It was just a locket found while mudlarking... that is, searching the banks of The Thames in hopes of finding discarded artifacts of old. Most Mudlarkers dream of finding that one great treasure that will bring fame and fortune, but Winston's and Vincent's dream shortly became a nightmare. You play as Winston, a Londoner with a week off of work who was planning on spending it with his best friend, Vincent, who finds an old locket. Then two days later he vanishes leaving his precious locket behind. Winston must find him, and something deep inside of him tells him that if he doesn't hurry there won't be anything left to find. So starts this point and click adventure game, brought to us by Cloak and Dagger. Mudlarks is a free indie game of mystery and friendship as you must find the enigma behind the locket and be willing to face it all, whether it be radioactive meteorites, a dark government conspiracy, or even the supernatural, to save your friend.
You can use the arrow keys to move around, but it's highly recommended to just click. Switch between actions (speak, walk, grab) by right-clicking. A lot of the game's quests follow the "you scratch my back, I'll scratch yours" pattern as well as hunting for items to aid you on your adventure. Winston, however, plays like a normal human instead of the hero of an average point and click game and usually won't pick up items he doesn't believe he needs. Speaking with everyone is the only way to make it through the game as they will tell him what he needs to do in order to move on. The story is done so well though that in most moments like these, the answer isn't so obviously glaring in your face that there is no frustration about needing to speak to someone to advance the puzzle. The story and game play mesh so perfectly that you never feel taken out of the plot to do some some "adventuring". It's also one that will keep you on your toes as you try to figure out what really happened to your friend.
I'll admit the art style put me off a little at first. Sometimes characters move awkwardly or carry odd expressions, and all the bodies are a little disproportionate. After playing a little while, however, I grew to love it, with the photos done well enough that there is depth to it. It gives you a real world to move around in and it's easier to slip into the atmosphere and alluring story. Some scenes end up looking a little cheesy, but the plot is involving enough that a little cheese doesn't take away anything. The other downside to the art medium is it can be hard to spot items you need or can interact with, but thankfully, when you mouse over the said items, large text will appear at the bottom of the screen. Even with its minor flaws, Mudlarks is a refreshing game and a great adventure. It may take you a day or two to play through, but you'll still feel the ending was too soon as you won't want it to stop.
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