Loondon


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joyeloondon.pngAll Jonah wants is to be happy. He's courageous, loyal to friends, and kind even to strangers. Unfortunately, Jonah is one of "the malformed", rejected by society because of his hunched back. He lives at a fair with the other outcasts. Then one day the wind blows him a handbill advertising a celebration in glittering Loondon. Could this be the answer to Jonah's dreams? You'll need your point-and-click skills to find out.

Using the mouse, click around to cause Jonah to walk, and on hotspots (highlighted by arrows) or speech bubbles to interact with the scenery or talk with people. Most of the time you're just looking for whatever can be clicked, and that will advance the story, making this more on the "interactive art" side than the "game" side, but there are two minor puzzles.

Analysis: Loondon's strength lies in its beautiful art and evocative soundtrack. The creepy steampunk aesthetic of the game reminds me of works such as the Mysterious Geographic Explorations of Jasper Morello and the books of author China Mié ville. My first thought upon hearing the title "Loondon" was to wonder if was connected to Mié ville's work "Un Lun Dun," and while it isn't, I think fans of one will enjoy the other.

The rhyming couplets of the narration are a bit hackneyed and forced, and in several places could use proofreading, a fault all too common in flash gaming, even story-driven games where typos and missing punctuation jar the reader out of the experience. When the errors are things that even Microsoft Word's spellchecker would catch, the player is left wondering if the developer thought to check them. When contrasted against the intricate detail of the art, the sloppiness in allowing these errors is even more puzzling.

Ultimately though the writing doesn't detract that much, because the emotional core of the story is in the heartstring-tugging visuals of Jonah with his plucky kerchief-on-a-stick versus the cruel silhouettes of the villains of the game. The name and logo of the makers of the game, Flip-n-Tale, suggest that there could be more of these storytelling point-and-clickers. Perhaps if they take the radical step of making the storytelling completely non-verbal, and keep up their high music and visual standards, they could have a classic on the level of Samorost. In the meantime, what's here is worth seeing.

Play Loondon

27 Comments

Leemondo Author Profile Page March 8, 2010 3:32 PM

Yet another pointless click the highlighted area waste of time, nice animation but no game play what so ever. Losing faith in this site now.....

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Sorry you feel that way Leemondo. I'm sure this game will appeal to a great many of our audience.

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So much wasted potential. :-(

Extremely beautiful art; but they really need to find a good writer (I found the forced rhyming almost as annoying as the glaring spelling issues) to produce text that is worthy of the visuals. Or, conversely, they should do without text.

Some actual gameplay would also help. But to me, the main issue really is the language, which completely took me out of the game/story several times.

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Slackermom Author Profile Page March 8, 2010 4:04 PM

I generally like games like this - as the review says, it's more interactive art than game and that's fine. My problem is the abrupt ending that doesn't make a whole lot of sense. Maybe if the game/story was a little bit longer and there was more of a connection to the machine friend. Or more of a reason to sacrifice himself. The artwork is wonderful, just disappointed in the end.

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Sorry. This game was not good at all. The 2-d graphics were very pretty, but it was nothing but clicking the lone brightly lit spot, no hard work or thinking required.
Until...
I get to a place with some gears and no instructions on what I'm supposed to do, except for a guy who says something about bread. Clicking the gears doesn't change anything that I can see, and I'm stuck. I quit there.

ALSO, if I'm not mistaken, did Jonah just call a run-away black slave a "beast"? I think he did.

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hey "me" if you looked closer you would see that the "beast" referred to in the game was not a black man, it was a werewolf.

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If any one is stuck at the gears thing:

You need to click the lever below Jonah to start. Now everytime you click it again, you will see bright green rising above the gears. Just click on the gears to adjust the arrows to where the green lines reach and click the lever again when you're done. Sorry, I'm not very good at explaining.

BTW @"Me": The creature was a werewolf, because if you look closely when it bursts out the first time it's a wolf, but when it comes out of the bushes it's human.

For those of you who have nothing but harsh criticism for the game. I thought it was lovely, despite the bad writing. The art was very nice to look at and the story was a little sad at the end.
It's meant to be interactive art, not an actual puzzle game.
I think the site should continue to feature these type of games from time to time. Since there are people who actually like interactive art TYVM.

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motzomotzomotzo Author Profile Page March 14, 2010 6:33 AM

I think you will find this stays true to the actual nature of orginal fairy tails. and i wonder if it is not borrowed from a real fairy tail with some names changed. the poor writting seems to resemlbe the resutls of poor translation tho this would not make sense seeming it is based on. I would say the writter of this game does not speak enlish as a first langauge and due to this the game does not convery properly. as for the story it is lacking in many areas it seems the game was tasking on the creator and this meant certain elements were cut short. over all this seems to be to some extent a reflection of the story of jesus in its blaitant use of the story elments of self sacrafice for the sake of "sinners" but the story shows much more sinster charecters and intentions and promotes a sense of anger. in this i find the story distastefull but as i mentioned this is reminiscent of the true orignal fairly tails and their dark style.

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motzomotzomotzo Author Profile Page March 14, 2010 6:34 AM

correction:

"this would not make sense seeming it is based on rhym*"

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i did not like the game at all:
1)sad
2)weird
3)cynic
4)satanic
5)dark
6)mean
7)awful
This are all the thing i can say for this game.

P.S. Stung by a bee while playing it hurts...
ALOT!!!!!

