Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Game Review - Tales from the Dragon Mountain: The Strix

Game Review - Tales From The Dragon Mountain: The Strix
Score: +1/-7
Summary: Old school adventure game with the right settings. Otherwise no redeeming features. The sequel, "The Lair", has VASTLY improved graphics and animated cutscenes.
-- Compared with contemporary games, the artwork is primitive 3D. Since there is basically no critical animation involved, they might have been better off going for a superior static 2D artwork like most casual hidden object games. Character artwork is also too simple/featureless to compete in the current market.
--- Bad art and gameplay can be rescued by a fantastic story. However, here the clichéd story is badly executed with (among other things) poor pacing, lack of tension, and anticlimactic events.
- Cringeworthy dialogue. Not sure if this was the result of something lost in translation.
- Glaring errors. Just the one main one involving fish, but it is so obvious that they should have fixed it. In the pictures below, the left screen shows the type of fish moving around in the fountain. The right side shows the fish you catch when you click on one of them (see bottom inventory bar, right side, the fish in the circle). What you get is nothing like what was in the fountain!

+ Probably the only redeeming feature is the ability to set the amount of user-interface hints/feedback you receive. You can nearly absolutely nothing, even, if you use system cursors and do not get contextual cursor changes. This means you can play the game without any real direction -- just as if you were the protagonist thrown into the situation. There is something "realistic" in the resulting difficulty from lack of prompting--Which is a different sort of challenge as you are not so hand-held as with most games into knowing what can be clicked on and what you need to find.
-0 Initially, objects are often found in plausible locations (e.g., a spare gear sitting on a shelf) but as the game progresses, however, objects are found in increasingly implausible locations in an attempt to make the game challenging. This unfortunately detracts from the "realism", but it is not properly counted as a negative point because the genre is full of this sort of nonsense.

Sample Artwork:

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