"A well made adventure with mostly enjoyable puzzles and a distinct, goofy personality that deserves your attention. Donít let the silly title or the cel-shaded look fool you."
Runaway: The Dream of the Turtle for the DS is pretty much a direct port from the PC version. And what do you know: my superior Ė who has the uncanny knack for effortlessly articulating his thoughts in such an eloquent manner Ė reviewed it earlier this year. Now take a look at it and go away.
Read it? Then letís continue.
Having played through the game on the DS, I can say that all of what he said still applies. Itís still a point-and-click adventure, and it still centres on our dashing protagonist, Brian Basco. Brian is off holidaying with his girlfriend Gina when a plane crash separates the pair Ė the scruffily handsome bloke nobly shoving his love out of the plane with the only parachute before they hit the ground, naturally. Regaining consciousness, Brian starts his search for his girl, only to come across military camps, hostile pirates, an alcoholic lemur, and just maybe some aliens from the planet Trantor. Thereís no way around it Ė Runaway rarely, if ever, takes itself seriously Ė but behind all that silly hit-or-miss humour is a competent adventure title.
With the light-hearted tone coupled with a cute cartoony look, you could understandably mistake the game to be a breeze, but thatís far from the case. Puzzles are generally logical and well thought out that often have you improvising using items from your inventory. A basic example of this involves you cutting up firewood with an axe to make chopsticks. From time to time, though, youíll end up resorting to an awful amount of poking, whether it be in hope that you can find something from your surroundings that holds the key for you to progress, or in hope that something in your inventory will magically solve the puzzle in front of your eyes. This probably shouldnít be a problem for adventure enthusiasts, who are used to this sort of thing by now (in fact, the game might be a little easier by their devilishly high standards), but the slightly tricky difficulty level is perhaps a little misleading to those who judge the game by its cover.
No worries, though, because youíre not alone. You see, in a neat little twist, Brian can think for himself rather than act as your puppet. Not long ago, I played a little Monkey Island 2. Having to give orders to Mr. Threepwood for each mundane action, no matter how obvious they were, didnít really bother me, but Runaway has now surely spoilt me by letting Brian help me out. For example, Brian makes a mental note after I find some duct tape deep into the game. Just moments later, when I make it clear that I want to attach something onto a surveillance camera, my new buddy automatically uses the duct tape from the inventory to stick it on. Another instance saw Brian loading my makeshift catapult with ammunition himself in the form of rocks once I finished crafting the mechanism.
But if you read the PC review, none of this is all that new. More importantly, how does the DS version hold up? Pretty well, actually. The childish yet charming cartoon visuals havenít lost much of its appeal, even if the game looks far superior on the PC. Furthermore, the DS version comes with a couple of little quirks of its own. Not surprisingly, it utilises the dual-screen functionality of the DS, with the bottom screen often used for looking at your inventory or selecting dialogue. The game also lets you zoom in on your surroundings, which is welcome given that the size of the screens isnít all that big on the DS. And moving Brian and examining the environment is more or less a piece of cake with your stylus Ė itís as simple as tapping the touch screen.
What we have here is a well made adventure with mostly enjoyable puzzles and a distinct, goofy personality that deserves your attention. That said, the changes for the DS version are far from significant enough to warrant a definitive recommendation over the PC version. Instead, which one you should get will ultimately boil down to what youíre looking for. If you want to be playing the game on the road Ė and it will last a fair amount of time, as youíll be clocking hours in double figures, working your way through the six chapters Ė then itís a no-brainer, while the PC version offers better overall presentation. Either way, though, Runaway: The Dream of the Turtle is worth checking out. Donít let the silly title or the cel-shaded look fool you.
Freelance review by Freelance Contributor (October 31, 2008)
This contribution was provided by a writer who is no longer active on the site.
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