What Makes You Tick:
A Stitch in Time (demo)


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Mikemike-astitchintime-screen1.jpgWhat Makes You Tick: A Stitch in Time is the upcoming sequel to What Makes You Tick, a free downloadable adventure game from a few years ago that you really should play. Right now, if you can. Go ahead, we aren't going anywhere.

Pretty great, huh? Cool story, awesome artwork, classy semi-Victorian (or hemi-Edwardian) style. Sort of makes you agog in anticipation for a sequel, right? Don't worry, developers Matthias Kempke and Greg MacWilliam are on it. You can read their helpful FAQ if you want to know more about the sequel, but until it is released, Messrs. Kempke and MacWilliam have put out a demo, available both for download and for your browser, playable right now.

A Stitch in Time is not a traditional sequel, for it doesn't exactly pick up where the original left off. Instead, it starts a new story with a new protagonist that overlaps with the continuation of the previous story. You play Nigel Trelawney, just arrived at the town of Ravenhallow to settle his late, estranged father's estate. You quickly discover that this is no simple matter, as Ravenhallow has been overtaken by a sort of parochial Fascisti that, among other injustices, is making it really bothersome to move freely about town. The demo covers the introduction and first act of the full game, which is quite a bit of adventure game to sample.

A Stitch in Time uses the Lassie adventure game engine, the creation of developer Greg MacWilliam. I find the Lassie control scheme to be slightly counter-intuitive at first, but really easy to use once you get the hang of it. Click to move Nigel about Ravenhollow; click and hold to bring up the verb coin, which you can use to look at, touch, or talk to the character or item you click on. Your inventory contains all the items you collect, which you can access by moving your mouse to the bottom of the screen. Click on an item to use it, click on another item in your inventory or in the environment to use them together, and double click to dismiss the item. Like other adventure games, the goal is to collect and combine items, talk to characters, and use items to solve puzzles in order to advance the story.

mike-astitchintime-screen2.pngAnalysis: A Stitch in Time leans more towards the "serious" side of adventure games, as oppose to more off-the-wall fare like Sam & Max or the Monkey Island saga. Funny adventure games can get away with a greater breadth of puzzles, because silly solutions fit the mood of the game. A goofy puzzle in a serious adventure game will rather break the mood instead, so puzzle design in such games is a lot trickier. I am pleased to report that A Stitch in Time achieves, at least in the demo, in the creation of a variety of engaging puzzles that don't violate the tone of the story. I wouldn't call the puzzles super-clever, but they are challenging enough to be interesting without ever feeling overwhelming. I found that if I took a break from the game whenever I got stuck, I could always come back to it and succeed.

I was always glad to come back, for the story shines. With a few small details, the game conveys the intrigue, drama, and sadness of the situation Ravenhallow finds itself in. Chat with the fishermen at night and sympathize with their plight. Talk to the guards at the Port Authority and catch the whiff of casual arrogance. Apart from the immediate story, the larger world has a fascinating texture that is hard to place. Is it steampunk? Science fiction? A period piece or alternate history? A modern setting with vintage trappings? It's probably a combination of all these plus a number of unique ideas. Whatever it is, I simply like the idea of a world where a place like Ravenhallow can be modern and interconnected, yet isolated enough that it can suffer the problems that it has.

The Stitch in Time team obviously strove for classy production in all areas, and it shows. The character design is great, the sound design is super, and the background art is amazing. Take a look at the view of Ravenhollow in the title sequence, or the ship Sparrow bobbing in the dock next to the harbor district. One aspect of the production that is missed is the lack of voice acting which, along with some stiff character animation, makes the characters seem a little flat. I can hardly blame an indie team of two developers for not hiring a full voice cast, however.

The demo to A Stitch in Time is quite robust, and is as long or longer than most other free browser-based adventure games. The download version promises better graphics and sound, though you do need to download the separate Adobe Air player to make it run if you don't have it already. Either approach is terrific and offers the same great taste of what promises to be an excellent indie adventure game. Keep your eye on this one.

Play What Makes You Tick: A Stitch in Time

Walkthrough Guide


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What Makes You Tick: A Stitch in Time Walkthrough

Welcome (or not) to Ravenhallow

  1. Watch the opening sequence and credits. If you'd like, you can skip ahead to the main game by pressing [tab]

  2. Nigel enters the town of Ravenhallow. You learn of Nigel's business in town, of his deceased father, Dr. Anthony Trelawney, of his involvement in the mysterious Smith Institute, and of the photo Dr. Trelawney left him. You also learn you need to talk to your father's solicitor, Lionstone.

