The Journey Down – Chapter 1: Over the Edge Review

Under the moniker of Skygoblin, Theodor Waern, with music provided by Simon D’souza, has written, painted and animated a standout freeware indie adventure that is perhaps most easily described as an amalgamation of three LucasArts classics from the past: Monkey Island, Full Throttle and Grim Fandango. Even if the game does recall the meta-level humour and carnivalesque of the first, the animations and the magnificent meld of 2D/3D of the second, and the stylish ambiance and setting of the third, all in all, Waern’s series – The Journey Down – is no simple exercise in nostalgia.

At this juncture, I would love to point you all to our interview with the game’s designer, Theodor Waern, published in conjunction with this review. In the interview, we discuss the game’s unique look and feel, Waern’s inspiration for the game and find out more about the game’s history and development.

The first chapter, “Over the Edge,” finally released after being four years in the making, tells the story of Bwana and Kito, brothers abandoned by their adoptive father captain Kaonandodo, whose abrupt disappearance left the brothers struggling to make a living. Apart for some slight “financial instability,” the duo has been running Kaonandodo’s Gas and Charter ever since, that is, until the Armando Power Company throws a proverbial wrench in their gears.


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MAGS April: Part II

This is part II of our coverage of the April MAGS competition hosted at the Adventure Game Studio forums. Voting continues until the 17th of May, so you still have some time to check out the entries. The previous part of the article discussed the first four entries to the competition (AGS Footballer Tech Demo, Alphabeta, Dead Hand and Dead Pixels), and the third portion, on Hard Space, Snakes of Avalon and Space Pool Alpha, will be released shortly afterwards, so stay tuned! Today’s part, then, is dedicated to just one game:

Eternally Us

One bad hand and it’s all over. -Fiona

Broken rules aside 1), context is everything with Ben “Ben304” Chandler and Steven “Calin Leafshade” Poulton’s entry to the compo, Eternally Us. Context-free, the game is, like Steve Ince (So Blonde) calls it, a “beautiful” 2) adventure. For a MAGS entry, then, the game is not only breathtakingly complete but also a fulfilling gaming experience.

The game is also yet another extension to Chandler’s formidable repertoire – a constant stream of short, self-contained adventures – that broadly discusses the same primary motifs, vehicles and themes, in many ways tying his output down into a more coherent whole. Conversely, Poulton is best-known for his well-esteemed (though also controversial) The McCarthy Chronicles.


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The Whispered World Demo Impressions

Note: This is Day 4 of “The Whispered World Week” at The Slowdown.

It has been a while, has it not?

Not only is this game a long six years in the coming, but we have also not been treated to a high-resolution, 100% hand-drawn point and click adventure game in aeons, as even The Biller’s painterly A Vampyre Story and Pendulo Studios’ latest stylised offerings have resorted to 3-D in justified attempts at providing relief to the heavily budgetary nature of animation. And who could, in their right mind, blame them for doing so?

But still – one hundred percent. In light of the above games, that striking statistic alone makes Marco Hüllen’s The Whispered World stand out from the pack – and boy, does it ever: There is a breathtaking array of various character animations – actions, emotions, expressions and movements – that quite possibly has not been seen before, at the very least not since the heyday of the genre in the latter part of the 1990’s.

Perhaps the closest touchpoint in terms of the game’s graphical look and feel, then, is not to be found in the gaming medium at all, but among lead artist Hüllen’s primary influences: Japanese anime and classic children’s animations, like Spirited Away and The Last Unicorn (a cut-scene example on the left)?

As things stand, every forthcoming review of the game will surely be gushing all over the graphics in the manner above. Therefore, we should probably move away from discussing the Captain Obvious -grade graphical prowess of the game and instead touch upon other aspects of the demo, the aspects that may potentially set the game apart from its counterparts.


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Rocketbirds: Revolution! Review

A finalist in three categories (Seumas McNally Grand Prize, Excellence in Visual Art and Excellence in Audio, with the amount of nominations shared only with Closure and Trauma) in this year’s IGF competition, Ratloop Asia’s Rocketbirds: Revolution! is looking to be the early bird that catches the worm this year.

At the end of its animated intro, “OBEY” reads imprinted in upper-case on the sides of two massive missiles standing upright, shining and erect, at once establishing a poignant scene of the promulgation of violence and power.


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Spelunky: Snakes, I Hate Snakes!

Spelunky is a roguelike, but not like any roguelike I’ve ever played before. Rather than being a top-down dungeon crawl viewed from overhead, the game is a side-scrolling platformer. Not content with the characteristic ASCII symbol set that comprises most roguelikes’ graphics, it features fully detailed pixel art tiles and sprites.


As the title suggests, you play as a whip-cracking cave explorer, sporting a fedora and leather jacket to complete the image. You have at your disposal some bombs and ropes as well as additional tools found along the way to help you navigate the levels, overcome enemies, and find treasures. Inhabiting the dark caverns are various dangerous creepy-crawlies like snakes and spiders, and friendly NPCs like shopkeepers and damsels in distress.

Spelunky Spelunky Spelunky


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