Imagia 1: The Tower
Imagia Part 1 - The Tower is a new point-and-click series by Kayzerfish (the combined talents of Ralf Hebecker and Nikita Tutubalin) about ducks. No, no, just kidding; it's about the restoration of a 1960's Ford Thunderbird and a touching relationship between father and son that...
... okay, I'm a liar. (Big surprise, right?) But it might be about those things! We'll have to wait to find out. In the beginning, you find yourself in the crumbling remains of a mostly empty tower that has clearly seen better days. To keep you company you've got the sound of crickets, and a distant owl. Other than that? Not much. So why are you here? What's happened? Well, you won't find the answers to all your questions in this first installment, but you will find a whole heaping helping of mystery. Just point and click to interact with the world, and click on items to pick them up. Also important is the fact that you can combine certain items in your inventory by using them on one another, so be sure to experiment.
As strange as it may seem for someone who whines so much about story, I'm actually a big fan of games with absent or sparse narration; by simply dropping you into an odd situation and not telling you what's going on, they can hook you by your curiosity and engage you even more than games that read you bedtime stories every step of the way. Imagia manages this nicely. In fact, most of the problems with Imagia come from the interface; the lack of a changing cursor means you have to hunt and click for interactive spots, and occasionally that hotspot is so small that it'll take you several clicks to take an item even if you know it's there. The lack of dialogue or really text of any kind isn't a huge hindrance, but it does make those instances where you're completely flummoxed all the more frustrating when you don't always know what, exactly, is in your inventory. There's also no save system, but you probably won't need one; once you know what you're doing, the game is fairly short.
What Imagia gets right is a great sense of atmosphere and intrigue; despite the relatively simple visuals, the game makes excellent use of sound to really immerse you in the environment, and the result is a place that feels hushed and full of mystery. Some people will like the added difficulty of a lack of changing cursor, and it does have the benefit of making you feel clever when you finally suss things out. (Let's see MacGuyver figure out how to use magic paint. Booyah!) Despite only being long enough to really fill in a coffee break (provided you really savour each sip), Imagia Part 1 - The Tower is a promising start to a strange new series that has the potential to take you to some very interesting places. Colour us intrigued, Kazyerfish; bring on Part 2!