Friday, January 09, 2009


After playing and enjoying Warbears Adventures (review here), I figured I might as well try the original, since, after all, there was a badge attached. While Warbears is, at its heart, also a point-and-click adventure, it's actually a much different game from Warbears Adventures -- it's much more involved, complicated, and difficult.

The first thing that you notice about Warbears that sets it apart from a typical point-and-click adventure is that you have a four-man team (although only three are present at the beginning), and some of the puzzles require your team members to work together, as each has his own specialty. (This ability does seem somewhat underused, though; most of the time the team members are still working independently.) The game is also harsher than Warbears Adventures, or indeed most other typical point-and-click adventures on Kongregate; it is quite possible to die, and if you should die, you have to restart from the beginning, which is kind of annoying. (Fortunately, there seem to be fewer opportunities to perish in the later stages of the game, which definitely lessens the annoyance.)

The puzzles are quite tricky -- it'll take a lot of careful thought (and probably a few deaths) before you finally make your way through the puzzle. That said, it is quite solvable, though I did experience a few frustrating moments where I seemed to be out of possible actions and had to poke around for a bit before stumbling upon the correct solution. The interface is also a little awkward -- after clicking on a Warbear to select him, you move him by clicking arrows below him, which can get rather annoying when you're trying to move long distances. There are also a few times where dexterity is required, which is nice, but the interface for fighting is really awkward and confusing -- it could really use some documentation or explanation. Fortunately, it's not too difficult to win the fights just by fumbling around. The game also gives you point bonuses for accomplishing certain deeds, and also occasionally assigns penalties if it takes you several tries to accomplish a task you should have accomplished on your first try, so even if you beat the game, you can try replaying it to get a higher score.

The graphics are high quality -- the game does a good job of fitting a lot of action onto a single screen without it feeling crowded or cluttered, which is no mean feat, although like Warbears Adventures, the text is awfully small and hard to read. The writing is also pretty good, and does a good job of interspersing humorous moments into the game. There's no background music through most of the game, although there is some intro and ending music. The sound effects are also definitely better than your typical Flash game; there's a lot of distinct effects which are appropriate to the action. There is, however, no save feature, so you'll have to play the game in one sitting (or, alternatively, until you die, and then you can take a break).

Overall, Warbears is a very well-crafted puzzle, and quite a challenge to beat; if it weren't for having to restart upon death (instead of, say, just being able to undo) or other bad things happening, I would definitely give this game a 5/5. Unfortunately, it's just a little too frustrating to have to repeat the game when you screw up. Still, it's a good designed game which was quite the pleasure to finish.

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