I nevertheless enjoyed almost every moment of my time with it. I am looking forward to playing the sequel.

     

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I finished my second play through of A New Beginning. And yes, it has all the flaws mentioned in another thread,. And yet, despite all of that being completely true, I had fun playing the game. It’s worth buying if, like me you get the game cheap.

Pluses, the static backgrounds were quite pretty, the game does not crash and I didn’t detect any major game ending bugs.

Heart

     

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When one of your pluses is the absence of game breaking bugs, you know you’re onto a winner.

     
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Luhr28 - 29 April 2021 09:48 PM

When one of your pluses is the absence of game breaking bugs, you know you’re onto a winner.

LOL!
Can I use that as a sig?

     

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