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Adventure World – a LimboInteractive Review

December 27, 2011

Just when you thought it was safe to go back into the jungle… of Facebook Flash games, that is.


—–70% Complete—–

tl;dr Version: Perhaps not as engrossing as a full ‘commercial’ video game, but certainly more imaginative than the usual fare.

‘Splain, Lucy Version: Okay, first off, it’s a Flash game. I’m sure most of you have an idea what those are usually like. They’re either strategy games filled with buildings and monuments with little people milling about between them, or they’re little egg-headed avatars walking incredibly slowly over some backwoods terrain you’re expected to terraform by spamming your Facebook wall for recruits to click on the gift button to give you whatever MacGuffin is needed to build a barn or feed your livestock. For those of us looking for opportunities to help tell an interactive story, this is about as interesting as watching rancid food grow mold in the corner where you threw it in disgust the other day. But Adventure World isn’t liek that. Well, almost, but not like you think.

Boring Version: Okay, so far in this blog, I’ve only reviewed things I’ve been ecstatic about, awarding high marks for things that most of you probably thought was pretty average. Well, today I get to do something different; a moderate review. I awarded this game 70% above, but it needs a couple of qualifiers:

First off, it’s my favourite new Zynga-style Flash game. It pretty much gets that distinction simply because it hews closer to a theme I’m genuinely interseted in (i.e. pulp adventure fiction) However, to me, that’s not the same thing as a proper Adventure Game, or perhaps more correctly Action/Adventure Game, which is the type of game this game is in essence trading on. See, it’s a bit of both, and a whole lot of neither. The closest I can attribute it to, gameplay-wise, is a cross between Sims 3: World Adventures (a game I greatly enjoyed, casual though it is) and full-contact, Third-World-youth-style street begging.

Second, it’s NOT a farming game. Oh, there’s a bit of that standard Flash game timed-crop-yielding mechanic, but it’s relatively minimal, and doesn’t seem to do a great deal to enhance or detract from the overall experience. You essentially have to gather a few relatively easily-obtained resources (i.e. travel provisions) to initiate the next quest chain. But the lion’s share of the limited time you will be playing is spent on the quest chain itself.

GAMEPLAY
You innocently stagger about a seemingly dangerous but highly aesthetically-pleasing 2D isomorphic environment, uncovering treasure, setting off traps and fighting wandering critters that take a few whacks to finish off. In that sense, it’s not unlike another Flash game I played a few months ago, called Deep Realms. That too is an action/adventure-based game, only more in a turn-based RPG vein, which was actually quite fun, and not any kind of disappointment, on the whole. I should probably play it a little more and maybe do a review of it as well.

However, Deep Realms does subscribe a little too strongly to the standard Flash game reward system* for my tastes. I suppose this adds a level of interactivity to the proceedings that attracts players on a certain visceral level. However, I tend to find it intellectually offensive, narratively disruptive, and practically irritating, particularly if it involves rapid reflexive clicking and then waiting for the server to register that you have indeed clicked and therefore receive your food pellet reward.

I’m sad to say, Adventure World does this, too. That’s why the game doesn’t get the nice, high rating a fun little pulp fiction game would easily win from an unjaded critic like myself. However, if does get a better-than-average score for a Flash game, simply because it does streamline/minimize the standard Flash game behaviours, and allows you to mostly focus on the meat of the game itself.

SUMMARY
Adventure World is a charming little Flash game, and with its inclusion into the Indiana Jones franchise, I suppose it has gained a certain amount of prestige. I certainly enjoyed it for what it is. However, for longevity, I have to confess, it hasn’t held me as much as I might otherwise have been. At the same time, my schedule has recently become terribly busy, so time for playing Flash games has become minimal. Someone with more time for leisure activities might not reach the same conclusion as me. I would probably still be logging in to play if I weren’t otherwise disposed. Take that as you will.

Lee.

* i.e. letting you overcome a specific encounter, obstacle or task, and then shower you with bits of cartoon loose change, which you then have to sweep up with your badly-lagging mouse pointer to collect into your inventory before it vanishes. Loads of fun, I assure you.

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