Thoughts on: The Silent Age, Mr. Pumpkin Adventure and Four Last Things

[Russian version] 

The art of point and click adventuring can be tackled in many different ways. Some focus on story, some on puzzles, some on comedy, some just try to create an unexpectedly deep adventuring via a simple mouse-based controls interface. The Silent Age, Mr. Pumpkin Adventure and Four Last Things, however, are of the simple sort. The story, the puzzles and the comedy.

review, обзор, The Silent Age, Mr. Pumpkin Adventure, Four Last Things

The Silent Age is a story-driven time travel thriller point and click adventure with pretty simple puzzle and level design. It usually involves just few screens per chapter, with no way to backtrack to earlier chapters, and mostly logical and tightly paced constantly moving forward story. It’s not a particularly good story and, especially, in the end the writing feels quite a bit off, but it tells a curious tale of time travel dangers and the attempts to prevent something that has happened.

While not great by any means, in fact the game is rather average, it’s still surprisingly well made and the already mentioned tight pacing remains strong until the very end, where the game out of nowhere decides to introduce really tedious walking sections with nothing happening, supposedly to set up some mood, but it doesn’t really work. I would’ve really recommend getting the game, but if you somehow got it in a bundle or something of sorts, it’s going it give you a couple of interesting, if disposable, hours of entertainment.

review, обзор, The Silent Age, Mr. Pumpkin Adventure, Four Last Things

Mr. Pumpkin Adventure is a very math and programming heavy bizarre Chinese-made point and click adventure with way too many references to everything the creators clearly loved. On one hand, it has a really great strange style, that can remind you a bit of Machinarium, but is, at the same time, distinctly Chinese. It looks and sounds interestingly and it’s weird surreal story with little comic book cutscenes between chapters are extremely charming. But then, there are puzzles. Which start as something interesting and fun, but later devolves really heavily into advanced math knowledge, references to movies and things that you might not know and will have to search and committing other «game design sins» of puzzle making.

Which, in the end, really killed the game for me. I went about halfway without even considering to use a walkthrough, but using internet for help, because getting a set number out of a formula of 4 other set numbers is not a task I can solve on my own. But then had to almost exclusively play with the walkthrough in the later parts of the game, apart from some more obvious and not too obscure puzzles. It’s charming, it’s bizarre, it has all the potential to be amazing, but unless you are into the same things the creator of this game was, I don’t think you’ll enjoy this journey.

review, обзор, The Silent Age, Mr. Pumpkin Adventure, Four Last Things

Four Last Things is an amazing, but very short, point and click adventure game, built almost exclusively out of the renaissance art pieces. It’s reminiscent of Terry Gilliam’s art-based animations in Monty Python productions, but at the same time feels completely unique in it’s approach. It is also a very silly, but engrossing little tale of a person who wanted to confess his sins, but couldn’t due to the church bureaucracy. So now he has to do all 7 again to get a chance to confess them.

And it’s a truly great game, which reminded me a lot of the great Monty Python & the Quest for the Holy Grail from 7th Level, a usually forgotten silly little point and click adventure game based on the movie. Except, if that old game was often (intentionally) frustrating and annoying with its mini-games and puzzles, Four Last Things plays like a straight and really well made point and click adventure from start to finish. There’s only one puzzle that is a bit obscure and one intractable object that is a bit less obvious, than it could be. Especially if you’re playing on a bigger than 1080p monitor, since the game doesn’t work that nicely on them, sadly, due to the engine choice. But damn, this game is very much worth the time and I cannot recommend it enough.