  3. You can look about town, but everything seems to be locked up, and there is hardly anyone around. Strange.

  4. You can also talk to the officious, uniformed blighter near the bridge, to get a small idea of what is going on.

  5. Eventually you will find that there are no leads to be found harborside. Go through the small gateway on the far left side of the screen. The cursor will become a red arrow, to let you know you can continue to the next screen.

The Boathouse

  1. On this side of town you find some folks who may look familiar. If not, meet Dr. William Coppelius, his assistant Nathan, and his associate McManus. You overhear their conversation, then Nathan takes his leave.

  2. Continue your conversation with Dr. Coppelius to find out who he is and why he is here in Ravenhallow.

  3. Before too long your conversation is interrupted by the arrival of Lowell Cain, accompanied by the officious uniformed blighter. A combination of Nigel's smart mouth and the antics of a mysterious prankster finds him subdued and imprisoned. Some welcome.

  4. You awake to find yourself locked in the boathouse. Obviously you can't stay here. Anthony Trelawney's estate won't settle itself!

  5. There's a trepaulin hanging near the boat door. Maybe you should see what's behind it?

  6. Holy smoke, indeed! Carry out the conversation with the mysterious stranger. She takes your photograph, but gives you a fish. Fair trade. She leaves, somehow, leaving you with a cold fish and an increasing desire to escape.

  7. Nothing inside the boathouse seems to be of any help. Maybe see what's outside?

  8. Take a look outside the door with the bars. Again, the cursor will become a red arrow, to let you know you can look at the next screen.

  9. Maybe you recall where the mysterious attack against the officious uniformed blighter came from.

  10. Or maybe you are just curious about the contents of rain barrels. Use the barrel to acquire a slingshot.

  11. You also see McManus and his faithful mutt, Shroomy, but neither are able to hear you.

  12. Perhaps you can entice Shroomy closer to you.

  13. Maybe with some sort of treat.

  14. Dogs like fish, right? Especially dogs owned by grizzled old salts. Unfortunately you can't get the fish through the bars.

  15. Go back to looking inside the boathouse. Maybe there is some other way to get the fish to Shroomy.

  16. Like the big open roof hatch just above the door?

  17. Sadly you don't trust in your ability to just throw the fish out the hatch. You need some way to launch it.

  18. Combine the fish with the slingshot in your inventory. Use the fishy slingshot with the hatch.

  19. Take a look outside again. Shroomy is a lot closer now.

  20. Talk to Shroomy to call him over.

  21. Good dog! Unfortunately, Shroomy is no Rin Tin Tin. He doesn't really have that much to offer you.

  22. He does have his dog tag. Take the dog tag.

  23. What possible good could a flat metal disc be in escaping from a rickety old boathouse?

  24. Use the dog tag as a makeshift screwdriver to loosen the hinges on the door. Sweet freedom!

Personal favors

  1. You are back where you started. Talk to McManus to learn that something strange has happened.

  2. Go back to the main harbor. Ravenhallow is really jumping since your imprisonment.

  3. There are lots of people to talk to now. You will also find that the Port Authority is open. It might be worth your while to overhear the conversation the Female Captain, named Captain Amayi, is having with the officious uniformed blighter. The person that is most important to talk to is the Pipe Smoking Guy.

  4. His name is Sir Theloneous Wave Tamer, the former harbormaster. You learn of further strangeness afoot in Ravenhallow.

  5. If you are thorough, you also learn that Lionstone is most likely at the inn at the town square, and that the trunk in the boathouse contains a cache of confiscated goods.

  6. Continue your conversation with Wavtamer until he makes you an offer.

  7. Wavetamer will give you the key to the port authority if you help him repair his fishing boat over in the boathouse. He also gives you a crank to the winch. Sounds like a deal!

  8. Take a peak inside the Port Authority, while you are here. It's open to the public during the daytime. More officious thugs are taking up space. You can talk to them if you'd like to learn more about goings-on.

  9. There's lots to see in the Port Authority. Is there anything useful for boat repair.

  10. That letter opener near the fishbowl could be useful. Take it.

  11. Captain Amayi has apparently abandoned negotiations with the blighter. Talk to her. You learn of more perfidies and outrages perpetrated by Lowell Cain.

  12. You also learn that they are short on food, and that her ship's log is being held somewhere. If you can get her log back, she will give you her village pass, which will let you get to Lionstone at the inn.

