Tainted Olive: Chapter 2
It's been some time in the making, but fans of dark fantasy, point-and-click adventure games, and Black Olive Games's signature sketchy, hand-drawn style can finally dive into Tainted Olive: Chapter 2, the second installment in their Tainted Olive series. (And if you haven't played the first one yet, now's a good time to catch up.) In a world of magic and war, he who controls the olive oil controls the universe, as it's one of the most useful magical substances in the world. The series follows the adventures of Silvian, a magic-crystal-wielding accidental adventurer who, like many adventurers, is caught up in a conflict greater than he is. A lot bigger. Tainted Olive is a very text-heavy series that focuses strongly on worldbuilding, and it crafts a surprisingly large fantasy universe with its own history, culture, and brand of magic. Thankfully, it also brings a handful of tricky puzzles to go with it.
Tainted Olive: Chapter 2 is a game very, very heavy on reading and exposition, which makes it fairly slow-paced for a point-and-click game. You'll be engaging with a lot of NPCs, and there's a lot of exposition and information hidden in their conversations, not all of which is strictly important to the gameplay. The prose is occasionally stilted and a little awkward, but it has an appropriately fantasy-ish feel, which does help contribute to the atmosphere of the game. If you're not a fantasy fan or don't really care for the world the game makers have established, though, it can be kind of a drag to sit through all of the game's many, many NPC conversations. However, this installment in the series does include a greater wealth of puzzles. Some of these actually do quite a good job from deviating from the usual standards seen in a lot of browser-based point-and-click games! For those who like a good brainteaser, this chapter definitely provides. But Tainted Olive is still a series about narrative, first and foremost, and your enjoyment of this game has a lot to do with how deeply you can engross yourself in the world the devs have created. You'll be most at home if you like a dramatic fantasy yarn full of references to pantheons of imaginary gods and mysterious kingdoms. But the puzzles definitely don't hurt.