Thursday, May 29, 2008

Those Little Guys Must Really Like Fruit

As usual, apologies are in order. This time, the reason behind said apology is the three week stretch of no posts. Sorry. I can't really say much, other than that I've been busy. It happens.

So anyway, On The Rain-Slick Precipice Of Darkness came out last week. If you aren't familiar with the title, it's a game by the creators of Penny Arcade - one which I've been anticipating for quite some time. For a long time it was assumed that if you weren't a fan of the comic, you weren't going to be a fan of the game. I've now had the chance to play through almost the entire game and, honestly, I'm not so sure that assumption was true.

Granted, if you already like the comic (as I do), you're going to find more to like in the game, but there is a lot here to like for anyone who's a fan of games, period. For the most part, Rain-Slick plays like a mix of classic point-and-click PC adventure games and a console style RPG. Those aren't genres you hear of mingling very often, and it could have turned out to be a disaster, but here the two disparate styles complement each other perfectly.

Actually, the combat reminds me a lot of the whole Super Mario RPG/Mario & Luigi Superstar Saga/Paper Mario combat system, which seems an odd fit in a PC game, at least at first. Once you've got an hour or so of gameplay under your belt, it's second nature. There are a few extra nice touches - for example, your party heals fully after each battle, so you only need to worry about keeping yourself alive when you're actually fighting. Most RPG fans have had the experience of being thrown in to a battle with just a few HP left, and it's not an experience most of them wish to repeat.

The other half of the game, the adventure half, is just as fun as the combat - at least it is to me being a fan of Penny Arcade. Most objects can be clicked on for a brief, and often chuckle-worthy at the very least, description. It's this part of the game that could possibly be off-putting to non-fans of the comic, but the game has got so much else working for it - the already-mentioned gameplay, the music, the general atmosphere - that even if you're already sure you hate the comic it still may be worth checking out the demo.

Speaking of which, the demo is available for all three major computer platforms, yes, including Linux, so it's easy to give it a try. The demo can then, if you wish, be unlocked to the full version by purchasing through the new Greenhouse distribution system.

On The Rain-Slick Precipice Of Darkness definitely gets my recommendation. There's really no qualifying "unless" statement coming - I just recommend the hell out of it.

Thursday, May 01, 2008

Click Carefully

It's been a while since I've encountered a good point and click adventure game, so when I saw on The Tome that pre-orders were being solicited for a Linux version of Jack Keane, I immediately downloaded the Windows version of the demo. I'm definitely placing a preorder for this one.

At this point, I could probably describe the game mechanics, but is it really necessary? An adventure game is an adventure game. Pointing, clicking, weird puzzles, you know the drill. Basically, if you've ever played a Monkey Island game (or any of those other Lucas Arts adventure games) you pretty much know what to expect here.

Jack Keane is definitely a charmer of a game. I can't really describe it beyond that. I'm not sure if it's the environments, the characters, the humor, or if it's all those combined (that's probably the case), but there's just something about the game that makes me smile while I play it.

Of course, this type of game isn't for everyone. The pacing and the style are probably not going to appeal to twitch gamers raised on nothing but shooters. But games like Jack Keane are few and far between nowadays, and it would be great to have this particular example ported to Linux.

They need 200 preorders to make this happen, so if you want the game to come to our favorite system, now is the time to act.