Filled with mystery, humor, and suspense, and brought to life in rich 3D-animation, AR-K is a point-and-click story game with a twist
User reviews: Mixed (20 reviews)
Release Date: Jul 21, 2014
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About This Game

AR-K is a classical point and click adventure with an updated twist.

Alicia Van Volish is a former cop and current journalism student who wakes up after a one-night stand with a terrible hangover and a lot of questions: How much did she drink? Did she really take that guy home with her? What was his name? And what, exactly, is the Golden Sphere, the mysterious object that seems the source of all Alicia’s woes?

System Requirements

PC
Mac
    Minimum:
    • OS: Windows 7
    • Processor: Intel Atom
    • Memory: 1 GB RAM
    • Hard Drive: 3300 MB available space
    Minimum:
    • Memory: 2 GB RAM
    • Hard Drive: 3300 MB available space
Helpful customer reviews
4.7 hrs on record
I felt compelled to write a review about this game because I have such mixed feelings about it. On the one hand, I think the story is wonderful--very unique and interesting with really good voice over work, especially for a kickstarter funded project. On the other hand, this game is so full of bugs that it is barely playable. I have just encountered a game-ruining bug in Chapter 2 that is going to require a complete restart. (Bugs are a really big problem because there is no way to save manually, the game just saves continuously so the only options are "start at the beginning" or "continue.") I just hope the developers will take the time to patch this game or find a way to remedy the bugs that ruin the plot because I think it has potential to be awesome. I'm going to give this a thumbs up because that's how hopeful I am. :)
Posted: October 12
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17 of 18 people (94%) found this review helpful
2.8 hrs on record
*Update: I have just been able to finish chapter one, so I've decided to update my review*

Having just finished chapter 1, I can say I am pretty happy with this game. If you enjoy older style Point and Click adventure games then this is likely up your alley. It seems very much an homage to the Monkey Island games. I can't directly compare the two, but it has some puzzles very similar to some in those games and even a direct reference in the dialogue at one point. I will say that in comparing it to that, it is very much in the older style point and click games. If vague clues, and running around just trying to combine every item with every other item, or trying to interact every item with every interactable part of the world isn't your thing then you may not enjoy the game.

My only real compaints would be it's a tad short, but I've yet to play chapter 2 which is also included so we'll see what that adds to the playtime. As well as mentioned in my original review, that I would of prefered a way to skip through dialogue with the mouse, instead of having to use the escape key. As well as the dialgue ending up being a little hokey at times, with humor being slightly heavy handed. There are still some technical issues I'd run into, the occassional game freeze with certain interactions, the sound sometimes skips or repeats itself or animations could be a little funky but if none of that is deal breaking, i'd say the game is definately an enjoyable experience.

As a footnote, I'd like to say a thank you to dev team. One of them had been in contact with me the past couple of days, taking information from me and giving me updates on fixes they had been working on that pertained to my issues. He found the issue with my anti-virus and the games engine, that was causing all the crash issues I was having and got me a workaround so I was able to play. Any dev team willing to help out the playerbase like that deserves recognition.

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Keeping my original post here, though most technical issues are no longer appliciable. Ended up being an issue with my anti-virus and the Unity3D engine.

*Update: One of the devs has been in contact with me, taken information from me on my issues and said they will be working on trying to fix what they can as soon as possible.*

Wish I could recommend this game, but as it currently stands for myself I cant. When it actually works, its a pretty fun retro style point and click adventure. The story seems interesting, the graphic styling is pretty good. Solving things so far hasn't been too over the top as far as I've been able to play. The only real non technical complaints I'd have for the game is the inability to skip dialogue without having to use the escape key, I prefer to play these types of games with only the mouse, so it's a little bit of a pain. As well as the writing being a little hokey, tries a little too hard to inject humor and it falls flat at times.

But when it works is not very often, between the game straight up crashing or freezing during interactions. Or the inventory UI becoming totally uninteractable without having to quit out of the game and then restart it, trying to get anything done is super frustrating when almost the entirety of the game is randomly trying to interact objects with things in the environment and its a crap shoot on whether or not the game is going to just freeze or crash every time you do. If they can fix these glaring technical issues, and the game is actually playable I'd be willing to update my review.
Posted: July 21
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13 of 14 people (93%) found this review helpful
7.3 hrs on record
As of writing this review, acts 1 and 2 are available.

