I spent a lot of time this week on a L4D2 bender (it happens), but I did manage to squeeze in Richard and Alice, a wonderful, albeit short, story-driven point and click adventure. This game is essentially the story of two journeys through a world ravaged by a sudden and neverending snowy winter. You play as both Richard and Alice, who meet through adjoining cells in a prison at the beginning of the game. Their only company is each other, and Richard, having been imprisoned for longer than Alice, is eager to hear new stories. You are in charge of managing Richard’s present as well as Alice’s past, and the narrative of how both came to end up in the prison is slowly revealed.
For those of you who love narrative, this game will be a treat. The larger themes that the game deals with (environmental change, imprisonment, war, abuse, all of the usual goodies) are dealt with in a thoughtful manner through the stories of both Richard and Alice. However, those of you who are looking for engaging puzzles might be a little underwhelmed. Although the game presents a fair amount of adventure puzzles, such as opening doors with keys and combining items with other items, that’s where the complexity ends. Instead of diverting your attention to riddles that involve some thought, the game focuses on telling you a tale filled with standard yet heavy themes.
Those who are nitpicky about pixel art might also be a little irritated. The game’s art manages to give enough information to make it playable, but the lack of detail, movement, and the inclusion of some sketchy final choices (I’m not sure what is going on with Alice’s legs) seem to fail the feeling of the story.
All in all, if you like a well-told narrative, this is a game worth playing. If you’re super picky about art or looking for engaging puzzles, I would stay away.