Thursday, March 18, 2010

News: A first look at Joan Jade and the Gates of Xibalba

Today, Big Fish Games released a new game with an adventurous title: Joan Jade and the Gates of Xibalba. Having played a good chunk of it, I'll give you some feedback.

  • Puzzle
  • Adventure
  • Hidden Objects
Main CharacterFemale (No surprise here, considering the current trend.)
PlotYou're an uncommonly adventurous mom looking for her missing children in a jungle with ancient ruins.
  • Pretty, nicely drawn scenery.
  • Character art is only fair.
  • Interface is clean and easy to use, with the standard journal in the lower corner, and the hint button in another corner.
MusicEasily the worst part of this production. The music is a sort of electronica that doesn't fit the theme or mood of the game at all. If the music had been a more fitting orchestral score, the game would have had much greater draw for me personally. As it is, the music ruins the immersion.
  • Jungle exploration: I love this theme. Jungles and temples and ruins - these are the makings of great adventure.
  • Inventory: I like inventory puzzles. There are a number of things you can pick up from scene to scene by mousing around the screen and clicking on things. Then, you'll use all of these in interesting ways. This is an essential element in many classic adventure games, and it's used well here. Additionally, the use of most items is fairly intuitive, which I always appreciate.
  • Exploration interface: Scene elements that you can interact with will show a label when you mouse over them, so you don't have to guess at what can be clicked on. Some items that you can pick up won't show labels, but these are made to stand out.
  • Numerous puzzles: This game has lots of puzzles. The more the better!
  • Easy HOG scenes: I like that the hidden object scenes are short and simple. Nothing is too hard to find, and the scenes blend smoothly into the game.
  • Too easy: There is very little challenge in this game. Most of the game is puzzles, and they offer very little that is original or tricky.
  • Music: As I mentioned before, the music only hurts the experience.
Final WordIs this worth buying? For fans of the current Adventure/HOG/Puzzle trend, this game should give you a good buzz. It's like you're a female Indiana Jones, hunting around in ancient temples and solving crafty puzzles. So, yes, if you've been enjoying this type of game, you should buy this one. Just turn the music off while you play.

Go get the game here:

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