15 Days

Genre:   Adventure

Developer:  House of Tales

Publisher:    Lace Mamba Global

Released:  June 2010

PC Requirements:   Windows XP/Vista, Pentium 4 CPU, 512 MB RAM, 3.8 GB available hard disk space , DirectX 9,0c 

Additional Screenshots



by Rushes


From the futuristic mayhem of The Moment of Silence to the grimy psycho-disturbance of Overclocked, here we are now with 15 Days, the new adventure from developers House of Tales.

In 15 Days we meet Cathryn, Bernard and Mike, earnest political activists and art thieves who donate their sale proceeds for the benefit of charitable housing development schemes in Africa. Their new client, the mysterious Mr Odila, has a succession of highly paid missions for them, but can he be trusted? The trio’s destinations must include the London Modern Gallery, the Musée de Paris, and the island of Surinawa currently under oppressive rule.

Simultaneously, we become involved with Jack Stern of Washington’s International Police, who is investigating the death of the London Foreign Secretary. Somehow the death is linked with Cathryn and her friends. Stern attempts to discover the connection and catch up with the group, but this proves to be far trickier than anticipated.

An Innocuous Invitation

15 Days is a third person point and click adventure. There are four characters for the player to control at different stages of the game. For the majority of the time we play Cathryn, a strong-willed young woman with apparent nerves of steel. Nothing seems to faze her. Cathryn, Bernard and Mike live together in a shabby, barely converted London warehouse. They each have their separate rooms, although evidently must sleep on the floor as there are no beds. These political activists are a stoic lot.

The plot of 15 Days is its magnetic strongpoint, with its yarns of meticulously planned art theft and dastardly corruption. We sit in on the meetings, take part in the preliminary dummy runs, and are in the thick of the action when Cathryn says Go! The game’s linearity ensures that the player always knows where to go and what to do. (Perhaps that will be the letdown of 15 Days for some.) It leads you by the nose to locations, guides you wherever it can, and switches quick-as-you-like to a cut scene just when things get sticky and the player might have to, well, you know, think what to do next. Easy peasy lemon squeezy, as I used to say when I was eight years old. I like a dose of easy peasy now and then, it makes my brain feel clever. 15 Days may not satisfy those in search of a cerebral workout, but it will make everyone else grin like a silly thing.

Anyway -- now that I’ve finally stopped grinning like a silly thing -- a map button looms at the bottom left of the screen: a useful feature with jump spots to various locations. Move your cursor slightly to the right of this button to reveal the inventory, and above it to show the save, load and main menu icons.  Pressing the Esc key will also take you back to the main menu. The space bar reveals all available hotspots and exit areas. Double clicking will make your character run. Dialogues and cut scenes may be skipped by pressing the Esc button. Subtitles are available, and greatly needed due to the regrettably low quality of the audio. There are unlimited save slots.

The game’s locations are bright and detailed, although eerily quiet. The London Eye attraction stands deserted, a single lonely fish ‘n’ chip van nearby, a tied clutch of desultory balloons waving in the breeze beside it. I rather liked that the music was used sparingly and appropriately to the scene, and that much of the gameplay was with ambient sound only.

Further Investigations

Puzzles are a mix of inventory, in-game web browsing, and the more intricate and challenging “getting the gadget to work”. For certain puzzles, a ticking clock will appear at the top right of the screen. This is not a timer, but a bypass feature which allows the player to skip the puzzle after the time has elapsed.

There are no timed puzzles or sliders. There is one maze.

“Who let you two clowns in here?”

The audio quality of the dialogue in 15 Days is simply atrocious. Any location with music or overlap of environmental sound drowns it out entirely, and we are forced to rely upon subtitles. If 15 Days had not offered the relieving bliss of subtitles then I would have been scuppered, cranky and quite capable of a rollicking major art theft myself.

“Everything soldered together myself.  Blindfolded.”

I experienced two crashes to desktop, and one particularly malevolent humdinger which caused my computer to reboot itself.  The game otherwise ran smoothly.

Audio monstrosities and the occasional whoops-to-desktop aside, I very much enjoyed all that 15 Days had to offer, and would recommend it to any gamer looking for an engrossing story and a plain and simple good time.

Grade:  B+

I played on:

Windows XP Media Center Edition SP3

Intel[R] CPU T2050 @ 1.60GHz

2.00 GB of RAM

NVIDIA GeForce 7500 LE, 512MB

15 Days is available via download at The Adventure Shop. The game will also be releasing on disk in the UK within the next few weeks.

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June, 2010

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