Trapped Part 2: The Dark
Rodrigo Roesler of Rabbit Tell has released Trapped Part 2: The Dark, the middle installment in a trilogy of puzzle adventure games distinguished by a literary flavor and an unusual perspective. The Dark, like The White Rabbit before it, gives you a third-person isometric view of the story. You move your well-dressed, blank-faced character by clicking on the floor where you want him to stand, or on the object you'd like him to investigate. Helpfully, your pointer will turn red when it rolls over things in the environment you can affect directly.
Use objects you've found by clicking on your "items" tab to bring up your inventory, then on the item you need, and finally on whatever you'd like to use it on. You can't combine items directly, so often you'll need to utilize several objects in turn to solve complex problems. Using the [i] key to raise the inventory menu and [T] to put away items in hand will make your life easier.
I also recommend selecting "zoom" on the "options" tab as soon as humanly possible, in order to save yourself some unhealthy squinting. Those of you who had your eyeglass prescription permanently altered by the last game may now breathe a sigh of relief.
Analysis: This series has a lot more in common with the old Infocom text adventures than it does with modern point-and-click games. Rather than relying on abstract puzzles and thorough visual investigation, the Trapped games plop you in a mundane environment, lavish you with a huge inventory, and then ask you to be extremely clever.
You'll have to become the MacGyver of amnesiac adventure game heroes, usually making the best out of what you have, since few of the items you'll find look like keys that fit specific locks. Of course, everything in The Dark does have a purpose, but sometimes you'll feel like you're just picking up random bric-a-brac and contraptioning your way through the game. It's refreshing.
The downside is that the logic of the game world isn't entirely consistent. Some of the puzzles require knowledge of the real world, while others require a kind of dream logic, and it's difficult to know what type of problem-solving you need to apply when. Sometimes you won't even know what obstacle you're supposed to be tackling. If you enjoy having your brain stretched in surprising directions, you might love it. But it also might prove very frustrating.
Just remember that nearly everything you see or read is an important clue, even if it just looks like a touch of atmosphere.
Of course, text adventures had one giant advantage: the length of time it took to do anything was exactly equal to the time it took to type it. Here, you have to watch your hero amble slowly from place to place, often without knowing if you're making progress. Thankfully, Roesler confines the opening puzzles to a limited area, but by the end of The Dark, you'll once again be wandering around a giant maze of rooms any time you want to try a new tactic. It must be possible to fix this without sacrificing the series' distinctive style.
Cheers to Mariolinamay, Max, Softer, Stephen, Mauvejet, and Kari for suggesting this one. =)