One of the game I bought from Steam during the last XMas sale was Emerald City Confidential (alternate PlayFirst link). It’s a point-and-click adventure, and a good one at that. To describe it simply, it’s a noir take on the world of Oz, on what could had happened to the characters. For screencaps, check the Steam link or the PlayFirst link.
(Also, new poll —> )
It’s very well done. In all aspects it’s a traditional point-and-click game; click on item to examine/pick up the item, give the item to another character or use it on an obstacle to proceed, etc. Clicking on a character would bring up dialogue options, and while you don’t have to exercise all of the dialogue options, clicking all of them will give you more insight into the characters and their surrounding circumstances.
It’s a traditional point-and-click game, yes, but where this game shone was in its dialogue and world/setting. Usually, when I think of the noir genre, I imagine a greyish world, with high contrasting colours dominated by black. That is not the case with this game, as it’s quite colourful, if somewhat monotone in its shading. Where the noir feel existed was in its dialogues. It’s difficult to describe but it’s simply written such that the noir atmosphere breathed and lived through the dialogues. It helped a lot that all the dialogues were voiced, and the casting selection was perfect.
The premise of the story was your typical noir story: Petra is a private investigator in the country of Oz. One day a lady came to hire her services in locating a man; her fiance, the lady claimed. It was very fishy but the money was good, so Petra accepted. Only to find that it something sounded too easy and too good, then it really was. While Petra was reluctant to get dragged into what turned out to be a big conspiracy, it also seemed to be the only way she’d find an answer to a mystery she had spent countless years pursuing…
Most of the puzzle in the game was pretty easy, with regards to where to use certain items and such. My total play time was around 6 hours, and I think I only had to look up a guide 2-3 times. It’s a short game, but the sheer enjoyment I got from the game was difficult to describe… I wished it had lasted longer. It’s been a while since I played a game where I felt reluctant to quit the game, just because I wanted to know what happened next…
The story was good as well, and I didn’t manage to guess the answer to the big question until somewhere near the end. And the ending… let’s just say that it’s a befitting ending, in a noir setting. So no complaint from me there.
Recommended if you’re looking for old-style point-and-click with a reworked faery tale setting (in this case, the Wizard of Oz, which isn’t quite a faery tale, but well…)