Archive for November 7th, 2007

New Uplifting Adventure Games, Part one

Posted on November 7, 2007. Filed under: Games, Musings |

I haven’t posted about games for a while, since of all the computer games out there, I only enjoy (relatively) non-violent adventure games. There is a smaller market for those than many other kinds, although there are some for children through “mature” teens. You know, the ones rated “E” for everyone. A lot of these are quite good, and a “mature” adult such as myself can get a lot of enjoyment, and sometimes life-changing philosophy from them. After having said all that, I’m about to write my thoughts on two games containing blue and green-tinted cartoon characters! The following game can be downloaded at no charge from the developer’s web site. Excellent value, to be sure.

I enjoyed my time with Frasse and the Peas of Kejick. This game has been out for a year or two, and I downloaded it quite a while ago. I have to admit; I avoided playing it for a while because one review I read said that the main characters changed in unseemly ways in the last portion of the game, and that they were “forced” to commit “violent” acts! Oh no! Not my kind of game, I thought. I should have paid attention to the fact that this was only one review–many others loved this game. And, I’m chagrined I sort of violated my own violence policy by giving more credence to the “negative” than the “positive”. Yet another lesson: watch out for that kind of social programming. I knew I would play this game eventually, though. From what I’d read about him, I respected the intentions of the developer, Rikard Peterson. Other reviews were good, and the main character, Frasse, is just adorable.

Frasse is a short blue puffball of a fellow. He has hands, feet, lots of blue fur, a few facial features, a ready smile, and a relentlessly optimistic attitude. He finds a flyer advertising a reward for finding the “Peas of Kejick”–whatever they are–and returning them to the King. That’s enough for Frasse. He’s off. While Frasse might not be the brightest tribble in the grain bin, and his conversational and interpersonal skills leave a little to be desired, he is strong, he can climb, he is determined and friendly. Besides, his lack of social skills are more than made up for by his friend, Gurra, the other major character here. Gurra is vaguely reptilian, very intelligent, can speak well and relate to people, has powerful feet-but no arms! Once Frasse gets him out of a tight spot Gurra agrees to join him on the adventure, and the two seek information, inventory objects, and transportation. As you can surmise, they sometimes must work together to solve the dilemmas in which they find themselves.

I’ll admit I didn’t get all the way through the game without a {little} reference to a walkthrough. The puzzles are well thought out, and for the most part relate to the story very well. Some of the more obscure left me scratching my head. It’s always a balance of too easy/too hard with these things, and I think Mr. Peterson strikes just the right balance. The characters are great. I liked the humanoids. They were all a little strange, but that’s comfortable for me. There were also a variety of talking animals and mythological beings in a nice mix. There are links to some reviews posted at Frasse’s website which talk about the gameplay in detail. I’ll just say I found the interface easy and innovative.

Contrary to the warning from that one review, I didn’t find any part of the game particularly violent. Young children could enjoy it without trauma, as long as Mom and Dad explain a bit about the end, and how acting in self-defense is sometimes necessary. The imagery and graphics were splendid. I’m not a techie, so I won’t go into lots of details, but this was developed using the Sludge game engine, and I like the look of all their games. The developer’s artwork and colors are top-notch. I really got a sense of the characters and their environments. I particularly enjoyed my time in the cave, although I spent a lot of time in there…and I mean a lot. The synthesized music is upbeat, and fits the environments. I would suggest, if you play, that you try to either talk to or eat everything and everyone you come across, using both character’s mouths. (You are permitted to either eat or talk, depending upon the story at that point). There are some hilarious moments to be had this way. And that brings me to the story, always my favorite part of adventure games. On one level, Frasse is sort of an ordinary adventure quest with many familiar game elements. On the other, it’s wacky and offbeat in some entertaining and surprising ways. Play it. And don’t believe any of the reviews, including this one!

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