AR-K is a point and click adventure game starring Alicia, a young journalism student living on a space station. She was barred from her dream career as a police officer after being framed for a crime that she barely even understands, and when she finally decides to move on with her life, the past rears its ugly head again. So she's on a mission to figure out what's going on, clear her name and hopefully pass a class taught by a professor who hates her. Just another day in the life of a college student.

This is very much a point-and-click in the classic style, with dialogue and inventory puzzles. There's no combat, and your character can't die.

I wouldn't call it a comedy game, but there are a lot of jokes here, and thankfully most of them hold up. Not a huge fan of the whole "Alicia hates the ex-girlfriend of a guy she doesn't even like that much with an unholy passion" angle, but otherwise I did find myself smiling a lot throughout. The addition of the fourth-wall-breaking narrator in the second act was a bit jarring at first, but I really enjoyed the interplay between the two as the game continued. Most of the characters are silly archetypes of the various characters you'd expect to see in a college-themed story, but with a bit of a sci-fi twist to them. The game is fully voiced and the voice acting ranges from "fine" to "excellent".

I've encountered a few bugs so far, but the developer has been excellent about working to address the problems that I've had so I expect that on that front the game will only improve.
Posted: July 24
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9 of 10 people (90%) found this review helpful
7.5 hrs on record
I have just started playing the game, and I really liked it. There are a couple of bugs that should be fixed, but I like the story, the voices are really superb in the English version (I don't know the other languages, if any). I also believe that characters are well designed and graphics are good too, specially taking into account that, as far as I know this is an Indie company, that was able to fund rasing through Kickstarter.
Finally, I think that price compared to the number of hours I think that on average takes completing the game is a good value deal.
Posted: July 22
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18 of 27 people (67%) found this review helpful
1.4 hrs on record
In brief: It's hard to recommend the game in its current state, but at the moment it's just too buggy to give a thumbs up to.

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 the numerous problems with the game - most of which can hopefully be fixed down the line.

The first and most obvious issue is that it's a rather buggy game. More than once I was left quite literally stuck, unable to do anything besides quit the game entirely. All I did was order a can of cola! There's other glitches as well, but that's the one that, ironically, left a bad taste in my mouth.

The next problem is that the first episode doesn't do a very good job of establishing the premise of the game. 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.

My final 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 would have worked much better here.

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. And unusually for an adventure game I didn't notice any pauses inbetween lines of dialogue, which gives the game a LOT of points.

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.

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. I'll definitely keep my eye on it, but as of right now, I can't honestly recommend this in its current state.

EDIT: One more bad thing. Taking a screenshot with the F12 button will skip whatever cutscene you happen to be playing at the time. I had fun missing out on an important plot-giving cutscene discovering that. LEARN FROM MY MISTAKES, PEOPLE!
Posted: July 23
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10 of 17 people (59%) found this review helpful
3.4 hrs on record
I've played through this for about 2 hours so far. But I would like to play more if I have time, I like it. By the way if you don't already know, it was actually funded by a kick-starter campaign and has been available from other stores for some time already. Also the game is episodic and at the moment only a couple of episodes are playable.

http://youtu.be/w4WgrRXf1WM
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mm2FsM7M180
The game-play is pretty typical of classic point and click adventures. Interact with objects and characters, get a description or begin a conversation, pick up certain objects and figure out where they are used. I took a while to figure out how to play this game. I overlooked the 'how to play option' in the menu so that may not have helped. I often spent a lot of time scouring over areas over and over again trying to figure out what to do next. Often I couldn't find obvious clues and resorted a lot to just randomly attempting to use every item I had on every object or person that I could find. The protagonist rubbed it in by frequently making sarcastic remarks like 'or we could try something that works' lol. I eventually had to refer to a walk-through. I don't really think this can be considered a problem with the game. I think it's very typical and just the nature of titles in this Genre.

