Underneath my yellow skin

Tag Archives: point-and-click

Point-and-click hit-and-miss

what a nice night for murder.
Thimbleweed Park is lovely, I’ll give it that.

I like mystery novels. A lot. I read them, and I write them, and my god, I want to find a good mystery game. I have tried. My god. I have tried so hard. I’ve played the Poirot games. I’ve played many of the Sherlock Holmes games. I’ve played the Blackwell series. Any time a good point-and-click comes out, I eventually try it out, hoping against hope that this will be the one. I had really high hopes for Murdered: Soul Suspect, and I played it well past the point where I actually gave a damn about it. It had such a good idea. You’re a cop who used to be with a gang but cleaned yourself up well. Your wife is murdered (I think? I don’t remember. She’s definitely dead), and you become more of a loose cannon after her demise. That leads you to chasing after a killer without backup. The killer kills you (not a spoiler, really, as it happens in the first ten minutes or so), and for the rest of the game, you are a ghost trying to figure out what happened to you. In the meantime, you help other ghosts free themselves from this realm by figuring out how they were killed. I mean. This is right up my alley. Murder! Mayhem! Detecting! Paranormal activity! Helping other beings with their lives! It has ‘me’ written all over it. It should have hit me in all my sweet spots…er….but it didn’t. I can’t tell you why, either, not exactly.

I really enjoyed Kathy Rain, a badass chick who has to explore her past, and this is set in the…I want to say eighties. I put up with the usual point-and-click bullshit (esoteric logic that only makes sense to the developers) and relied on the walkthrough for the puzzles. I put up with backtracking for hours through four or five different rooms so I could pick up one thing from the one room, trek to the fifth room to use the thing, then bring the thing from the fifth room to the second room to do the thing that I knew I was going to have to do when I passed through it, but I couldn’t do at the time because I didn’t have the thing from the fifth room–that I couldn’t pick up when I first saw it. I put up with all that because I loved Kathy Rain–the character, I mean.

So, I liked the game despite the shortcomings of the format. It was the writing that drew me in, and I cared about what happened to Kathy. I wanted to know why her father disappeared when she was a kid and why her mom went crazy (I think. It’s been some time since I played it). So, it was to my dismay when in the third act–

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Point-and-click away from the genre

a ghost is taunting me.
KayKay is not impressed with my throwing skills.

I started Unavowed with cautious optimism because it had gotten rave reviews. It’s made by Wadjet Eye Games, and they are much revered in the world of point-and-clicks. As I mentioned before, however, I loathed their Blackwell series, which everyone else (who likes the genre) adored. I tried two of those, finishing one, and I hated every second. It’s a shame, too, because they should be right up my alley. Psychics and paranormal activity, people going crazy, all of it gold. Yet, the bullshit of the genre really stood out early on, and I could never get over.

To recap, the bullshit includes having to go to a ‘room’, doing one thing, going to a room three rooms away to do another thing, then pick up an esoteric thing and bring it back to the first room to do something else. In the beginning of Unavowed, they avoided this trope, and I was pleased. All the puzzles were logical, and, yes, you might have to traverse the same terrain several times, but it didn’t feel forced. The first two chapters were solid, and I was hopeful that it would continue to be a good game.

I liked the story, even if it was a bit contrived. My character, mulan rogue (I always name my characters that when I can), is an actor (could have chosen cop or bartender as my ‘class’), and the game starts with a demon being cast out from inside me. Then, we go back in time and find out how I happened to be inhabited by a demon, and the rest of the game is finding out what the demon was doing while in my body and for what purpose. It’s interesting to run into people who knew me from my demon-infested time and to see how they react to me in the present. I chose to be a woman, too, and I wonder what would have been different if I chose man or demon. I’m especially intrigued about demon, but I have a hunch it’ll just say something like, “That’s not your real self. Try to remember!” and make me pick man or woman.

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