Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Enoworld review

Some games dazzle you with graphics or sound. Others have great writing, interesting story or a likeable character. Yet others feature challenging, but not frustrating puzzles. Enoworld isn’t among any of those, and yet it has a certain charm that makes it very entertaining.

Despite the fact that you play a knight who revels in his depression, the name of the game is not misspelled; it’s not an Emo world. Alien robots landed on your planet, wiped out all the other knights, and the scientists have tasked you, as their last hope, to stop the invasion. Your character expects the task to be very tedious and depressing, and jumps at the opportunity to feel down a little longer. Throughout the game, he’ll travel across multiple towns and landscapes, collecting items that would help him to defeat the robots and their mothership.

The game is so incredibly linear that I described nearly the entire story in the previous paragraph. The quests and an occasional puzzle are just as simple. They range from basic Fedex quests through collecting a few items to finding a few more items, partially hidden on the screen. In fact, finding the relatively small hotspots for crossing to the next screen was more difficult than the vast majority of quests in this game. You’ll never have more than the necessary number of items, and you’ll never face a lack of information for what to do next. The author even disabled any progress until you solve what you need at a certain location. And to add insult to injury, in some cases you’ll find the key item for a location conveniently located directly on the screen, ready for taking. Your character likes insults and injuries, though.

While the adventuring aspect of the game may be less than stellar, the rest of the writing is superb. The author managed to create an environment that is eclectic, yet fully integrated. The gaming world consists of locations that differ greatly, not only in appearance, but also in people, their way of life, and their attitudes towards the main character. There’s the depressed town, angry city, happy village and many others. Each place requires a slightly different approach to problem solving. More appealingly, each location features non-player characters with very distinct personalities and tons of amusing conversation. The author added an extra touch by adjusting the facial expressions of each person based on their place of origin.

Other than the distinct facial expressions and varied character of locations, the game offers additional production value in a unique drawing style and a little background sound. The graphic style reminded me a little of that in Tim Burton’s Corpse Bride, with greatly accentuated heights of characters and buildings. Unfortunately, the overall impression of the world is very flat, and the additional natural backgrounds (largely distant hills) in semi-3D make the rest look even flatter. The background sounds are very appropriate in their minimalism, but I was a little surprised by the disproportionately large sound file.

Still, I must admit I’ve had a lot of fun with the game. The gaming world and its inhabitants were so diverse and charming and the dialogs so entertaining that I was happy to overlook everything else and dive into the wonderful world of Eno.


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