Publisher: The Adventure Company
Developer: Kheops Studio
N Amer - 08/16/2005
VOYAGE: Inspired by Jules Verne Review
First things first, my knowledge of Jules Verne is limited. In fact I’ve heard the name more than I’ve read any of his writings. Shame on my part, yes I know, but life moves on. But we’re not talking about a book by Jules Verne; instead this review is about a game inspired by Jules Verne.
Voyage: A Journey Beyond Reality focuses on the story by Jules Verne about a trip to the moon. The original story involves three heroes launched to the moon by being shot out of a huge gun. But instead of just circling the moon the game has you landing on the moon. Unfortunately only one hero survives the trip to the moon, Michel Ardan. You play the role of Michel Ardan and your task is to explore all of the mysteries of the moon.
The gameplay is the simple-and-easy-to-play point-and-click-style adventure game. The game is played out in a first-person perspective that allows you to look in roughly any direction you want. Veterans of point-and-click adventure games will be right at home since the interface is near fool proof. If you can use an item then the screen cursor will change. Using an item can range from picking up an item to combining it with other items in your inventory.
Speaking of your inventory the game offers a huge amount of space to store items you discover during the game. Early in the game you’re forced to drop several that you ultimately get to recover. But it’s not a big deal since I was never close to running out of space that required me to leave items behind. The layout of the inventory screen was nicely done as well with the inventory screen having several tabs that you can click to move to the next page.
Nothing is dropped into your inventory screen automatically. The game keeps all of the items you find in a holding area that you will need to organize. But all you have to do is just drag and drop the items over to an empty slot in your inventory. Joining items together was a piece of cake; if the items can be combined then the combined items will automatically change to the updated item. If you’re missing an item to be combined then the game will display a question mark or a series of question marks to indicate how many more items are needed.
You might be thinking to yourself “All of this sounds really simple. Where’s the fun in that?” Well, how much fun would it be spending several hours on one puzzle without the game providing any type of help to keep the game moving along? The simple-to-use interface and layout of the game keeps Voyage moving along at a steady pace. Sure, there will be a few puzzles that will have you scratching your head but the game tries to help you along as much as possible. The game doesn’t just give you the answers but you will probably say to yourself “Duh!” once you’ve figured out the solution.
The pacing of the game is one of the drawbacks. The game is set on the moon with some weird, freaky stuff happening on the surface. For example there are strange and unusual drawings located all over the moon. The drawings seem to be the written language of the moon residents, the Selenites. As you progress through the game Michel Ardan will figure out what the different symbols mean without a problem one minute and then have a stupid attack the next minute. I understand that you have to set a boundary on how much you can uncover right away but it’s still frustrating seeing “unrecognized symbol” on the screen. Solving certain puzzles will usually allow you to understand a symbol but when you have to just guess what something means to figure out a puzzle then it’s sort of a catch.
The graphics in the game are another drawback to what could be considered gaming bliss. The game offers some simple 2D static graphics for the majority of the landscapes and creatures. There are some items and creatures that are modeled in 3D but nothing that will really impress everyone. When compared to other point-and-click adventure games the graphics in Voyage are disappointing. There are some vibrant colors but the overall game lacks the lush, spectacular view that has been seen in countless other adventure games. However, there is one part of the graphics that I thought was interesting, which were the cutscenes. The cutscenes early in the game played out in a vintage/antique-style cartoon look that would have been seen in magazines/books from days of old. These cutscenes would pop up every few minutes early in the game until you finally reached the planet.
One last feature that I really did enjoy was the game’s ability to try something a little different. There were certain parts in the game that had you jumping to different parts of the stage. But in order to jump you have to time the jump just right by pressing your cursor at a certain point. The cursor scale will change depending on the distance of the jump. The farther the jump the harder it will be to stop the cursor at the right time. It’s just a simple little diversion to the standard point-and-click game but it was still different.
At the end of the day Voyage is a good adventure game that will please fans of Jules Verne and fans of the point-and-click genre. The easy-to-use interface, interesting setting and unique jumping option will offer gamers an adventure game that will fill the void until the next game is released. However the plain graphics and questionable puzzles will keep regular gamers far away from any trips to the moon. But I’ll make it real simple for anyone that has made it this far in the review: if you’re an adventure game nut then you already know that you have to get this game. Everyone else can probably skip it.
Review Scoring Details for VOYAGE: Inspired by Jules Verne
The point-and-click interface is easy for everyone to use. The inventory system made it very easy to keep track of what items you have and if the items can be combined with other items. The majority of the puzzles were straightforward enough for anyone to complete but a few were questionable.
This isn’t the game to push your new high-end graphics card. There are a few vibrant colors in the game but the rest of the graphics are very dull. There are a few moments of movement in some of the creatures but the majority of the game is non-animated.
The voice acting and music in the game were well done. The character of Michel Ardan didn’t repeat himself too much to get on your nerves. The music added a nice sense of ambiance to the game. The sound effects were nothing to write home about but did the job.
As I’ve mentioned earlier the pacing in the game keeps you moving along without running into too many roadblocks. Some of the puzzles were a little crazy and will have you pulling your hair out.
This is a single-player game.
It’s based on Jules Verne. How many times have you played a game based on Jules Verne? The antique style cartoons early in the game sets a good tone for connecting the game to the classic works of Jules Verne. The jumping mini game offers a good change of pace from the standard point-and-click adventure game. The rest of the game is nothing that you haven’t seen in other adventure games.
It might not be the best adventure game ever released but Voyage is still a fun and entertaining game. You already know by now if you’re going to pick this game up or not. This game won’t shine your shoes, press your clothes or mow your lawn, but it’s a game that offers a few minutes of removing yourself from the rigors of day-to-day life.
Adventure gamers and fans of Jules Verne will be in for a treat with Voyage
Review Date: 08/30/2005