Richard and Alice are prisoners. Both their cells have a leather sofa and a state-of-the-art computer. But only Richard’s has a TV. Outside, the snow falls. It has done for some time. Elsewhere, they say, parts of the world have been rendered an inhospitable desert, the earth parched and cracked. People live in the zones now.
User reviews: Mostly Positive (221 reviews)
Release Date: Jun 5, 2014
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Recommended By Curators

"Just recently bought this game and I am so glad I did. Well written characters and utterly engrossing story."

Reviews

“Incredibly moving… A poignant, well-told tale, exploring themes of hope, despair and morality. And that’s not a thing you can say about enough games.”
Rock, Paper, Shotgun

“A quietly powerful tale about parenthood and survival in a frozen world.”
Edge

“A game like this lives on the quality of its script, and Denby and Raze have written a tender, human story.”
PC Gamer

Steam Greenlight

About This Game

Richard and Alice are prisoners. Both their cells have a leather sofa and a state-of-the-art computer. But only Richard’s has a TV.

Outside, the snow falls. It has done for some time. Elsewhere, they say, parts of the world have been rendered an inhospitable desert, the earth parched and cracked. People live in the zones now. The lucky ones, anyway.

Richard and Alice have secrets.

Created by Lewis Denby and Ashton Raze, whose games journalism credits include the likes of Eurogamer, Gamespot and the Telegraph, Richard & Alice is a riveting mystery story about family, desperation and the weather – all set to the beat of an indie adventure game.

System Requirements

    Minimum:
    • OS: Windows XP SP 3 / Vista / 7 / 8
    • Processor: 1 GHz processor
    • Memory: 512 MB RAM
    • Graphics: DirectX 9.0c compatible
    • DirectX: Version 9.0c
    • Hard Drive: 100 MB available space
Helpful customer reviews
16 of 18 people (89%) found this review helpful
3.7 hrs on record
Posted: February 22
Stunning and depressed story. I feel like I watch movie named "The Boy in the Striped Pajamas". Sadness along with beauty, what a perfect game like "To The Moon".
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9 of 9 people (100%) found this review helpful
3.1 hrs on record
Posted: January 13
An interestingly unique point and click game with 5 alternate endings, a sad story throughout and moderately easy puzzles. I enjoyed my playthrough.
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6 of 6 people (100%) found this review helpful
3.7 hrs on record
Posted: May 25
this games's similar to "To The Moon'' (point and click)
the world is in a post-apocalyptic state, where everyone is doing whatever it takes to survive.
you'll have to decide what to do or what not to do.
after all, every step you take might be a twist in your story.
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4 of 4 people (100%) found this review helpful
4.8 hrs on record
Posted: January 23
First I thought this was an RPG Maker game. It's nothing of the sort, so don't be mistaken due to the artstyle.

Owl Cave, the developing team, is clearly fond of old-school point n' click games, and this is exactly that! Honestly, there isn't much to it, as a game, to make it stand out. It doesn't have any interesting mechanic, or anything of the sort. It's visual and audio design is also very minimal.
Where it shines, however, is in its story! I've taken a few points to write about, but it's mostly about how they could have made it more of a game, and also overcome the downsides of old point n' clicks, with their very sluggish movement, and some frustrating puzzle design.

This game avoids most of that, though, using the puzzles merely to get you more into the story. I will not, of course, review the story, and I'll avoid spoilers, but I'm very positive on it, overall.


Presentation
This is, by far, the weakest aspect of the game!
I've seen some people disappointed, claiming it's "MSPaint Graphics". It's not that bad, for sure. But you can definitely understand that reaction. It has a very low resolution, and also simple and outdated tile sets. The structures' perspective is also a bit off...
All in all, this is not something you'll play for sight-seeing in the least. However, it has just enough to carry the story, and giving each scene the right atmosphere, in this barren and anarchic world.

Unfortunately, it's very static, which is okay, but I would have liked it not to have been in one particular aspect: the character portraits. They're always the same! I realize that it was perhaps more work than it warranted, but it was a chance to add a lot of personality into the game, as I see it. Just having the portraits be in sync with their tone. Heh, it's not very important, but could have been better.

