Game Review: Richard and Alice
Pros:Great suspense story that'll hold your attention till the end; believable, immersive dialogue; disturbing, good quality music; Barney.
Cons:Awful and distracting sound effects; poorly drawn graphics; some flimsy gameplay design decisions.
Richard and Alice is not without its flaws, but its superb writing will captivate you. Claudio reviews.
From the start, you can tell that the makers of Richard and Alice took special care in its writing, and it excels in many of its narrative aspects.
Without giving too much away, you play as Richard, who is imprisoned during a weather disaster that has buried the world in a prolonged winter. There he meets an new inmate, Alice. They have a few conversations cell to cell, and is during these moments, when she tells him the story of how she got there, that we get to play as Alice in a series of flashbacks.
It’s not a surprise that one of the things Richard and Alice’s creators say they’re most proud of is the character of Barney, Alice’s 5 (and a half!) year-old son. He pulls the plot into unexpected places, and makes for some of the most memorable moments in the game. I was looking forward to every moment I got to share with him and Alice, surviving in the white wilderness, and found myself rushing through Richard’s scenes just to get back to each exciting new episode.
The game is a traditional point and click, where you collect items and combine them to solve problems. It gets the job done, and most of the time it doesn’t obstruct the flow of the plot. The puzzles make sense in the context of what’s going on, but unfortunately the solutions tend to be a little too ‘convenient’ and can throw you off the mood. Alice seems to find exactly what she needs in a space of three maps. Speaking of which, there was an odd use of the space in the maps where most of Alice’s action occurs. I didn’t know if this was a deliberate decision, but it was confusing as to whether this area was a town, or why the house your character stayed in was so close to the location of other groups that appear later in the game. This becomes more evident towards the end.
It’s a pity that the opportunity for a captivating atmosphere was missed because of a poor choice of assets. The sound effects are distracting and repetitive, the art is uneven and unappealing, the few animations that exist are clumsy. The music deserves some praise as it contributes to the desolate mood of the game. The rest of the resources are very lacking.
Nevertheless, Richard and Alice‘s heart is big and its writing is superb. It hooks you into trying to figure out how those enigmatic characters ended up in this strange place, together, and you’ll stick to the end, overlooking its deficiencies, for this reason alone.