IMPORTANT - This game is half finished. Literally - only two of four episodes are done. The only reference I've seen to this is in other user reviews, so... yeah. Be aware of this.
In brief: An very patchy game with potential, and it's hard to argue with the price, but ultimately not recommended due to poor puzzle design and interface issues.
In boxers: Another Kickstarter project, AR-K scrapped past its $100,000 goal by promising to be an episodic sci-fi point-and-click adventure "with an updated twist". Sadly, that twist seems to be how unfinished the game feels - which hopefully will be fixed down the line.
You are in control of Alicia, former cop-in-training who was forced out of the academy when accused of stealing a mysterious golden sphere that she finds in her locker. Now in training as a journalist, she must uncover the great conspiracy surrounding the sphere and yadda yadda yadda. After she dresses and gets to class, of course, since she was up all night partying.
...the sad part? That synopsis does a better job of establishing things than the ACTUAL GAME. The introductory cutscene feels like it was cobbled together at the last minute, and the haphazard way Alicia's backstory is rammed down our throats in another cutscene some 30 seconds later doesn't help matters either. We're given no real introduction to this world or anyone in it before we're asked to care about some partygoing chick, and it takes quite a while for us to warm up to her... which really isn't ideal in an adventure game
The graphics aren't exactly amazing either. I know this isn't the biggest sin in the world - I've always said gameplay is the most important aspect of a game - but there's just something slightly off about the art style and it's incredibly hard to put my finger on. Maybe it's the character's proportions? I dunno. Have a skim through the game's screenshots and see for yourself.
Another nitpick is the interface, which I don't feel is particularly well explained. All you get is two screenshots with arrows pointing stuff out, but that's hardly going to sink in when you first see it, especially when it takes a good 10 minutes for you to start actually needing to use the information provided. A slightly more in-depth tutorial at the start of the game would have worked much better here... as would being able to access these 'how to play' images during the actual game rather than having to quit to the main menu every time you want to see them.
Speaking of the interface, there are things which are never explained that you need to use, and things that ARE explained which you can't use. For example: you'll need to use your dog to solve several puzzles, but it's never once made clear that you can actually select or use the dog for anything.
Also, there's supposedly a 'narrator' that can give you hints if you get stuck... but I couldn't find any trace of him in the first episode, despite his presence being mentioned in the tutorial. And that's a real shame, because you'll NEED hints - there are some very random puzzles in this game (like using the cola with the sewer? Where did THAT come from?) that make it far harder than it should be.
On the more positive side, the voicework is really good. The main character in particular is great, but everyone is generally of a higher calibre than I would expect for a game made by such a small team. The music, when it kicks in, is quite nice, and the story, once it gets going, is pretty entertaining. It's just such a shame you'll struggle to get to it, since it only really gets going about two-thirds through the first episode.
This is a game that, at the end of the day, still needs a lot of work. There's a lot of potential there, but the problems I've mentioned are big ones, and they really do get in the way of what I hope will eventually be a pretty decent game. It's hard to really recommend at the moment - but at least you won't have to pay a fortune to see what it's like for yourself.
*UPDATE* - This game has receive several updates since I wrote my original review, and will no doubt receive more - or at least, I hope it will. I'll try and update this review with each update.