Another Small Favor
Our favorite green-skinned favor trader is back and he's learning a potent lesson from the last time he performed A Small Favor. There are reasons why favor trading was outlawed. One is that nefarious favors such as, I don't know, assassinating high level government officials could be bad for your health, in the way that having hordes of government goons coming after you with large guns generally is. Still, when you make your living off of favor trading, there's only one way you know of to get out of this mess. You're going to have to perform Another Small Favor.
In this point-and-click adventure from Zeebarf, you find yourself in the "blindzone," a series of locales outside of the city that provided the setting for the first game. While the government may not value your skin (at least your skin still attached to your breathing body anyway), someone out there wishes to see you alive, and tells you to go see the only person that can scrub your ID card and get the government goons off your back, "Mr. Personality."
This is easier said than done. Everything involved with favor trading seems to be easier said than done. Before your name is cleared you'll have to liquidate an evil Pig Hunter, save a Kitty Captain from bug monsters, track down a parasite worm attracted to heavy drinkers, and so much more.
As in the last game, everything here is done with the mouse. Click on hot spots to talk to other characters or pick up items. Navigate from screen to screen using the red arrows that pop up, and negotiate the overworld map by clicking on the named locations as they appear. Access the menu at any time to check out your open missions, or to grab items from your inventory. Don't forget, even though you are a favor trader, you'll have to resort to government sanctioned item-based trading from time to time, so be sure to check out the local vending machines.
And with that, if you have any hopes of one day becoming a retired favor trader, you had best be on your way. Now.
Analysis: Jay Ziebarth has delighted point-and-click fans first with his Reemus series and then with his futuristic dystopia in A Small Favor. The only problem is that when you start off making excellent games, the expectations only get higher. I'm pleased to report that the Zeebarf brand continues to meet and exceed those expectations in this return to the world of favor trading.
Another Small Favor has all those attributes that have become staples in a Zeebarf game. The artistry is wonderful and has a definitive Saturday morning cartoon appeal to it. The item-based puzzles are creative and clever. Just when you think you've explored all that they could hope to offer, you are treated to yet even more bizarre combinations and uses. Finally, the story is excellently told and executed throughout the course of the game. The plot is engrossing enough to keep you wondering what happens next, but not so overbearing that it gets in the way.
Another Small Favor even shows improvements over its predecessor. It's larger for one thing, perhaps not quite as large as the latest installments of the Reemus series, but still with plenty of meat on its bones. The puzzles feel a little more organic this time around as well, integrating a little more smoothly with the playing experience.
Also, you have even more control over your unnamed avatar, if only in small amounts. The over world map allows faster navigation, the ability to run lets you now speed through scenes, and you are even granted a variety of weapons. Okay, by variety I mean two different weapons, but there is a significant difference in their uses.
Play all the Small Favor games:
As always, there is still plenty of room for improvement. Chief among Another Small Favor's flaws is the lack of a save function. Your first time puzzling through everything can take a while, and it's a little more than frustrating having to start from the beginning every time you put it down. Another disappointment is that there is a definite lack of puzzle solutions and alternative narrative paths. In this regard, Another Small Favor woefully under performs its predecessor.
Still, if you're a fan of Zeebarf, or if you're a fan of A Small Favor, or even if you're just a fan of great point-and-click adventure games, Another Small Favor should not be missed. Don't thank me for directing you to this game. Let's just say you owe me one.