Local gaming writer Geoff Burrows has ventured into the game development scene with his first offering being Among the Innocent. The game is a first person, old fashioned, point and click puzzler with a fair chunk of creepy vibes thrown into the mix.
As a side note, I have tried to avoid going into any depth about the story but I have to comment about the nature of the game. In what seems like a situation that is going to evolve into a deep and meaningful storyline, the player is left to extract context based on the emotions and feeling that they elicit from the surroundings. While a host of questions are asked, few and far between are answered in any concrete manner and I’d have to play the game at least a couple more times to try and understand how things are pieced together. Keeping this in mind, onwards!
We start off meeting the protagonist, one unfortunate Peter York, who managed to crash his motorcycle after an argument with his girlfriend. Following this, he somehow manages to get himself stuck on an abandoned farm with a landslide preventing his escape. After buttoning down for the night, Peter wakes up slightly dreary but nevertheless eager to remedy his somewhat unfortunate situation.
Having risen from a dilapidated couch following what could only have been a nightmare nap and finally realising that nothing was going to jump out of the dark corners, I set about playing with the supply of objects that can be moved around but really assist the game in no way. Barring the initial curiosity about everything movable, I have to question whether there are plans to make use of these random world objects or whether they are just for idle puzzlers to play with while they attempt to figure out the next step.
Speaking of puzzles, they are fairly fun and not mind blowingly difficult but they will provide you with a couple of moments where you wander around aimlessly trying to figure out what you missed. Other than that, the game follows a fairly logical flow and doesn’t leave you pandering about with no direction unlike other puzzle games. If you do get stuck though, the game provides a handy online hint page which I strongly advise against using. The game is short enough that given a few extra minutes of thought, you will be able to figure out your next step.
After making your way out of the farmhouse, you finally get a good look at the world and while the graphics are nothing special, everything possesses a certain attention to detail and I am a big fan of the lightning in particular which seem to add to the inherent uneasiness that the game exudes. There are a couple of things that could use ironing out, collision models in particular have the odd fantastic glitch where you cannot get around a certain object and the occasional model clips through another but it doesn’t adversely affect the gameplay in any way.
Having exposed yourself to the surroundings of the farm, you set about exploring and trying to piece together what exactly happened here. Throughout the game there are really sinister and dark undertones that just don’t make their way to the forefront as you would expect and almost leave you wondering whether they will be elaborated more on in a possible sequel. In fact, I really hope they are because final third of the game adds facets that are completely unexpected and don’t seem to fit in with the general theme. Were I not expecting the story to progress further in a number of games to follow, I could easily have written it off as being poorly written but I guess I cannot pass judgement too prematurely.
Overall, this is a entertaining and well put together game. The jumps in the storyline might leave a couple of people uninterested but anyone who enjoys old fashioned point and click puzzle games should give it a try.
Among The Innocent – A Stricken Tale Rating: 7/10
Check out the Among The Innocent website: A Stricken Tale