Developer & Publisher: Cosmic Void/Dave Seaman
Released: June 9, 2021
Requirements: Operating System, Windows 7, SP1+ or later
Processor: Minimum, 2.0 Ghtz; Recommended, 2.0+ Ghtz
Memory: Minimum, 150 MB RAM; Recommended 150 GB RAM
Graphics: Minimum, 128 MB VRAM; Recommended 128+ MB VRAM
DirectX: Version 11
Storage: 100 MB available space
Cosmic Void / Dave Seaman
This is another one of those lo-fi pixel art games that prove that you donít need hi-res graphics with bells and whistles to create a few hours of enjoyable, thoughtful adventure-gaming.
A family camping holiday beside a wilderness lake takes a left turn as your wife and two children go missing. The only place anywhere nearby is a large Victorian mansion, so off you go. A bevy of characters, secrets and mystery await.
The game plays in the first person, and is classic point and click. The keyboard is used to open the inventory, otherwise its entirely mouse driven.
Each screen is static, and you donít move around within it. Explore it with your mouse, looking at and perhaps taking the things that activate your cursor. Much of what you do find will be for show, providing detail for the story and the mansion. When you are done, choose one of the possible directions available from the arrows which sit bottom right in each screen. Perhaps you can go in any direction, perhaps in just one. Each Ďstepí will take you through the mansion and the surrounding environment, and your exploration will continue.
You will meet and speak with a range of characters, and they will not always be where you last met them. Indeed, several conundrums involve doing enough to make them go elsewhere, perhaps so you can search their room or gain access to another area. As you learn things from one, it is, as always, useful to go back and see whether it has opened a new conversation topic with one of the other characters. And always exhaust all available topics.
There is no spoken word, save for the introduction and the conclusion, so all your conversations will be read. Click your desired topic and off you go.
Many of the conundrums involve finding and then using the correct item. Finding and using things can be separated in both time and location, and there were a few where I couldnít collect an item until I had a reason to do so.
It isnít a large game world, but you will go back and forth, and new areas will open up as you progress. Various sound effects and a musical score accompany your efforts. Nothing grand, but perfectly adequate.
There are some out and out puzzles, and one in the middle is particularly good. Pay attention to what you are told, and you shouldnít struggle too much. It isnít a difficult game, but I did need help with the puzzle referred to. The solution made me appreciate it even more.
Inventory items are used by clicking on them, then clicking again to try and use them in the game world. You donít combine items in the inventory, but there are times you will need to have two particular items to be able to access an area. Having them will be enough; the game will take care of their Ďcombiningí.
I mentioned it was lo-fi and the best way to appreciate the graphic style is to look at the images above. Nothing about it detracted from the experience; indeed, I thought it contributed to the overall feel of the events.
There are some decisions you make during the game with respect to certain items which donít seem to impact the outcome, and probably donít need to happen at all. The decisions you make (eg - and simplistically - donít tell anyone, tell the police, tell someone else) result in a post game summary of what happened as a result. They donít impact the end, but provide perhaps another reason to search carefully.
The makers say that the game contains horror themes, pixelated violence, and other mature themes such as poisoning and imagery of the dead. I can see why they would say that, but its low key and I donít think its portrayal will concern most players.
You save whenever it suits you and you donít die. The conclusion comes in a little bit of a rush, but in no way detracted from what had come before. Which was, as I said, a thoughtful, enjoyable bit of puzzling and adventuring.
I had a 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