From The Adventure Gamer
Written by Alfred n the Fettuc
Last week we left our dashing protagonist, Brad, alone in a damp cave with only a paperclip to his name. Now is the time to explore a fantastic cave network with I imagine what can only be a deliciously clever suite of interconnected puzzles…
|Fantastic adventures await!|
If only I was able to get out of this cave first. I look around and find some kind of seaweed under the huge rock on my right. Then I try to go through what I assumed was an exit in the upper left of the screen but with no success. I try to push and pull and interact in any way with the huge rock, the weed and the paperclip but to no avail. I scan the room once more and find a stone button in the wall (which is obvious once you’ve spotted it). The room starts to rumble!
|Cave in! Well, I guess I’m dead. No use continuing to play the game.|
Unfortunately, Brad survives the cave in and the door on the left opens. Not the rock on the right which might have made more sense but whatever. Going through the exit brings me to another cave. I find a suspicious-looking rock on the ground which I pocket because why not. The cave corridor scrolls on the left to another opening on the north wall which leads to… a wishing well!!!
|Out of order… figures…|
I try to throw a rock in the well, as well as my paperclip and my weed but nothing happens. I go back to the corridor… and I find more rocks that I can take!
|Basalt? Dolerite? Andesite? Anyway, another rock for my collection. Score!|
With my pockets full of more rocks, I keep going on the left of the corridor and find another exit at the end… South of this corridor, I find another corridor that looks exactly the same! Joy! It’s time to get ye olde pen and paper to map the place. A few steps east of the new corridor brings me in front of some kind of mud monster. He looks completely desperate, his eyes and mouth seemingly locked in a perpetual mute scream.
|Sorry, buddy, nothing personal, but you’ll probably see me again and you won’t like it.|
I leave the monster behind and find another door that leads me to some kind of monk meditating by bashing rocks together in what appears to be an enterprise called “Rock Bashers Meditators Inc.”
|Spot-on company name, dude.|
Talking to the monk achieves nothing. However, giving him a rock seems to give me a thumbs up. That’s about it though. Nothing more happens. I give him two more rocks and it dawns on me : the painting behind the monk changes with each rock, removing one rock at a time from the painting.
|Not really obvious, but there is one less middle rock and one less right rock.|
So I’m guessing I’ll have to bring enough rocks to the monk for him to be happy. I can’t see how many rocks I need but I can see there is three kinds of rocks : a small round one, an oblong one and a big black one. That’s a fetch quest, guys! And what a fetch ques: get at least ten rocks of different sizes. Yay! I go back to the corridors and start snooping around.
|Because nothing spells magic as well as looking for
a dozen similar looking rocks in a few non-descript corridors…
Looking for rocks, I stumble into a third corridor which is barred in the middle by a neverending rock fall. I try to make Brad go under the rocks falling but he stubbornly refuses to run to his death. In another corridor, I find a gold coin on the ground but can’t seem to pick it up. Is there any reason for that? Is the coin too deeply stuck into the ground? Maybe my paperclip would help me? Then I realise my inventory is full of various rocks.
|Oh my. What a nice collection of various and funny items.|
Because what would make the most boring fetch quest in existence even more infuriating? Add a limit to inventory space! Yay! This is the final proof for me that the Enchantia designers hate video games, players, and human beings in general. I think maybe it’s not obvious enough so you have to imagine the whole thing is still accompanied by the same boring music since the title screen (and no, I won’t mute it, I want to appreciate all that this wonderful game has to offer).
|Do you know my own company : Monk Head Bashers Inc.?|
I give a few more rocks to the monk (I realise that I need four of each rock, which amounts to a minimum of twelve items, with an inventory limited to ten, which already contains my paperclip and my seaweed: I hate you, game). I think that with every trip near the mud monster, I’m looking more and more desperate and we’re starting to look alike.
Continuing my rock-filled exploration, I go back to the gold coin and hungrily grab it. I find another strange room containing a huge rock (no kidding), a plank and what seems to be a magnet stuck where I can’t reach it.
|Well my all-seeing “look” function tells me it’s a magnet,
if it weren’t for it, it’d look like a nondescript red ball.
I put the plank on the rock to create an artisanal swing. I try jumping on it (there is even an arrow appearing when I select the jump option while standing on the swing, it has to mean SOMETHING right?). I try throwing rocks at it. Nothing happens. I guess I have to find something else, because even though throwing a rock or jumping would OBVIOUSLY work here, we’re still stuck by adventure game logic.
|Nope, Brad, you have to do exactly what the developer wants. No improv here.|
I find two other rooms in the cave labyrinth. These two look alike. In one there are three holes in the wall. Looking in them show me the picture of a small weird rock-like creature which exits from another hole and flees. I’m guessing I have to put something in the holes to lock the creature in but the rocks or the weed don’t work.
|OK, I was being polite there, but I admit it looks more like a turd than a rock.|
The other room has only one hole in the wall and looking in it tells me there is some kind of greyish wire coil stuck in it. Maybe if it’s iron wire I can get it with a magnet? I’m finally starting to make some progress here. The corner of the room also holds a computer… yep. You read it right. No typo there. This is a perfectly functioning computer screen which appears to be lit, in working order and showing some kind of DOS input command.
|Take the damn thing and don’t ask questions, Brad.|
Having finally found enough rocks, I go back to my favorite monk and give him the rest of this precious loot. He gives me… a thingy… like… OK, I know the idea of the game is to avoid any and all dialogue but… come on… What is this thing?
|A computer mouse? An urchin on a string? A spiky yo-yo?|
Ok, I’m guessing the thingy will help me get one of the items I need to catch somewhere, but before trying that I go back to the well and try throwing the coin in it… Well it doesn’t work, but what did you expect? There is a out-of-order sign on it!
|Looking for the “Make a wish” hotline number.|
I go back to the room with the little poop monsters in order to try my urchin on a string in one of the holes, maybe it’ll help me catch one but I just receive a thumbs down for my idea. However, looking in the different holes in the wall makes me realise I missed the bottom right one in which I find… a tree branch!
|At least it’s less stupid than finding a computer screen.|
I try different things with the tree branch including shoving it in the holes to catch the little monsters but it doesn’t work. However, mixing it with the seaweed seems to create some kind of trap! I try a lot of things with the trap but nothing allows me to do anything with the little monsters so I move on.
