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Platform

Wii

 

Genre

Adventure

 

Publisher

Adventure Company / The Adventure Company

 

Developer

AWE Games

 

ESRB

T (Teen)

 

Released

February 25, 2008

 

 

‑ The story is very good – but how couldn’t it be, considering the source material is from one of the greatest mystery novelists ever

‑ Although not much more than mediocre, old-school Myst gamers may find it brings back memorable blast-from-the-past gaming memories

 

 

‑ While this may have been a celebrated title if it came out during the age of Myst’s dominance on the PC gaming charts, completely lost today’s gaming market

‑ And then there were none … as in none will be able to stay awake long enough to complete this sleep-inducing game

‑ Murderous graphics and play mechanics that should have stayed in 2005

 

 

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And Then There Were None

Score: 5.0 / 10

 

and then there were none          and then there were none

 

There was a time – around 1993 – when gamers couldn’t get enough of the point & click mystery adventure game. Myst was the biggest-selling game around on the PC. The 7th Guest and the Tex Murphy franchise were similar games in the genre. But that was then, and now, in 2008, that particular type of game has long been surpassed in its popularity, and PC gaming is no longer as relevant as it was in the early 1990s.

 

Somehow, however, there’s still a gaming developer and publisher that believes that the world is ready for a point & click mystery adventure game renaissance, because not once but twice in the last three years developer AWE Games and publisher DreamCatcher Interactive/The Adventure Company has released a game

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in the genre based on an Agatha Christie novel, And Then There Were None.

 

First released in 2005 on the PC and inexplicably again in 2008 on the Wii, And Then There Were None – especially on the Wii – proves why this past genre has become nonexistent in today’s gaming landscape. Your whole gaming experience is moving from screen to screen

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while pointing at items on-screen and collecting them for future use. There’s no seamless transition from each screen, like Myst, and although there’s little delay in the screen shift it’s still annoying; also aggravating is being blocked from accessing certain areas of the room by invisible walls. Or, instead of room exploring, when a character appears, you can attempt to interact with them in conversation or interaction – but if you haven’t progressed enough in the gameplay, many times you must wait for that conversation or interaction until later.

 

So it all boils down to move around environment, click on item/person, repeat. Although the puzzles can be somewhat challenging, it doesn’t completely make up for the lack of action for gamers. Thankfully, the story is enough to keep those who don’t mind a slow-paced and light-on-the-action gaming experience. Based on a famous Agatha Christie novel, mystery fans will probably enjoy the unraveling of And Then There Were None’s story – although anybody who’s already read the novel might not find any satisfaction playing, because they already know how the game’s possibly going to end, no matter what their gameplay choices are (there are four possible endings, so that’s the only surprise that awaits gamers).

 

Here’s the story: there’s a gathering of 10 strangers to an island-based estate home, who mysteriously found themselves on the guest list. Turns out they’re all there for a reason – to make retribution (with their own life) for the deaths in their respective pasts they have each caused. This is all told to them with a recording played at a dinner party. They then start to drop like flies, one after another, and there’s not much for the gamer to do except stand back and watch until the end, when one of those four endings can occur.

 

and then there were none          and then there were none

 

Older gamers will know who Agatha Christie is – one of the greatest mystery novelists ever. Younger gamers may not have ever heard her name mentioned, so for them, the most apt description of And Then There Were None’s story is to reference the grisly horror film series, Saw. Same idea: people collected together by a nefarious and unseen “host” to pay for past transgressions.

 

Gamers that the role of the 11th ‑ and completely uninvited – guest, who’s stuck on the island with the others, and tries to solve the mystery before he falls to the same fate as the others, who slowly pay their debt with their lives. Very good story, but it’s slow to unfurl, and no matter what a gamer does or how they “play” out the puzzle-solving, the guests will die, giving gamers a feeling of on-rails gameplay that doesn’t account or even seemingly care for their interaction (until the end of the game) to the degree most other games do – ironically, even on the one system that likes to immerse and get gamers interacting as much as possible.

 

One of the biggest mysteries is how the developers couldn’t get much more graphical quality out of the Wii, which admittedly can’t match the Xbox 360 or PS3, but at least a PC port could have had better animation than what’s in And Then There Were None.

 

The gamer’s doppelganger moves around not much more fluidly than a stick figure, something straight out of the first Resident Evil on the original PlayStation. Controls are awkward at best. Cut-scenes are better than that, but aren’t much better, although the voice acting is a step above, so at least they’re tolerable, especially as a tool to move along the very good story.

 

To justify the game’s appearance on the Wii, the developers have implemented the Wiimote into mundane activities: digging, opening doors and solving timed puzzles. If gamers having to twist their wrist to open each and every door in the mansion sounds like fun, then hey, And Then There Were None is exactly the party for them. For everybody else that wants to actually “play” a game, then they might want to look elsewhere.

 

Nintendo has given its gamers a game to keep them healthy with Wii Fit. Unintentionally, And Then There Were None has given them the perfect sleep-inducing game to follow a rigorous Wii Fit session. Only if a gamer has a point & click fondness a la Myst should seriously consider lacing up their gumshoes for And Then There Were None.

 

- Lee Cieniawa

lcieniawa@armchairempire.com

(July 22, 2008)

 

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