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chrystal March 19, 2010 1:51 PM

i actually really liked this game. As said earlier, this is an interactive art & the storytelling is meant to be the focus.

It was really sad at the end. :( but overall, nice & short.

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Sad, dark, cynical - excellent. The poorly-written verse was a bit of a downside to the game, and only a minor one at that. But the artwork, the music, and the storyline was very good indeed.

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I wish there'd been a warning on for the sad ending. Angsty stories aren't aren't good for me.

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According to Newgrounds the developer is from Indonesia, which would explain the bad English. Not a bad effort though from a non-native English speaker.

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Anonymous April 22, 2010 1:30 AM

I don't think it was pointless at all. The artwork was beautiful, the music was haunting, and yes, maybe it was a simple point and click, but I'm a big fan of these dark type games. Not all games are cheerful and filled with butterflies and rainbows. There are different genres of games for a reason. I enjoyed it thoroughly and commend the artists for their vision.

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This was more interactive art than a puzzle game. As for the lack of perfect English, well, let's face it: If you had to do a Chinese game, IN CHINESE, would you do as well, as this fine artist did on Loondon?

I think it was SUPERB! The art was at near-industrial gaming standards, and the storyline was good for the style. And the music was unique, and very catching. That tune will be in my head the rest of the day. Admit it, the music was about as good as you are going to get for a simple midi app.

Bottom line, this was brilliant. I realize that this is not like Myst or Warcraft. But darn it, it was a fantastic effort! My hats off to the artist!

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andr01d Author Profile Page May 27, 2010 11:59 AM

The only thing that could improve Loondon would be puzzles. The music & art are unparalelled. Not much one for 'interactive art' but this game is definitely the exception.

i think another reviewer put it best - Loondon is sad, weird, cynic(al), satanic, dark... i.e. totally awesome!

wish to see more of the the tri-cloptic cthulu-esque critter perched upon the sign in the last scene.

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Morrinn Author Profile Page June 13, 2010 9:50 AM

Even without the limited 'play' portion, and some grammatical errors, it was a very pretty game, and I found myself immersed in the sad narrative.
Very good game.

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Maarten July 6, 2010 5:47 AM

How odd! I really liked the story, then come here to find so many negative comments on the storytelling. How contrary some things can be...

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This 'game' was Interactive Art. If any of you didn't or couldn't get that - too bad for you. your loss. This was beautifully rendered. Yes, the english syntactical and/or grammatical typos and errors should be fixed if there's ever a revision of this...but the SUBSTANCE was poignant and yes, profound and sad.

What's really evil? what's really normal? In the end, what was truly good was willing to face the horror of sacrifice for what was truly evil. A gospel narrative if there ever was one.

nothing 'satanic' about it.

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Hello... im really liking this game, graphics are great! but im kinda stuck. :S
i am where some old guy is asking me to make bread or sth, but i just can't get that done!!! i have tried everything but nothing works :(( moving those arrows from the gears up and down but nothing changes. :( would somebody please help me! i wanna see the end!

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I was surprised to see all the negative criticism. I really like this game. The artwork is totally stunning and I fell in love with the music instantly.
I also noticed some grammatical errors. I don't think the whole experience was ruined by the language or something but maybe this doesn't bother me due to the simple fact that I'm not a native speaker.
In my opinion the use of rhymes is a great way to create this fairytale-like atmosphere.
I also love the ending. It is very sad and nearly brought tears to my eyes. I don't find it illogical.

Jonah sacrifices himself for a man who was the only friendly human being in a city full of shallow people who labelled him as a kind of a monster without even talking to him. I think this shows how one person can help a lonely human by just holding back prejudices. It's no surprise this "machine man" was so important to Jonah.

All in all, I just love this game because of the dark atmosphere, the magnificent artwork, the stunning music and the great story.

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I just love this game! Everything is great about it, the music, the art-work, the rhymes and the story. Yes there is some typing errors, but I barely noticed it. Now I ain't an native speaker my self, but still I understood every single line of the story. I think its incredible how this game can open you'r mind that much. It was an unbelieveble pleasure to play this game, and I just played it 3 times in a row. Thanks so much!!

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Anonymous May 10, 2011 9:15 PM

This is an amazing game. The message of this game reminds me of Poe or the Grimm fairy tales. Something about the darker side of human nature plus the harsh reality that something like this used to happen and in different ways continues is just breath taking.

The art work is defiantly beautiful. I wish there was more, don't let one flaw block your judgement open your minds and see the big picture.

Assuming there was meant to be a great symbolic meaning to this. If not it still keeps me thinking.

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I think this game bugged out on me. I'm in the room with the tall lady and the child, and after the bespectacled man comes in and sees me and runs back out, nothing is clickable except the music on/off button. I right clicked and clicked play to see if I could skip to the next scene, but it didn't really help, it just made things more broken.
I'm not willing to play it again, as nice as the art is, so I guess I'll never see how it ends.

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malone.audrey Author Profile Page October 7, 2012 7:41 PM

Is it possible to help the woman on the 4 scene?

The one struggling with a heavy object, just after you give the man his glasses. I talk to her and she freezes, then if I walk away she goes back to struggling and nothing changes. Can't I help her lift the damn thing?

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malone.audrey Author Profile Page October 7, 2012 7:49 PM

I liked it! Especially the end. What about the entire little game made you believe you were going to get a happy ending? The entire atmosphere was dark from start to finish. Frankly, I like that they delivered what they promised with the tone of this.

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