This is when I enter the phase that each and every adventure gamer know : the desperation on trying anything on everything? Well, sometimes you try something so ridiculously impossible, so irremediably stupid, so ludicrously unthinkable that it might just work. You know the swing I made with the plank in the magnet room? Well it turns out (and I insist again that your inventory is literally filled with HUGE ROCKS) that you have to stand on the plank and throw… the computer screen on the other end to make the jump.
|A minute of silence for the developers please.|
I mean, I’m familiar with adventure game logic. Sometimes you have to follow the very weird logic of the developers and you have to do something that’s really illogical to progress. It’s part of our beloved genre and it’s okay most of the time. But this one is especially infuriating. You are in a situation where literally ANYTHING around you could be thrown on the plank. You have six rocks in your inventory. You have a jump function. The computer screen is a stupid item that doesn’t make sense in the fantasy universe we’re in. And it works? I have to admit I came pretty close to throwing my own computer on the ground myself.
But back on track. I know have a magnet in my possession! Another item that doesn’t make a lot of sense in this universe but I’ll stop keeping track of that and just roll with it. After all, it never shocked me before in Monkey Island or Simon the Sorcerer so I’ll try not to overwhelm this game with gratuitous criticism. It does a perfectly fine job on its own.
Going back to the hole with the iron wire in it, I try to get it with the magnet but it doesn’t work. You have to mix the magnet with the urchin on a string for it to work.
|So I’m guessing the thingy was a sticky hand toy after all!
Thanks for the great gift, rock basher monk!
Now that I finally have the iron wire, it’s time to go and viciously slash the mud monster in half as I suspected. I go back to the place where the poor thing endlessly appears and disappears and attach the iron wire between the two knots. Maybe that will at least free the monster of his misery.
|Nope. Just cut a piece out of him. Well… sorry pal, I tried…|
I pocket the mud and try adding it to my trap… it works! Now I have what seems to be a perfect trap to catch poop monsters. As you can see in my inventory.
|Well that or the pixel artist vomited on his keyboard for this drawing.|
I then go back to the room with the little poop monsters in it and spend very long minutes trying everything. I try to attach the trap to the hole, to insert the trap in the hole, to throw the trap, to unlock the hole with the trap… why oh why did they have to put so many “use” commands? Nothing works. I realise I can interact with the poop monster itself if I’m fast enough and go near it before it flees but it doesn’t work either. Time to do another run around the caves and see what I missed.
|And now, for something completely unrelated…|
Okay. I hate you game. I hate you so much. During the time I was desperately trying to do something with the trap I made with all the items I found (you know, as in a puzzle chain?) it appears that something or someone decided to fix the well and remove the “out of order” sign. I hate when games do that. You have to realise that the well room is far away from the rest of the maze and that you have absolutely no reason to guess something has changed here. You just have to go there randomly and realise that the well is now back in order. Would it be so hard to make it logical? I don’t know, why don’t you find the coin in the mud monster for example? It would make sense that finding the gold coin at this moment would make you want go back to the well to try it out, but no. You’re just supposed to search every room every ten minutes or so just to check something hasn’t randomly changed somewhere… sigh… for now it’s no big deal because you have only access to small spaces at a time, but imagine if the structure of the game suddenly opens up and I find myself with twenty or thirty rooms at my disposal? I shudder just thinking about it.
But moving on. I throw my gold coin into the well and a guy in a tux appears. He offers me riches, women or a safety helmet. I’m guessing only the helmet will work but I try the rest of the options anyway. The money crushes Brad under its weight, while the woman reveals herself to be some kind of naughty granny.
|False advertising goes a long way. Then again
the back of Enchantia box describes the game as “magical”
I grab my new safety helmet and go directly to the neverending rock falls to try it out. Wearing the helmet allows me to safely cross the obstacle which kind of surprised me given how logical it is.
|Considering the size of the boulders, I wouldn’t try that even with a safety helmet on…|
The last rock ends up on my head and breaks my helmet in two, which might mean I can’t go back. So what about the little poop monsters then? Were they useless? Am I in a dead end? I guess we’ll see that soon enough. I enter what I hope is the last room of the caves and find a big bucket on a rope which seems to be a way out.
|Light at last!|
Entering the bucket doesn’t seem to do anything, but a sign on the wall seems to say that monsters are welcome but not humans. I realise it’s time to use my trap, which is not a trap at all but some kind of monster disguise made of mud and leaves.
|The icon in my inventory makes more sense now… sorry pixel artist!|
The bucket is hoisted in the well and I meet my savior. He/she seems very happy to see me.
But when he tries to kiss me, the disguise wears off and he flees in terror. I’m finally out of these dreaded caves and it’s time to wrap up our play session! See you next time for another slice of magical adventures in the wonderful land of Enchantia!!!
Session time : 1h 30 minutes
Total time : 2h 15 minutes
Score : 184
Percentage complete : 38%