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Ratings by diego

A.B.C. Murders, The


Stars - 30

Rating by diego posted on Apr 8, 2016 | edit | delete

Journeyman Project 2: Buried in Time, The


Stars - 50

Rating by diego posted on Mar 29, 2016 | edit | delete

Gabriel Knight: The Beast Within


Stars - 50

Rating by diego posted on Jan 21, 2016 | edit | delete

Broken Sword 5: The Serpent's Curse


Stars - 35

Rating by diego posted on Apr 25, 2014 | edit | delete

Broken Sword: The Sleeping Dragon


Stars - 40

Rating by diego posted on Mar 7, 2014 | edit | delete


"Pushing" its way to a more than decent game


Can’t shake the feeling that BS3 is King’s Quest 8 to a lesser extent - it’s not a “fan favorite”, it’s got action crates elements, and it switched to 3D.

However, BS3 is quite a treat. Stick long enough with it, and you’ll be rewarded once again with a globe-trotting adventure, carefully written story and the usual George/Nico cooperation with a clever touches of humor. The game starts in the vein of a quality thriller films, and it doesn’t stop from there - ending with a controversial and a spectacular climax.

It’s not without its problems. For example, the interface needs some time to get the hang on, and even when you master it, you’ll still make occasional “unwanted” actions. Likewise, the story is quite complex and cleverly done, but by the end it feels as some of the aspects are kept “secret”, like the whole deal with the Voynich manuscript.

On the other hand, the dialogs are (minus couple of instances) neat and usually do not drag too much. As for the puzzles, the 3D gameworld and “unique” interface will get you stuck more than one time, where you’ll wonder not only “what to do”, but also “where to go” - some locations are huge, like the castle, or a deviously-confusing theatre underground.

And beside some boring sneaking, or a little too-comical side-characters (I knew Lobineau is a “jerk”, but they made him a real jerk in this one) and undeveloped bits (for example, the 3D had a potential for quite more of a Paris streets roaming), BS3 should stand as a prime example of “how not to spoil the classic by switching to 3D”


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Time Played: 10-20 hours

Broken Sword II: The Smoking Mirror


Stars - 40

Rating by diego posted on Dec 10, 2013 | edit | delete

Secret Files: Sam Peters


Stars - 30

Rating by diego posted on Nov 8, 2013 | edit | delete


Not bad, looking at it as an exception and not the rule


I’ve skipped SF3 but gave this one a shot - those who played Secret Files, Nibiru, Art of Murder/Chronicles of Mystery… can have a pretty nice idea of what to expect, though it’s shorter and at the most times, easier than any of those.

I couldn’t shake the feeling that Sam Peters might be a good representative of those games we “feared” might come out of casual invasion as a “cross-product” - it’s too short, but more than it, the way it presents a back story (apart from total of 30 seconds of FULL video animation) is in a classic casual game style, with a static screen and text.

The main heroine didn’t smell with originality even with the name of “Sam Peters”, but she really makes even Nicole Bonet from Art of Murder a most lively hero - it’s not the voice, or script, which is a problem, but rather lack of any kind of character development.


However, the game does conceal some strong sides - locales are pleasing to eyes and music sounds like something from an adventure movie. Also, it’s quite a playable game, and perfect for a good, sunny day to forget all of your worries, and being able to finish it one sitting, because the game DOES hold the attention. There’re no long or boring dialogs - if we need to go to Africa, the game will present you with a basic info, along with a Indiana Jones-map style animation, and here we are in front of the jungle. In all of the game’s simplicity, however, there’re some clever Sam’s comments. The game’s interface is rather convenient, apart from occasional bugs with Sam’s running, pathfinding and object inspection. Also, don’t forget to scroll inventory objects with your mouse wheel, because most of the time you’ll be carrying 20-30 objects and “manual” scrolling can be quite tiresome.

As for the puzzles, they’re sort of a mixed bag - the first time I had to do a jigsaw, I had fun, but authors repeated it for 3-4 times, like assembling letters, maps, machines… Still, there’re some very nice inventory puzzles and also, those examples that require you to pay attention to the surroundings. However, the last logic puzzle in the game with cave symbols seemed to have much bigger potential, but it’s just like the casual lovers within the development team beat those who prefer Myst.

The story itself is intriguing, and provides enough interest with some sci-fi thrown in, but even then there’s no a hint of “intensity”.

All those negative things might be partially forgotten with the fact that the game is some sort of spin-off, and as long as this style doesn’t become the standard for Animation Arts. In that regard, and even though it seemed there’s a bigger potential here (for some puzzle variety and/or longer story) I can still recommend it.


