By now most of us are familiar with the Imagia series of point-and-click adventures that are beautifully ambient and yet seemingly aimless. Welcome to another mysterious and intriguing installment, Imagia 3: The Quarry. Kayzerfish's latest epsiode appears unrelated to the first two chapters apart from the glorious graphics and secrets to be found. There is a little bit of a difference this time around however... you find yourself in a lush but lonely valley and quarry complete with idyllic waterfall and smattering of flowers. You are going to need some special help to get away from here, and you will get a little closer to finding out who you are in the process.
Consistent with the first two Imagia games, the controls are simple and straightforward; use your mouse to click on items and to navigate between scenes. Hover your mouse and the cursor will change if there is something to be collected or an area to be explored. Clicking on items will add them to the inventory which runs down both sides of the main game screen. Some objects will need to be combined for further use, and mousing over items in the inventory will show their definitions. Your main goal is ultimately to discover a means of transportation using the items and objects around the quarry, but there are also secrets to be discovered as well as some extra items to be collected along the way. And there is a save feature which can be accessed at the lower left side of the screen.
Analysis: The mystery, intrigue and secrets continue in this latest installment, and it's difficult to pin down exactly what is happening in the world of Imagia. But one can hardly be perturbed by the seeming lack of continuity in the story, because the gameplay and puzzle solving is so engrossing, and you can't help but feel that the open ended nature of Imagia games can only lead to more. It's also nice to have a definite goal to work towards, as you will soon discover.
The beauty of Imagia is immediately obvious with crisp and gorgeous imagery that is somehow congruent with the natural world. The delight of the sounds of bird calls and waterfalls carry us to places that are nestled in our memories yet keep us engrossed in the world of Imagia that we are exploring. And the occasional strains of peaceful and atmospheric music, reminiscent of the Myst series of games, lend a sense of comfort and joy to the whole journey. It's also especially gratifying when a game offers exploration and puzzles that really get you thinking.
So we may be left with more unanswered questions and a sense that little is resolved but these beautiful games surmount any need for resolution. Imagia 3: The Quarry may just be another tidbit to tantalise a gamer's tastebuds, but I seriously get the feeling that there will be more imaginative and delightfully intriguing Imagia to come...