I like how the game looks, I think it is well done. I like the dialogue, it's little naughty and sometimes there are some pretty amusing lines. I also think that the voice acting itself is good. The game brings back fond memories of Full Throttle and the Grim Fandango.

Any gripes have about this game aren't really a big deal, just stuff like not being able to skip dialogue that you have already heard. I didn't come across anything to really dislike this game for. I certainly think it's worth a try especially if you are a fan of these sort of games.

Click here for more videos =)
Posted: July 21
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2 of 2 people (100%) found this review helpful
0.8 hrs on record
I really like this game. However it continually has fatal crashes, in areas where it hasn't saved progress, where large dialogue trees have to be explored - which can't be skipped. No matter how much I like the premise, it is tedious and frustrating. I cannot recommend the game as it stands. It is buggy to the point it is unplayable, and should never have been released in this state. The lack of ability to skip speech only compounds the frustration - especially after your fourth time through the same long winded conversation.

Fix the game, I will review it based on the gameplay, as it is - avoid until the developer addresses these issues. Don't waste your money on an unplayable title and don't support developers who ignore such serious problems.
Posted: September 13
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7 of 13 people (54%) found this review helpful
2.3 hrs on record
I must mention that i kept an eye on this game ever since its kickstarter campaign project was successfully funded with over $100k. Sadly, i am verry disappointed.

First of all, AR-K is far away from being a finished game. It should definitely be released as an early-acces game. It's an episodic point-and-click adventure, and so far only 2 episodes are available out of 4. I knew about it, but imagine my surprise when i didn't see any warning on the game's store page underlining that customers will only be able to play half of the game at the moment. Leaving that behind - even these two episodes are not completely finished. There are quite a few bugs one will encounter. Probably the first one you'll experience is the one when your game will freeze after buying a can of cola, which is actually a must do objective in order to continue the episode. There are no direct hints in the game so you'll have to experiment before being able to continue further. Still, this is not the best idea because later you'll find out that some quest items can be used wrongly. And guess what ? No, you won't be able to get that item again, and no, you won't be able to load an earlier saved game either, since there is no option for it. You'll just have to start from the beggining. Another problem is playing the game in fullscreen. The game launcher gives only one resolution option, the maximum one, which in my case is 1920x1080. If you play it in window mode you'll be fine, but if you choose to play in full screen - it will not scale up correctly and you'll also get a blurred picture as a bonus. Did i mention that steam interface is not working also ? So no taking screenshot cause F12 won't work either, and if you need to chat with someonw - prepare to switch tasks... Finally, most of the achievements are also broken, some you'll get, others you won't, so don't even bother.

The story will intrigue you and will keep you wanting more with every step you advance through the game. It's a pitty i had to negatively review this game, since it has a great potential. Even if graphics are not the best by far, AR-K has absolutely outstanding voice acting. I just felt in love with it. And the main character...oh gosh...she's so funny. I still can't decide what i liked more: her jokes or her ♥♥♥. I guess i like them both in the same measure. That being said, sadly, i can't recommend to purchase it in its current state. Playing AR-K at this point is more a struggle than a pleasure. I've heard that the developer is giving individual fixed for people who had problems with the game, but that's not the way this is supposed to work. As far as for updates - none were made official, not a single patch. I will definitely get back on it later and see if any improvements were made hoping that in the near future i'll be able to play it as a trully finished and polished game, and that it won't be just another game collecting dust in my collection.
Posted: August 1
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1 of 2 people (50%) found this review helpful
2.0 hrs on record
This game takes you back to the old Sierra Online games like the Leisure Suit Larry games. Sadly though, the game also has the graphical features of those (extremely) old Sierra Online games. This while the publisher had a kickstarter campaign to overhaul the graphics (think I don't wanna see how bad they were in the original 1st episode of the game :D).

When I look at the game itself it TRIES to be funny, but it feels extremely forced and therefor becomes ALL BUT funny :( This is a real let down, certainly when you look at the awesome and funny trailers for the game here on the store and the greenlight campaign.