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Time Played: 1-2 hours
Difficulty: Very Easy

Dark Eye: Chains of Satinav, The


Stars - 40

Rating by diego posted on May 17, 2013 | edit | delete


Excels later on


I never thought I’d say this but the weakest part of this game is on the technical side - “casual” animation just doesn’t bode well with the glory-esque backgrounds and epic setting. The other drawback is the often limited movement - even though linearity isn’t the bad thing per se in an adventure, much of the time you feel like moving through a “tunnel” - do this and then proceed to the next set of couple of screens. There’re exceptions to this, particularly at the beginning in town, and in, what I’ve found to be one of the strongest adventure chapter in recent years - the Fairy world - it’s brilliantly designed, accompanied by imaginative puzzles.

The finale could have used more challenge, as they decided to put the hardest puzzle right before it - which is a brilliant logic puzzle (there could have been more of these) with a well-thought red herrings.

I’ve found voices to be pretty good - Geron does sound like a complete idiot with a missed voice dynamic on couple of occasions, but overall - Geron’s and other voices are done with great care. Music needs no praise, as it would be welcomed in any fantasy movie blockbuster.

All in all, the game lacks a bit here and there and it’s hard to call it an instant classic, and is probably slightly weaker than The Whispered World, but it has SOUL! Can’t wait to see Geron again in action and what they’ll make of Memoria.


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Time Played: 5-10 hours
Difficulty: Easy

What Makes You Tick?


Stars - 45

Rating by diego posted on May 7, 2013 | edit | delete


Great "prologue" to the second part


It might be short but oozes with a unique and melancholic atmosphere, and it’ll be obvious right from the start when the hero walks in, accompanied by a moody narrative. Puzzles are above average for a Flash-written game, and even though there’re no voices, the music mixing guitar and piano sounds makes up for it. Even though it ends with a little bit of a cliffhanger, you don’t get much better than this from a free game.


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Time Played: 1-2 hours

Curse of Monkey Island, The


Stars - 50

Rating by diego posted on Mar 11, 2013 | edit | delete

Dracula: Resurrection


Stars - 40

Rating by diego posted on Feb 6, 2013 | edit | delete


A little bit short, a little bit easy, and an unmatched spookiness


It’s far from a perfect game - could have been longer with a more challenging puzzles, but the way they’ve portrayed Transylvania’s spooky countryside and characters with every little facial muscle animated is nothing short of greatness. Locations do seem a little bit desolated, and there’s really not that many supporting characters (even Dracula himself is spared, probably for the second part), but the atmosphere is exactly what you would expect from a Dracula game - it might not be the scariest game around, and it might not be a horror game at all - but once you find yourself in the middle of a forest in the dead of night - you’ll realize what I’m talking about.

Another glaring feature are cutscenes and the overall graphic design, with a “comic art” and almost poetic beauty to it.


Read the review »

Time Played: 5-10 hours
Difficulty: Easy

Secret Files: Tunguska


Stars - 35

Rating by diego posted on Jan 29, 2013 | edit | delete

NIBIRU: Age of Secrets


Stars - 30

Rating by diego posted on Jan 29, 2013 | edit | delete

Permanent Daylight


Stars - 40

Rating by diego posted on Jan 24, 2013 | edit | delete

Apprentice


Stars - 40

Rating by diego posted on Jan 24, 2013 | edit | delete

Cirque De Zale


Stars - 45

Rating by diego posted on Jan 24, 2013 | edit | delete

Sherlock Holmes: Nemesis


Stars - 40

Rating by diego posted on Jan 22, 2013 | edit | delete

Sherlock Holmes: The Awakened


Stars - 40

Rating by diego posted on Nov 24, 2012 | edit | delete

Toonstruck


Stars - 50

Rating by diego posted on Oct 22, 2012 | edit | delete

Vampyre Story, A


Stars - 40

Rating by diego posted on Oct 14, 2012 | edit | delete


Mona/Froderick beat the flaws


Even though I was kinda disappointed with the fact that there’s not much of a gameplay after the city section (and I’ve already been through the cemetery scene in the demo), I wouldn’t say it spoiled much of the overall experience.

IMO the best thing about the game, even though it’s a bit on the short side, is that it maintains the same level of quality from the beginning to end, with a two distinctly different parts. One being inside the castle, which is less “open”, but still nicely designed and oozing with Gothic/romantic atmosphere, and the second one in the city with some calm outdoor scenes, where you have more freedom and which is reminiscent of Monkey Island series and such.

And there’s no question the highlight of the game is the duo of protagonists - Mona/Froderick, and I think that’s exactly the reason why the game succeeds in keeping with the nice pace throughout - I agree the writing doesn’t hit the jackpot each time, but the constant banter/remarks is exactly what’s keeping you on the edge of your seat. Even when it’s not funny, it’s still in keeping with the spirit of the game, relaxed… with some interesting pop-references, and makes you focused on the gameworld. That’s why the fact that even though A Vampyre Story might not be as “funny” as some other comedy titles, it doesn’t hurt the game at all - because it has style, which is evident from the first screen, and which is maintained over the entire course of the game.

