The first adventure game I ever played was Maniac Mansion. I was in 4th Grade, and for some reason the classroom happened to have a decade-old Commodore 64 with a collection of not-entirely functional floppy diskettes that we LOAD,8,1-ed at random. We never really made much progress into saving Sandy from Dr. Fred (due largely to our lack of understanding re: the concept of "copy protection"), but it inspired a love of adventure games that has continued with me to this day. So join me for three favorites of the genre, this week in the JayIsGames Vault.
- Covert Front - Dark, moody and atmospheric, the Covert Front series transforms you into a spy lost in the sea of shifting alliances and technological innovations of an alternate early-20th century Europe. There are secrets to uncover, red herrings to dismiss, and conspiracies that don't want anyone peeking in. The deliciously eerie visuals are rich with shadow, the plot is twisty without being convoluted, and the puzzles are challenging without ever seeming unfair. With the Pastel Games Facebook page having teased a fourth installment in development, this is the perfect time to reacquaint yourself with Kara and her three-game search for Karl Von Toten.
- Sea of Glomp - Sea of Glomp, by Paul Kramm, is a mix of influences both old and new. The gameplay's emphasis on mazes and exploration brings to mind Adventure: Atari Style. The graphics perfectly ape Gary Larson's Far Side. The puzzles remind me of Dizzy, Prince of the Yolkfolk. And the atmosphere is Spongebob Squarepants all the way. Sea of Glomp takes no time for hand-holding, so only the most dedicated of players will recover Glomp's lost egg. However, even novices should enjoy a nice swim around the gorgeous scenery.
- Hewitt - Adventure game puzzle logic gets a bad rap. Sometimes, though, I think I want my puzzles to be a little goofy and inexplicable: to use a pie to knock out a yeti, or maple syrup and cat hair to make a fake mustache. Hewitt, by B-Group Productions, may have the kind of puzzles you'll resort to a walkthrough to solve, but it works. The animation, humor, soundtrack and characters are more than enough to keep you playing, even if you do have to dress a parrot in a trench-coat at one point. Also, I want to say that I liked how, though the goal is to get Hewitt a date to the dance, that he is portrayed neither as a loser nor an automatic Casanova, and seems to have chemistry with his prospective partner beyond just giving her the right item. Adventure game romances can often seem a little mercenary, but here, it's kinda cute.
While we welcome any comments about this weekly feature here, we do ask that if you need any help with the individual games, please post your questions on that game's review page. Well, what are you waiting for? Get out there and rediscover some awesome!