Gameplay is also an issue. It's an adventure game with point & click features (it's not a hidden object game!), but most of the time you just move your mouse over the screen in the hope that the cursor changes form so you can do something. With that, the adventure is set in the distant future, but there's not even a journal in the game. You 'pick up' your quests, your objectives are told right away, but you don't have a notepad of any kind to look back what you have to do. This is the main feature that made me turn away from the game. I mean, I'm not playing a game like Morrowind (release around 2001) where you have to keep track of your objectives by physical pen & paper.

In short, this game is not worth the €10 asked for it. Better wait till it drops dramatically in price or is dumped in a bundle if you're REAL curious about it...
Posted: July 29
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0 of 2 people (0%) found this review helpful
1.4 hrs on record
It is a traditional point and click adventure and I love those! The problem is with some pretty obscure puzzles and the bugs. I've frozen a few times and crashed a few others. The inventory has to be clicked multiple times to get out of it, but only sometimes. I've given up playing for the time being since crashing and freezing just make the game not much fun. Hopefully, a patch will fix these issues.
Posted: July 26
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4 of 15 people (27%) found this review helpful
0.7 hrs on record
I really wanted to see the good in this game, but as of right now I just can't play it anymore. There is no way I can even continue playing without checking the walkthrough without seeing what the heck I am supposed to do. The ones I don't get and look up all I can think is, "How the Hell was I supposed to figure this out?!". I do like the idea of the game, but as it stand right now, I just can't play it anymore.
Posted: July 22
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7 of 46 people (15%) found this review helpful
0.8 hrs on record
Really, Really, really bad.
Posted: July 21
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1.3 hrs on record
Enjoyable despite flaws

AR-K is a game developer's dream, finally Kickstarted into reality. But like many, there are some painful compromises. The game itself is a solid, enjoyable — at times, hilarious — point-and-click adventure game in the modern style, there are several issues that linger. Despite those issues however, I player through Chapter 1 in about an hour, and had fun.

Most glaringly, localization is an issue. Name structure and voice acting is inconsistent. On the other hand, the game is fully voiced — the player dialogue choices being the only exception. Also, some items don't update correctly, and require a restart. Some FMVs didn't end correctly and required a prompt.

As of Chapter 1, the logic puzzles are fairly starightforward, with small inventories reducing the need for much trial combining, which reduces a lot of the frustration. Alicia is snarky, and a moderately believable young adult protagonist, although she does suffer from Adventure Game Hero Syndrome — for an ex-cop, you sure commit a lot of misdemeanors!

If you liked The Longest Journey, or Deponia you'll probably like this. Here's hoping the rest of the episodes will be released, and as good.
Posted: August 6
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7.8 hrs on record
Until this game receives some MAJOR bug fixes, I cannot recommend it. It is probably somewhat telling that 0% of ALL the people who have played this have gotten the "complete episode 1" AND "complete episode 2" achievements! I have run into multiple bugs in both episodes and so am unable to finish the game. The funny thing is, I played the first installment before it was on steam and did not have this happen. It's great to have Steam achievements and trading cards, but if you cannot play the damn game to completion, it means nothing! Don't even get me started on the screen resolution problem...
Posted: August 3
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10.5 hrs on record
It's a pity to see how a game with potential gets ruined by the story designer.

Pros:
- the game looks good, although there are a few peoblems with the animation
- it's got a decent length for the price
- potentially interesting story

Cons
- boring gameplay. Chapter 1 is really bad, Chapter 2 improves a little, but...
- absurd, annoying puzzles (ex: how you get the information for the chat sheet, the CINCO letters, the way you use the mouse to scare Nuno - there is no crack in that door!!!)

Actually, the story would be acceptable, but the puzzles take out all the fun. They generally feel artificial and do little to improve the gameplay.
Posted: August 29
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9.2 hrs on record
It is with a heavy heart that I write this, as a kickstarter backer of the original game as well as an avid fan of adventure games.

AR-K originally on Kickstarter seemed like an ambitious project that had enough going for it that it should be amazing. Cases in point: dialogue by comics legend Greg Rucka and voice acting by Ash Sroka, aka Tali from Mass Effect. These two talents are without a doubt the biggest draws to the game; while you quickly get the sense that Rucka did not have a huge input on the story, or at least the puzzle logic behind the story and the characters, the dialogue and accompanying voice acting ranges from decent to great. Even protagonist Alicia's nemesis, Professor Reitherman, while written like a psychotic professor from hell, is capably acted, except for one glaring bit in Chapter One where it seems he was voiced by a different person.