  13. Your conversation with Wavetamer should clue you in to the location of Amayi's log.

  14. It's in the trunk in the boathouse.

  15. So we need to get the key to the trunk, which we know from Wavetamer is in the Port Authority.

  16. We also know we can only get to the key at night, when the guards are preoccupied, and that at night we can only get in with the key that Wavetamer has. Wavetamer won't give you the key until you fix his boat. So let's fix the boat!

  17. There isn't really anything else at the main harbor that can help us fix the boat. Go back to outside the boathouse.

  18. Looking around, you find a bucket of tar. Tar is useful for repairing boats. Take the tar.

  19. You also find a ruined boat that someone was trying to fix, with a patch firmly attached. You can try to take it, but it's too tightly riveted.

  20. Perhaps if you had some sort of tool to pry the patch off.

  21. Use the letter opener with the patch.

  22. You now have everything you need to repair the boat. Enter the boathouse.

  23. Use the winch crank with the winch box. Then use the winch to lower the boat.

  24. Use the patch with the boat, and do likewise with the tar. The boat is now fixed, but how are you going to get it out of the boathouse? The latch is rusted shut.

  25. Give the boat a shove. That did the trick!

  26. Use the boat to row it to Wavetamer. Wile away the time with an enjoyable fishing minigame. There isn't any downside to playing badly, at least for the demo. Hit Exit to continue.

  27. Nightfall at Ravenhallow

  28. When you come back from fishing you see that the sun is set, and that things are very different at Ravenhallow. Wavetamer gives you some odd advice, then hands you the key to the Port Authority.

  29. Before entering the Port Authority, you should see what's going on at the dock to the right. More trouble from Cain and his men.

  30. If you continue to the far right, you'll find one fisherman with whom you can have a very edifying conversation. It is unnecessary for completing the demo, but it is good to know.

  31. You also will find a fishing notice attached to the ferry schedule. Take it if you hadn't already. Maybe Wavetamer would like to know about it. Fishing hooks ARE sharp!

  32. Let's check out the Port Authority now. Use the key with the door. Now where is the key to the chest?

  33. Wavetamer should have already told you where the key is, so perhaps you remember. Or maybe you'll find it with a careful eye.

  34. The key is in the small ship in a bottle, near the sleeping guard. Unfortunately, the guard has his hand on the bottle, so you can't disturb it.

  35. How will we move the guards hand without waking him? Perhaps he needs some more restful sleep than what he is getting.

  36. Use the radio, which will now play a soothing lullaby. The guard will move his hand.

  37. You can try to take the bottle, but it's glued to the table, and Nigel will refuse to break it. You should try a more delicate procedure.

  38. Use the fishing hook from the flyer on the bottle. The key is yours!

  39. Exit the Port Authority and go back to the boathouse. Use the key on the chest and take its contents, including a ship's log.

  40. Go back to Amayi and give her the log. She gives you the village pass in return.

  41. Show the town pass to the blighter at the bridge. He will begrudgingly let you into town.

  42. Watch the cutscene as Nigel enters town, and watch as another mysterious stranger delivers a cryptic soliloquy. Enticing!

End of the Demo.

11 Comments

Sounds pretty interesting, and I wanted to check out the original first, but it seems to be no longer available.

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To play the original, go to the developer homepage and click games, then click What Makes You Tick. It will bring you to the official download page of the first game.

I'm guessing that when A Stitch in Time launches, it will not be freeware.

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I've updated the JIG page where the original game was covered with the correct download link.

http://jayisgames.com/archives/2007/05/weekend_download_1.php

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Got it, thanks Jay!

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bioshocker March 25, 2010 5:46 PM

the bad guys look like nazis and act like nazis

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Great game. Too bad I can't get the original one to work on my mac (intel.) If anyone knows the problem and a solution please let me know.

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Don't really like how I have to hold down the mouse for a second to get the menu to come up. Any faster way to do this?

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Anonymous March 27, 2010 1:48 AM

I accidentally picked up an item in my inventory and now I can't put it down. How do I do this?

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Anonymous March 27, 2010 11:36 AM

How to put down an item: You can double click with the right mouse button and it will go back into the inventory.

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Chiktionary Author Profile Page April 4, 2010 10:47 PM

Great game, lovely artwork and music, fairly intuitive puzzles.
However I found it really slow, and was easily bored with the prolonged conversations.
Enjoyed the demo, but probably won't download the full game.

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