Saturday, July 26, 2008

The Visitor

(See the note below about the timing of this post.)

The Visitor is another point-and-click adventure game from Zeebarf, the oddly-named designer behind The Several Journeys of Reemus (review here). Like The Several Journeys of Reemus, it's a pretty standard point-and-click adventure game where you have to solve various puzzles. (Also, like the situation in yesterday's review, it actually came out before Reemus, but I don't think this is terribly important in this case.)

So, The Visitor follows the standard point-and-click adventure formula pretty closely. Unlike Reemus, but like the LucasArts classics I tend to think of as the archetype of the genre, you can't die or do anything that would get you permanently stuck, which is definitely welcome. The game, however, is fantastically gory and not for the squeamish -- you play an alien ... worm-thing, I guess, and as you consume various critters, you become larger and more powerful. The game isn't light on the blood when this consumption happens. Most of the puzzles just require careful thought, but there are a couple which require precision timing as well.

Anyway, most of the things I said about Reemus are pretty much true here. Because each part of the environment is only a single screen, there's simply not that much complexity or depth to the puzzles. Fortunately, I didn't have any problems finding clickable objects, which tend to be the bane of games of this genre. Also like Reemus, there are two different endings, and despite the fact that they're both worth a 15-point badge, one is much easier than the other. However, getting the harder one is kind of annoying, because should you happen to fail, then you will get the easier ending and have to watch the end credits before trying again (the game does considerately include a "replay last scene" button, so points for that, but it's still a few seconds, which gets more annoying each time).

The animation is not bad (more precisely, the drawing is decent, and the animation, while sparse, is serviceable); the first couple of screens are quiet, but then creepy background music is also added. The sound effects are solid; overall, I would say the presentation is solid, if not great.

Overall, this is not a difficult game if you're just trying to finish it, but getting the harder ending is annoying enough that I looked up the key step so I didn't have to keep retrying. While I generally enjoy this genre of game, and this is not a badly executed version of it, I did find the goriness a bit of a turnoff. Still, if you wouldn't mind, you could do a lot worse than this game.

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