H.P. Lovecraft might be famous for his contributions to horror, but that doesn’t necessarily mean he hasn’t written some real stinkers. Reviews for the short story The Terrible Old Man are mixed, but it has to be noted that without some sort of cosmic eldritch horror powering the tale, the only things generating the anxiety and tension in the story are poorly disguised xenophobia and racism.
So, with that less than positive review out of the way, it might come as a surprise that I enjoyed the adventure game adaptation of the same name. Sure, The Terrible Old Man brings nothing particularly new to the story and ends exactly the same way, but as a straight adaptation of a Lovecraft story, it evokes the same bleak and ominous atmosphere through its vaguely expressionist art style while improving on the original. Lovecraft, for all his virtues, had no ear for dialogue, especially the dialogue of the lower classes, but for a game as dialogue-heavy as this one, the flaw has been corrected and feels far more natural. The graphics are minimal but impressive with a surprising range of character portraits to convey emotion.
|Recommended by Melody Lee||Friday, April 10th, 2015||No Comments »|
Confession time: while I’ve been a geek and a nerd and a dork from the day I was born, my tastes have always skewed towards unicorns and dragons and people stabbing each other to death with swords. Star Trek, Star Wars, Battleship Galactica, and all the other sci-fi space-oriented tales have never really made much of an impression on me. So, with that in mind, I apologize a lot if I missed any Star Trek references in Orion Trail.
|Recommended by Melody Lee||Wednesday, February 18th, 2015||No Comments »|
A point-and-click adventure game about an aspiring pirate? Well, fear not, mateys–Nelly Cootalot may be taking her cues from Guybrush Threepwood, but Nelly Cootalot: Spoonbeaks Ahoy! is no knockoff.
What is Nelly Cootalot’s quest? The quest so important and crucial that the ghost of Captain Bloodbeard rises from the grave to ask for her help? Spoonbeaks, the island’s native birds, have gone missing. Nelly, who in addition to being an aspiring pirate is also an animal enthusiast, wastes no time in accepting her mission and sets off to figure out what Baron Widebeard has done to the spoonbeaks, encountering a wide cast of colorful and appropriately pirate-y characters.
Made in 2007 as Alasdair Beckett’s first adventure game effort, Spoonbeaks Ahoy! has aged surprisingly well into 2015–just in time for the sequel, The Fowl Fleet. Beckett has a strong talent for comedic writing. In Nelly Cootalot, his pinpoint comedic timing is paired nicely with a soft, pastel color scheme and scribbly art.
|Recommended by Melody Lee||Wednesday, February 11th, 2015||No Comments »|
If you’re waiting on Night in the Woods (which has an estimated launch date of…2015), check out Lost Constellation. Not really a prequel but more of a supplement, Lost Constellation takes the form of a bedtime story for a kitten that’s told on the longest night of the year.
Lost Constellation is dark and funny, a little creepy, and a little sweet. It only takes a few hours to play through and is either intended to be a gift to a patient audience or a way of whetting their appetite. Either way, the developers don’t skimp on content or meaning. It hums with an Old World regional folklore that lifts it above the ghost story it bills itself as.
In terms of gameplay, Lost Constellation isn’t too challenging, maybe on par with Doublefine’s Broken Age. The more confused you get the more specific the characters’ hints are, so just click around and talk to everyone and you’ll find yourself zipping along through a story of religion and history–the kinds of tales that get passed on from generation to generation.
|Recommended by Melody Lee||Tuesday, January 6th, 2015||No Comments »|