E.P.I.C. Wishmaster Adventures
A problem with The Sea Will Claim Everything was it was slow to get moving and even slower to progress. That’s a problem fellow point-and-click E.P.I.C. Wishmaster Adventures definitely does not suffer from. Within three minutes, the main character Susan’s background will have been learned, two puzzles solved, and our heroine will have been abducted and escaped from two alien abductors. This is not a game that hangs around.
The story is fast-paced with the action moving quickly to new locations: a mechanical flying island, a forsaken prison planet, pirate pub, and the ominous “Eye of Horror”. Along the way, a variety of pirates and rogues are met, some friendly, some less so. The quick pace seems even faster with how quickly these characters are introduced, play their part, and then go their own way.
It fits with how self-contained each level or chapter is. While the plot does fit together, each chapter could stand alone as its own little short story. As for the plot as a whole, it’s fairly straightforward. Susan starts off living with her uncle; her only tie to her father is a blue crystal pendant given to her by a crashed intergalactic owlman moments before he dies. (It was a very informative opening screen.)
Turns out space pirate warlord Baalor is after this pendant. It is he who sends two pirates to abduct Susan the start. There is more to the story than that. To avoid any spoilers, here’s the title screen.
While the puzzles follow fairly normal logic – it is highly unlikely any computers will be going out windows in frustration – there is a hint system to help speed things along. How fast this system recharges depends on whether a casual or expert difficulty is selected. However once the player solves the puzzles that first time, that is the solution found. Replay is going to be driven by a desire to those multiple endings, not exploring alternative solutions. Whether that is a positive or negative will depend on the player’s preference.
There is a subset of puzzles which will not suffer from this one solution scenario, those of the I Spy “find things” variety. Whether or not this style of puzzle is your cup of tea, few can disagree that there puzzles are actually fitted in to the overall point-and-click gaming style very well. For example, at one point you need to find X numbers of scrap metal. Why? Because you’re going to use that scrap metal to make some tokens for another puzzle.
That particular level is where the player is introduced to Wishmaster’s 3D animation. Up until this point, the story has been told through “moving” static images. Kudos have to be given for the art work. Point-and-click adventures are an outlet which seems to be overlooked by artists, but when a player spends hours staring at only a small number of scenes and limited movement, attention to detail is greatly appreciated.
On the 2D-side, Wishmaster Adventures is well above average. On the 3D-side… well, at least you’ll get a laugh out of the first time you see Susan’s too fast walk and its accompanying sound effects. While the contrast between beautiful image and oddly texture character models becomes less jarring with time, it never fails to stick out.
Don’t let that last point put you off. Wishmaster Adventures is worth a look for its energetic B-movie plot alone. The puzzles won’t drive you mad, but solving them will be a little pick me up. Sometimes that’s all you’re looking for on a Sunday afternoon.