GameJolt’s Adventure Jam ended recently and I played several of the lovely little prototypes. I should note that I have never really liked adventure games of the point-and-click variety, and I was surprised to see there were a LOT of them in this jam. I find them kind of tedious and slow-paced and more often than not, frustrating. This is sad, because I loved this type of game as a little N8. Freddi the Fish and Spyfox were so much fun to me, even though I was way too old to be playing them. When I played Grim Fandango, I ran into the same problems, but the game was colorful and clever enough to keep me entranced. Walkthroughs typically annoy me. I want to figure my games out for myself, but with this type of game, I stop caring. It’s a choice between click-spamming all over the place and cheating myself out of figuring out the solution on my own.
The games in this jam did not, unfortunately, alleviate my disdain for point-and-clicks, so please understand that the way in which I ranked the following games is entirely arbitrary and based on nothing more than my personal fancy.
Here are the results of this N8R8S8:
1/8 Turing Adventure – This was one I couldn’t quite figure out. I was supposed to escape this room by talking to something akin to CleverBot. As if talking with chat bots online isn’t fun enough,Turing Adventure incorporates dynamic interaction in a way dialogue-trees can’t touch. That doesn’t mean the dialogue here was really any better than pre-recorded dialogue trees, but at least the game tried something new. As an experiment in human-AI interaction, this jam is great! But the problems of chat-bot stupidity are far from resolved.
2/8 Speak of The Cloud – A beautiful, spirited, glitchy mess. I’d say it’s the jam with the most potential in terms of classical story-telling. I am very interested in where this game will go, assuming it goes. The visuals were great and my biggest regret is not being able to see more. I got stuck and quit – half due to frustration, half due to the fact that I had like 6 more games to try. Nothing really groundbreaking here.
3/8 Foundations – This one got a lot of praise from the folks judging the jams. It is well-polished and played much like a fully-fledged point-and-click. But it was just that to me. There was nothing that shouted ‘unique’ or ‘different’ in any real way, and I just got bored so quickly. The lowish rating has nothing to do with the game’s merits, and everything to do with the fact that I just like weirder and more stimulating stuff than this.
4/8 Being Her Darkest Friend – The title screen is fantastic. The visuals are polished and fit the mood of the game perfectly. Underneath the surface, this is still a pretty generic point-and-click, just with some creepy overtones and an interesting story. The dialogue was underwhelming, though the ending was pretty cool. This falls directly in between ‘totally typical’ and ‘entirely different’ to me.
5/8 Once Upon a Timeline – A point-and-click again, but that is not the main attraction by far! This clever game allows the player to go back and forth about 200 years and discover the changing scenery of a small house. Gathering items from different periods of time was definitely a more entertaining way of using the point-and-click style of exploration than the typical form of slow-paced meandering, but there was very little to do. The mechanics are simple and easily transferable to another game. I’d like to see this more fleshed out.
6/8 Pendek – Another point-and-click. Blocky, faux-pixelated graphics, a cool, unique, engaging narrative, and some not-so-frustrating gameplay made me enjoy this short game a lot more than I expected to. I was invested in the character and his plight. I would have liked to discover more, as it ended a bit abruptly. The game was charmingly mysterious.
7/8 Late Last Night – Yet another point-and-click. But this one is hilarious and actually pretty fun. Each location has a different neat little aesthetic and the characters are funny and whimsical. Reminded me a bit of Jonas Kyratzes’ stuff. Biggest complaint was the fact that the main character’s dialogue and visuals were crumbier than the rest of the games’. And the fact that it’s a point-and-click…
8/8 Bellular Hexatosis – This game was right up my alley. This is a text-adventure where clicking your next line of dialogue pulls you through some amazingly absurd 3D renders. The bizarre landscapes are great, the writing is fantastic and mysterious, reminding me of Ben Marcus, and the interface is unique and smooth. This is the first game I’ve played by Porpentine, but I am looking forward to playing more in the future.
Hope you’re not too disappointed with my results. I plan on doing similar short reviews for GameJolt Jams in the future, so please give me a shout if you’d like me to focus on one particular jam or another. Looking forward to more great free indie games like these in the future. -N8