Froderick is IMO one of the best sidekicks I’ve seen - it’s interesting that in the last 5 years we’ve got two very strong contenders in that department with Froderick and Spot from The Whispered World, and they’re totally different - Spot is sweet and doesn’t talk, while Froderick is the direct opposite - he’s chatty, sleazy, perverted , but in a likeable sort of way. The genre has a long history of strong sidekicks, and I think AVS really places itself high in continuing with that tradition, and that’s also one of the reason why this franchise shouldn’t be left unfinished. Not to mention that the actor who did Froderick could have easily got the role in any Pixar/Disney film,  resembling Woody Allen, or a typical New Yorker, and reminiscent of some other sidekicks, like Arhtur from Journeyman Project, Dalboz from The Grand Inquisitor and Flux from Toonstruck, even though he still posses a style of its own.
I guess, the best thing about it, even though he might be considered the “wisecracking” sidekick, I couldn’t imagine exploring every new scene, every new object, or a character, without Froderick having to say something about it, no matter if that would make me laugh out loud, or not. That’s quite similar to my experience with narrator in Al Emmo, for example, with designers really nailing the reach interaction with the gameworld.

Mona is not without her merits either - and I wasn’t bothered by the high-pitched voice at all. Also, I suspect there was a women (Bill’s wife?) heavily involved in bringing the character to life, because one can sense feminine sensibility


The story and puzzles are sort of a mixed bag, but still on the “good” side. I’ve found the story actually to be better conveyed in the first part, because the second part is one big “trial” for “ingredients” and stretches a bit. That’s not to say the story is bad, or that it completely loses the pace, but it hangs a bit, and then suddenly rushes to the cliffhanger. As for puzzles, they’re pretty solid throughout, and gradually increase in difficulty in the second part (like getting the cloth). The “fly” option is also cleverly used. I needed hint on several occasions in the second part, but realized that not a single puzzle is unfair once I learned the solution.


Final verdict: 4/5

I agree the game falls somewhere in the 3.5-4 stars range, with the well-known ending “problem”, or rather - lack of some more gameplay in the finale, along with the fact that there could be perhaps some more puzzle variety and more side characters, but I’d still give it a straight 4, especially because of a distinct atmosphere and interaction not seen that often.


Read the review »

Time Played: 10-20 hours
Difficulty: Easy

Full Throttle


Stars - 45

Rating by diego posted on Oct 13, 2012 | edit | delete

To the Moon


Stars - 40

Rating by diego posted on Oct 12, 2012 | edit | delete

Ace Ventura


Stars - 35

Rating by diego posted on Oct 12, 2012 | edit | delete

Whispered World, The


Stars - 45

Rating by diego posted on Oct 12, 2012 | edit | delete

New Beginning, A


Stars - 35

Rating by diego posted on Oct 12, 2012 | edit | delete

Black Mirror, The


Stars - 40

Rating by diego posted on Oct 11, 2012 | edit | delete


Atmospheric game which overcomes its many little annoyances


There’re several things I especially liked about the game - the “medieval”, or gothic atmosphere in modern age, and all the little things about the history you’re revealing gradually. Then, the castle itself and its secrets which are quite reminiscent of the mystery in “Phantasmagoria”. Interestingly, opposite to many critics I’ve found voice overs enjoyable overall, and I definitely think Samuel’s voice is one of the best voices I’ve heard in an adventure. You could argue many things, but not the fact that the actor did the job with full commitment to it.

As for puzzles, they’re sort of a mixed bag - some, like riddles on altars, couple of mini-games and the usual inventory fare are very well done, but there’re also bunch of mundane tasks and fetch quests. Couple of them really test the common sense logic, and are obvious only after you’re done with them (boots anyone?). Another drawback is the general “slowness” typical for Future Games, but fortunately you can double click on exits or skip line of a dialog.


But it’s definitely a very good game, one of those where you can name many slight annoyances, but can’t deny its atmosphere. But my biggest gripe is that after the beginning and first part which pulls you in quickly, it somehow loses the pace in the second part. The mystery is still there, but with too many backtracking, and side-characters are not fully developed (actually, I’ve learned more about William or Gordon ancestors than any of the locals). As for the twist and ending - I’m not the biggest fan, but it didn’t really spoil the entire game for me, as well. Also, I think there’re many ways to interpret things and killings.


Read the review »

Time Played: Over 20 hours
Difficulty: Just Right
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