That's about where the positives end, I fear.

From an adventure game standpoint, hell from a GAME standpoint, AR-K is riddled with bugs that hurt its chances. I've played AR-K Chapter One on two different machines, and on one, the screen did not properly resize itself to a proper widescreen format, letterboxing the game screen with black bars on top and bottom. Also, the game relies on autosaves and will not let you manually save. The maddening prospect of this is, if the game breaks on you (and it more than likely will in its current state), you have no way to revert to an older save to counteract the problem. You will have to either quit the program and reload it or start all over. The autosaves work fine in episodic narrative games like Telltale's Walking Dead series, but here its inclusion is terrible because there are no choices that influence the story. It is bad enough in checkpoint based FPS games, and here it only underscores the bugs.

I've had at least one game breaking bug per chapter playthrough; in Chapter One, an NPC was rendered un-interactable and I could not progress the story further. In Chapter Two, after a major cutscene, I did not obtain a vital new clue to help push the story along (a clue here meaning a talking point to discuss with other characters). In addition, I noticed a problem in Chapter Two where, after a while the game audio had a lot of crackles and pops that accumulated, making a 'play it in one' game impossible unless I played with no sound.

Steam achievements are in the game but more or less don't work. A great many on the global achievement list are sitting at 0%, including ones for just completing the game.

The interface feels super clunky. The inventory screen features no "Examine object" command or item descriptions of any kind. Asking NPCs about topics is convoluted; in addition to the normal dialogue window you have when you talk to them, you also drag 'conversation topic' icons from a list in your inventory to the NPC to ask them. It is better in Chapter Two when they gray out topics you no longer need to ask about, but the existence of this system is not interesting or helpful from a gameplay perspective.

Another problem is how sometimes the screen just goes dead and the only way to get it going again is to quit the game and restart it.

The puzzles are not well hinted or telegraphed well. A few clues in Chapter One may not have been translated properly, where an energy drink is described as 'corrosive' when what may have been meant was 'combustive'. Chapter Two feels very wide open and unguided, even though it consists of a handful of locations, some of which are redressed or enchanced settings from Chapter One. To its credit, the developers tried to improve the flow of hints in Chapter Two with the addition of an in game narrator that Alicia interacts with and, in a pinch, drops hints if you drag the clue topics over to him. I found often enough that asking the narrator was the only way to discern what my next move had to be, and even then the puzzle logic broke more often than not. Even though you're introduced to Alicia's evil professor at the start of Chapter Two, the puzzle that finally deals with him does not come up until the very end, and the reasoning and reward for doing it at all are not connected. Or another puzzle where you are trying to catch an animal with a trap... let us just say that the trap requires no bait but instead requires you to find a way to 'forcefully close the trap' after it has been sprung. Or story triggers that seem to have no rhyme or reason why they would happen, like Alicia's dog choosing one specific moment in Chapter Two to leave the apartment, even though nothing we did previously would make her leave (that said, the dog is really cute). A good puzzle gives feedback to help guide the player toward the solution; otherwise you're just playing twenty questions with a computer program. More often than not, this feedback is absent in AR-K. And a hotspot indicator? Not included.

Puzzles aside, let's get to the tone of the game; it is all over the place. It cannot decide if it wants to be The Longest Journey or Space Quest. If it is going for comedy, more often than not it falls flat on its face. Serious drama is offset against fourth wall breaking commentary by Alicia as well as the narrator, especially in Chapter Two. Again, I hold this less to Rucka and more with the game's basic design. Writers in games are oftentimes described as being hired guns during development, sometimes coming in after the story has been written by game designers and it's up to the writer proper to put flesh on the bones.

What could have been an interesting sci fi point and click adventure is a buggy mess propped up by good dialogue and voice acting. Props to Greg Rucka and Ash Srorka, but the developers need to at least fix the game's bugs. It never crashed on me, but what is in there makes the game hard to play and experience.
Posted: August 12
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