Developer & Publisher: Epic Llama Games/ESDigital Games
Released: October 12, 2022
Requirements: OS, Windows 7/8/10
Processor: 2.5 GHz (single core) or 2 GHz (dual core)
Memory: 2 GB RAM
Graphics: ATI Raedeon HD 4850, Nvidia GeForce GT 120, Intel HD 3000
or equivalent with at least 512 MB VRAM
DirectX: Version 9.0
Storage: 1 GB available space
Set in the '80s and with self-proclaimed throwbacks and references to
cult classics such as The Goonies and The Lost Boys, this is another 2D
pixel art point and click adventure. While there is a YA vibe that
wasnít really for me but which I eventually settled into, there is
plenty of puzzling adventuring to do, and an abundance of 80s influences
and references to experience.
Decisions though do matter, although I only became aware of how much when I started googling after the event. There are three endings, and different puzzles, depending on how things progress throughout. You probably wonít be aware of those things while you play, unless you have to dip into a walkthrough and wonder why a particular puzzle wonít work. More of that later, but according to the stats at the end, I found 9 of 18 optional puzzles, and there was one I am aware I solved differently to one of the walkthroughs. So there is an inherent degree of replayability which results.
If I do start again it will have to be right from the start, as the game autosaves to a single save point when you exit. I get that if decisions throughout the game matter, starting again enables them all to be in play, but I never like only having a single save. It didnít matter though as I played, and that it saved on exit meant I could stop whenever I wanted which was a plus.
The game plays in the third person and is completely point and click. Hotspots can be revealed by utilising the little space-invader icon top right, and three action icons will pop-up in response to the curser interacting with a hotspot. These will usually be look, talk and touch, and while the icon won't change, what it might do can, sometimes in surprising ways. In that regard, it's always a good idea to check what each icon says it might do at any particular spot.
As it is, exhaust all conversations, and examine items both within the inventory and the game world. Triggers can be tripped and insights gained. Talking to inanimate objects can also result in a giggle or two should you be so inclined.
Right from the get go it is a very open environment. The first time you access the world map, as far as I can recall every location could be visited, and that remained the case as you moved through the game. You might not be able to do everything (or very much) at any one of them until you have achieved something/s, but many could be and needed to be explored and examined fulsomely from the start, and many have multiple locations within them. The main street of town for instance has a number of stores you can enter, and several streets have more than one home or location you need to check out.
Which makes it a fairly big game, and a fairly big challenge in terms of puzzling.
Conundrums are predominantly inventory based, and there are a lot of them. You will find things from all over to be used somewhere else entirely, and I am pretty sure I had things in my inventory I didnít use, no doubt a product of the alternate puzzles. Like all such games, not finding things can be problematic in terms of moving on, and in that regard the space invader icon was my best friend. Given the openness of the world I pretty quickly settled into collecting everything I could find from all the locations and then thinking about how I might use them later. Which didnít always work, but prevented some degree of hair pulling frustration.
I did think that at times it lacked direction, although I always temper that with an acknowledgement that it might have been more about me. There is a lot you can discern about what and how to do it, but there were also times I wondered why I would have done particular things, and I would go as far as saying some of the solves are definitely Ďhard.í
How hard will be a question of degree, but it might be a source of ultimate frustration for some. There is a lot to like here, and a lot of puzzling to do, but be prepared to be stumped.
I certainly resorted to doing everything, and everything else, and some of the sequences are almost designed that way (escaping on the train comes to mind). And of course if you havenít found what you need, let alone worked out how to use it, you will have to backtrack and search some more, although that is definitely more about you.
I certainly did dip into a walkthrough, and as I intimated earlier, the alternative puzzle possibilities complicated that. On one occasion I spent some time wondering why I couldnít engage in a particular interaction, going back and forth and looking for a trigger I hadnít found, before realising that in my version of the game that puzzle was no longer in play. Which is in no way a fault of the game (if I hadnít looked I wouldnít have been distracted) and which I mention in case you play and feel the need to have a peak.
I really enjoyed the look, and while one bit of dialogue was a bit dodgy (however of its time it might be said to be) it wasnít repeated, although a degree of blokey adolescence poked its head up here and there. The soundtrack has been good to excellent, the voice acting more varied but generally on the positive end of the spectrum. The Inventory is a duffel bag bottom left.
I warmed to it more than I had expected, and it gave me about 8 hours of an alien good time.
I played on:
OS: Windows 10, 64 Bit
Processor: Intel i7-9700K 3.7GHz
RAM: Corsair Dominator Platinum RGB DDR4 32GB
Video card: AMD Radeon RX 580 8192MB