Adventure Gaming Unbound

September 5, 2007

Devotees of Yesterday’s Salad may remember a game that I recommended a while back called The Shivah. As the freshman effort of developer Dave Gilbert, The Shivah was an all-too-brief gem of an adventure game (in the mold of the classic adventure games by Sierra and Lucasarts) with an unusual premise: players helped a grumpy Rabbi solve a murder mystery. Although the graphics were unlikely to wow most gamers weaned on games like Tomb Raider Anniversary and Bioshock, they were clearly drawn with effort and care, and were bolstered by both enthusiastic voice acting and an engrossing plot.

Buoyed by the positive response from critics and buzz from the independent gaming community, Gilbert decided to jump head-first into game development, founding indie startup Wadjet Eye Games. The results of his efforts are the Blackwell Legacy, and its sequel Blackwell Unbound, which was just released yesterday.

The Blackwell Legacy follows the early (mis)adventures of Rosangela Blackwell, a young writer-come-medium, and her sarcastic spirit guide Joey Mallone, as they try to help troubled souls find their way out of this world (and to stop haunting the living). A kind of spiritual successor (no pun intended) to the Shivah, the Blackwell Legacy retained its predecessor’s strengths, such as well-developed characters and solid voice-acting, while improving on both the graphics and remedying the somewhat clunky user interface of the previous game. And as a further boon, it may qualify as the greatest creative endeavor to have been undertaken in a Starbucks’. Read the rest of this entry »