The Journey Down



Genre:   Adventure

Developer & Publisher:    SkyGoblin

Released:  May 2012

PC Requirements:  

  • OS : Windows XP SP 2+, Windows Vista, Windows 7 (32 or 64-bit)

  • CPU: 1.8 GHz CPU or equivalent

  • RAM: 1 Gb

  • Video Card: GeForce 7800 or equivalent

  • HDD: 700 Mb

  • DirectX: 9.0c

Walkthrough   Additional screenshots





by flotsam


Animated, jaunty, and with a laid-back Jamaican flavour, this first chapter is an appetising entrée to the Underland main event. And that’s without mentioning Grim Fandango.

When Becky had a first look at this game a while back here is what she said:

“Like Grim Fandango, The Journey Down portrays stylized characters in surreal surroundings with a folk art flair. In The Journey Down, the characters' faces resemble African tribal masks, so facial features are stiff, exaggerated and (in some cases) downright weird. The environments are hand-drawn with blocks of colour, eerily lit and decorated with angular, ethnic forms. Jazzy music adds to the offbeat, yet danger-tinged atmosphere.

A further similarity is the strength of the protagonist/hero. Grim Fandango's Manny Calavera could rise above the worst circumstances, while Journey Down's Bwana has a talent for being in denial about the worst circumstances”.

I couldn’t have said it better, so I didn’t. She also nailed it with Bwana:

“Bwana is laid-back, loves shooting the breeze with strangers, and harbors a fascination with breaking the rules. These traits, combined with whimsical humour and an over-the-top Jamaican accent, make him ridiculously endearing”.

Kito his brother is almost as good. Lina is less so, but only by comparison, and she takes a backseat for most of the game until ending up in the front seat with her hands around Bwana’s throat. Chapter One ends shortly after.

Before it does, you will have spent four or five hours scrambling about Kingsport Bay as Bwana, finding the parts needed to repair the charter plane and getting to know the brothers. You will also learn about the strange and taboo Underland, the Armando Power Co., an illegal book and the thugs that want it. 

You will also do that varied array of fetch and carry and utilise stuff that you generally do in these inventory quest games. There are a few straight puzzles as well.

You won’t have to run though. Try as I might, I couldn’t get Bwana to run or “jump” to the screen exits. I found myself double-clicking out of habit, but he refused to bend to my will.

As always, tasks are never straightforward (you wouldn’t expect to just be able to go to the spare part shop would you?), and solutions require some imaginative application of the items you collect. It isn’t a hard game, which is in keeping with its relaxed vibe, but I was stymied once or twice. The chervil proved especially troublesome; perhaps I missed a clue but why it would be where it was, I have no idea.

The game looks great, a blend of 2D panels with 3D elements and models, and the cutscenes, though few, are particularly good. The colour palette has an ochre tinge about it, creating a dusty languid mood. Check out the "behind the scenes" that is unlocked when you finish to see a little bit of how it was all put together.

It's played in the third person and the interface is one-click simplicity, with hotspots producing either a comment or an action. Click the inventory items in the pop-up ribbon at the bottom of the screen for further information about them, or drag them onto a hotspot or each other in order to use them. It gets no more complicated than that.

A similar pop-up ribbon at the top of the screen gives access to the menu. You can save whenever you like, but the game also appears to autosave as you play, and choosing “continue” in the menu just picks up where you left off. The game stopped responding twice and had to be restarted, and on the first occasion I was expecting to have to replay from my last save. However “continue” took me exactly to where I was prior to the crash.

The Journey Down is a polished indie debut, reminiscent of a lot of the better point and click games from the past. Perhaps a little too easy and therefore a little too short, it nonetheless sets up the chapters to come with a panache and an élan that will certainly bring me back.


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

The Journey Down: Chapter One is available via download from The Adventure Shop and Gamers Gate.


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June 2012

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