dazed_girl (dazed_girl) wrote,

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I finished Encodya yesterday. You're playing as two characters here. A nine year old girl named Tina and her robot companion that was assigned to her at birth called Sam. Tina is orphaned and living on the streets of Neo Berlin some forty odd years from now with her robot until one day she finds out he has a secret code inside him and goes on a bit of a journey to find out how to access that code. Meanwhile, the mayor Rumpf is trying to stop the two from accomplishing their goals.

So right off I notice how nice the graphics and animation are for this game, including the cinematics. They're pretty well done for an indie title. It gave that nostalgic feeling of the adventure games of yore. And certainly the interface also reflects that. Simple point and click with an interactive wheel. Easy access to inventory items. Double clicking to run. Plenty of characters to interact with. I also really liked the settings and the music, which at times sounded like something from Bladerunner. It definitely has the cyberpunk vibe to it. I was reminded of Technobabylon somewhat mixed with Beneath and Beyond a Steel Sky. You visit quite a few locations from a rainy city to a tropical paradise in cyberspace. You can also switch between Tina and Sam. Sam is mostly used to reach places Tina can't reach, and talk to some of the other robots. All of these aspects were near perfection, however there were several flaws, a few I would consider critical that kept this game from excelling.

Let's get the big one out of the way that hurt the game the most I felt: the hotspot finder. Yes, it's always great to have a hotspot finder, but I was really let down by this one and it left me incredibly frustrated. The hotspot finder only works on objects for you to pick up and nothing else. Not only that, even with the hotspot finder it's still hard to see them. They flash just a little bit brighter when you push the button, but they're still easy to miss. Some objects are tiny and blend into the background really well. As a result I got stuck ... a lot because of the aggravating pixel hunting. Yes, 95% of the time I would get stuck because I missed seeing a tiny item. You can ask Sam for hints if you get stuck and that's a good feature to have, but a few times it wasn't enough and I had to resort to looking at the walkthrough. The game said I used 17 hints I think? Sounds bad, but again most of that was because of the unnecessary pixel hunting.

The other negative I felt was the story. It's not too bad, it's just overly simple and could have been executed better. There was nothing super special or original about it. Needed more depth too. Your main villain Rumpf is a really two dimensional caricatured character. And I think it's rather obvious who they were making fun of here. Hint: It rhymes with Dump. But I thought maybe he looked a little like a blonde Hitler too. Either way, I wasn't too impressed with the character.

And characters bring me to the voice acting. Overall it was not that great. A few characters sound really grating and a few others sound pretty decent, but most were more in between. Tina obviously sounds like an adult doing a child's voice, but I got kind of used to it. Sam might have been the best voiced character, and he's just your typical robot. The characters weren't developed much. You meet quite a few of them, but most are just a means to an end. None I could say wow that's a really great character. I probably liked the robot characters more than the humans though.

I will say that the ending was pretty nice, but again the story just wasn't that impactful for me, and it could have been if it was fleshed out more. However, I did still enjoy this game. It was a good length. The hotspot issue was the worst part of it for me, but I would definitely say these developers have potential. If they were to make another game, some more improvements and polish and they could actually make a great game I think. It almost reminded me of something Daedalic would make. They definitely did certain aspects well. Here is a screenshot. In the heart of Neo Berlin. Again, wonderful sci-fi backdrop.

I'm now playing a game called Beat the Game. It's really a play on words as the "beat" in the title refers to music. This one is centered all around music. I've heard it's short too, so it probably won't take me long to go through it.
Tags: adventure games

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