Goin' Downtown

Genre:   Adventure

Developer:   Silver Style

Publisher:    Kalypso Media

Released:  March 2011

PC Requirements:  

  • OS : Windows XP / Vista

  • CPU: Pentium IV 2.0 GHz

  • RAM: 512 MB

  • Video Card: 128 MB

  • HDD: 1.8 GB



by flotsam


Jake McCorly, as a person and a cop, has seen better days. In futuristic New York he gets paid only when he makes an arrest, and Jake has had precious few of those since his wife’s death. But then he meets Rose or, rather, finds her unconscious on the pavement, and things start to take a turn. Not for the best – at least not at first – but it’s a start.

Goin' Downtown comes by way of a Berlin based games developer, and retains the original German language dialogue. English speech bubbles allow us English readers to help unravel what happened to Rose, and while you can turn off the German dialogue, why would you?

There is a fair bit to like in Goin' Downtown. It’s nicely drawn, with a comic book look and feel. It is grittier than many adventure games, and the gadgets of the future are everything you would expect. The voice dialogue is for the most part rather well written. The music score plays its part (even if it is a little fanfare-ish at times). And it has a simple point and click interface that lets you jump right in.

Plus (as Jessy says) you get to ride a very cool motorcycle.

It isn’t terribly difficult, which could be a plus or a minus, but does result in a game that is not terribly long – 8 to 10 hours perhaps for those who aren’t complete novices. This aspect may account for some of the efforts to extend the game through what I thought were rather superficial means. On three or four occasions you have to pick randomly from a number of conversation options in order to work your way successfully through the dialogue tree. A wrong choice terminates the conversation and you have to start it again. There is no penalty involved, but it felt a clumsy way to incorporate some “puzzling” into the game.

In a similar vein, towards the end of the game you enter a simulated world, where you can observe events that have already taken place. A gauge keeps track of how far your actions are affecting this world, and once it reaches empty, you get kicked out of the simulation. Certain events (like hiding in the wrong place) will also get you kicked out. There is no penalty – just log back in and generally pick up where you left off – but it again felt like filler (or extender) as you have to try things to work out what is needed, for which you might get an irritating restart.

I did like that, once or twice, I had to bounce back and forth between the simulated world and the real world, learning something in one place that enabled me to question someone in the other, and then bring back what I had learnt to move forward in the simulation. It enhanced the feeling of the simulation being used to move forward in the mystery, rather than simply being a new game environment.

You can switch between night and day, but I didn’t ever get the sense that I was doing this strategically. Rather, certain events happened at night and others didn’t.  Jake will even tell you at times that he doesn’t want to do that in the daylight, so just switch to night.

Most conundrums are situational, and you collect quite a number of inventory items. These will pop up when you move the mouse to the bottom of the screen, as will your map and also your notebook, which keeps track of your tasks. When using the map, Jake is displayed on his motorcycle in a little 3D representation of the city, and will ride to the desired location. If you get tired of the little journey, double click the location to jump straight there.

As in many games, locations will be limited at first, but more will become available as you progress. None of the locations are more than a couple of screens. So while revisiting places is necessary, it isn’t terribly onerous. There are more than a few other game characters to interact with, and conversations are often the key to finding the right information, so be loquacious. Searching the police files can help too.

You can reveal all the hotspots with a key press, and while some aren’t essential, coupled with the small environments you shouldn’t be stuck anywhere for very long. You can also get various levels of hints from the notebook should you need to. Despite its relative ease, I did resort to the tried and true "try everything here" approach once or twice, and also got a nudge here and there.

The plot lurches about a bit and finishes with a rush (which is always disappointing), and the last five minutes is essentially autopilot save for one of those dialogue tree games.

I did enjoy it. But like its comic book look, Goin' Downtown in the end felt a little flat. I wanted some more depth, and a prolonged and more challenging adventure experience. It is more than an interactive comic, but it also felt like it could have been a lot more.


I played on:

OS: Windows 7

Processor: AMD Phenom 9500 Quad Core CPU 2.2 GHz

Ram: 4.00GB DDR2 400MHz

Gx card: ATI Radeon HD 3850 512Mb

Goin' Downtown is available via download from The Adventure Shop.


GameBoomers Review Guidelines

April 2011

design copyright© 2011 GameBoomers Group

 GB Reviews Index