Bulkypix brings the exotic adventure game to the iPhone.
The iPhone has always seemed like a good fit for point-and-click adventure games, what with it’s pretty display and responsive touch screen. We’ve seen many attempts at PaC games on the iPhone, and sadly more have failed than succeeded. Originally released on the PC, The Last King of Africa has also been released on the DS, so I started the game with high hopes.
The game starts off with a cutscene that featured some surprisingly good voice acting between the two CG characters. Other than painfully obvious video compression, the CG is not bad at all, and is integrated well throughout the story. You play as Ann Smith, a mysterious girl who crashes a plane in the land of Muarania. You must find a way to escape and return to your home in Switzerland, all the while trying to overcome your memory loss from the crash.
The gameplay itself is very standard of PaC adventures: TAP EVERYTHING. Green gems are inexplicably (well, poorly explained, at least) throughout almost every scene you lay your eyes on. Many of them are nearly invisible, even on the iPhone 4′s retina display, and could only be attained from thorough touch spamming of the scene. These are used to unlock achievements, as well as bonus levels of some of the mini games you play in the main story.
While the artwork in the game is beautiful, and the music and sound is engaging, I found the story itself to be lacking. All the events leading to the end of this episode happened way too easily, and felt extremely unrealistic to the situations in the game. Some of the puzzles feel very forced, and every one of them will be easily defeated by even an intermediate adventure gamer. I was able to complete this episode in around 2 hours, with the majority of the gems collected. This could be due to this being the first episode in the game, but since I have no idea how far in I got, I don’t know if future episodes will be this easy or not.
This leads to another possible issue: each episode of The Last King of Africa is $3. I have no idea how many episodes are planned, but $3 an episode for 5+ episodes will probably not ring well with App Store consumers. This especially applies to those who play adventure games often, and will breeze through episode one as fast as I did, if not faster. Is 2 hours of mostly-mediocre entertainment worth $3? If you saw the latest Adam Sandler film for $10, the answer is probably yes. But if you’re brand new to point-and-click adventure games, The Last King of Africa will give you a great intro to the genre without frustrating you or forcing you to look up pages of walkthroughs online.
The Last King of Africa has set a good standard with it’s artwork, music, and well-acted CG cutscenes. Unfortunately, Episode 1 felt too dry to really draw me into the story, and extremely simple puzzles and overly-coincidental events made the experience fly by very quickly. Ultimately, it is a solid, but forgettable, experience that newcomers to the point-and-click genre will enjoy much more than old timers. The preview for episode 2 looked quite interesting though, so we’ll see what the future holds for The Last King of Africa.
If you are new to point-and-click adventure games:
If you are an experienced PaC adventure game player: