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Despite the fact that most of the television adverts seem to be positioning the Nintendo DS as an adult hand-held console many of the games are aimed at the child or casual gamer. Having struggled to find something that might require a few brain cells to play I was intrigued by Runaway: The Dream of the Turtle. This point-and-click adventure stems from a critically acclaimed PC game series. With that kind of pedigree I figured it was worth a look.
You play the game in the guise of Brian Basco, a trendy looking science whiz who is searching for his girlfriend Gina after their plane crashes on an Hawaiian island. As with traditional point-and-click adventures you have to solve puzzles and talk to the locals to try and solve the mystery and find Gina.
I'm not sure I have the right kind of mind-set for this game.
I'm not sure I have the right kind of mind-set for this game, while I was happy enough searching the crash site for strange items to pick up and put in my bag, a bottle of whiskey, a plastic puppy, a stick and some goggles; actually using the items to solve the puzzle was a little more tricky. Whoever would have known that by filling up the tank on the puppy with whiskey you could capture a pesky lemur who was trying to foil your escape? Took me a good half an hour to figure that one out!
When I finally managed to evade the lemur and figure out how to cross the ropey looking swing bridge I successfully completed the first chapter and was rewarded with a pretty impressive cut away sequence. I was quite surprised that the graphics could be so good on such a small screen. Of course as is usually the case the actual gaming screens aren't quite as good as the cutaways. It's here that I think the game suffers a little from the limiting aspect of the console. Whereas on a PC developers can take advantage of a high resolution graphics card and a variety of controls, on the DS you're pretty much limited by the low-res small screen and the stylus. I found that if I didn't have the lighting just right I struggled to make out the detail on the screen, and when you're expected to uncover all manner of strange items you really need to be able to see them!
I'll share a little guilty secret with you here.
I think point-and-click fans who are willing to forgive the clunky graphics will enjoy this game. As for me? I don't think I have the brain power or the patience to finish it I'm afraid. I became more and more frustrated by the fact that the ‘puzzles' have to be solved in the right order, a cupboard that appeared to be empty suddenly contained some anti-slip spray only after I'd tried to climb a slippery rock. In fact I'll share a little guilty secret with you here, in order to complete the first level I had to look up a cheat's guide on the Internet!
With so many different perspectives it can be hard to know where to start - a little like walking into a crowded pub. Sorry about that.
But so far we've not found a way to streamline our review output - there's basically too much of it. So, rather than dilute things for newcomers we have decided to live with the hubbub while helping new readers find the columnists they will enjoy.
Our columnists each focus on a particular perspective and fall into one of the following types of gamers: