Published Apr 28, 2011Though point-and-click adventure gaming has been enjoying a mini-revival, thanks to iPads and iPhones, the old-school PC version has always retained a following in Europe, led by the likes of Spanish studio Pendulo and their million-selling Runaway franchise.
Their latest game is a typically tongue-in-cheek mystery set in an alternate history Hollywood where movie monsters are played by actual monsters. Think of it kind of like Joss Whedon's Angel, but in a retro-futuristic '50s that's also populated by aliens, mutants and robots. Oh, and instead of vampire detectives, we get hard-drinking sports reporter Dan Murray and his gossip-digging colleague Liz Allaire as our screwball stars, and folks like Dr. Fly and the Poet of Pain as our friends and foils.
As with any point-and-click game, the generally static nature is made up for by the story. We begin at the horror movie awards, a genre that has given monsters a place in society and eased prejudices against them. But the popularity of scary films is waning, and even the monster-owned MKO Pictures is moving onto kid flicks, rom-coms and musicals. With Hollywood in upheaval and a monster rebellion imminent, we're off on a bizarre little adventure (the most bizarre of which occurs inside Liz's head).
Though the dialogue is perhaps a bit smoother in its native Spanish, the high-def, hand-drawn art style is gorgeous in any language. Based on the beautifully stylized backgrounds and cut-scenes, I'd love to see a full-length animated film set in this fully realized world.
That said, the genre's inherent game design will simply be too slow for a large segment of the gamer population and, admittedly, some of the puzzles are overly obtuse. It's not for everyone, and isn't actually the next big thing. But it is a big reminder of how effective point-and-click gaming can be at telling an interactive tale. (Pendulo Studios/Focus Home Interactive)