The music seems to be equally as low-fi, strangely enough. It's not 8 or 16 bit or anything like that, but it somehow feels... old? It's strange to describe it. But it's mostly ambience music and sound effects, complementing the visuals to set the stage for the dialog. I found it surprisingly fitting in the game.
Everything loops well and nothing felt out of place.

There is no voice-acting.

I appreciated the writting quite a lot! You can understand the tone in each character's line, and the dialogue options that they give you are always legitimate. I'll talk about this further ahead, but there are a few choices that will affect the endings, although you may not initially realize it.


General Structure
There are 2 main characters in Richard & Alice, unsurprisingly. You're both in a prison, and all you can do is talk to each other, in separated cells. Mostly,it's about you, Richard, listening to Alice's story, about how she got there.
The game alternates between the characters. The smallest chunk of the game is in the cells, where you play as Richard, speak to Alice, and solve some very minor puzzles. It also helps you understand the world around you a bit more.
The biggest chunk, is where you play as Alice and her son, Barney, following how she was "arrested".

The prison sections are mostly there to break up the pacing, which is surprisingly good! The game never felt tiresome or to drag on as a result.


Puzzles and Gameplay
The first thing you'll notice, is how sluggish the movement is. You shouldn't be unfamiliar with it, if you're used to point n' click games... it's always their sore spot!
This game is just the same. It's a bit awkward to move, and even to pick things up. You left click to use and right click to inspect. And that's basically all you need to know.
You can also advanced dialogue by clicking, skipping to the next line. There's a way to skip a scene entirely (scenes which you do not control) by holding SpaceBar -- This is never explained in the game...

You can always Save/Load at any time, which is great! There are a couple of bugs, sometimes, which can easily be fixed by simply reloading, without losing any progress.

There isn't much to the puzzles, honestly. It's mostly about exploring the scenes, collecting items, and then using them in the right place, or combining them. It's very standard in the genre. There isn't any pixel-hunting, and you'll generally be able to solve them rather quickly.
During most of the game, the areas are also fairly small, so every solution to a give puzzle is nearby, avoiding the slow walking that usually comes with these puzzles.
Unfortunately, there are 2 (maybe) scenes that have 3 areas you can visit and in those, you'll have to walk back and forth, very slowly, until you find the right items. That was a bit frustrating to me, as are most of point n' click games, but it was nothing unbearable. Honestly, they've avoided most of it, so that's good! It will not get in the way of the story.


Well... I think that covers it. As I can't review the story, it's hard to tell you what this game does right. The game itself is serviceable, but the way it paces the story, and gives you some freedom within it is where it shines. This is definitely not something you'll play for the puzzles or mechanics. If you enjoyed To the Moon, Primordia, Home, etc. I think you'll definitely appreciate this.

The story is quite mature, and the world has gone to hell, but the story it tells is credible, and there are certainly many aspects with which the player can identify with. Some people found it depressing, which is understandable, so know what you're getting into. I don't think it's anything shocking, but it's definitely not a light-hearted and happy story. It's a lot about what people would do if faced with risk of survival. It's not about zombies, or nuclear war. In fact, the setting is never explained, as it's there as a mere symbol/concept. And that's all I'll say about it.


The issue I've had with the puzzles was simply the fact that you can easily miss a very specific item, for an ambiguous purpose. What I mean by that is that several other items in your inventory could provide you with the exact same utility – but of course, the game doesn't aknowledge that, and will leave you walking in circles, re-inspecting everything. That's not something I like, of course, but changing that would probably require a whole re-design of how puzzles are done in the genre, which is far outside the scope of the review. One last thing.

How choice is handled in the different endings
From what I understand, the most important choices, are the ones you make when talking to Barney. These are usually question about the state of the world that you, as a player, may not know about. It's interesting, really. It's an uninformed decision, yet, it's a valid one, since you're basically telling your son how the world is, and sometimes how people interact. And how you choose to show him, is how the ending will be presented, in a way.
The ending is based both on deduction done with the clues you've found (depending on the notes you find, your actions in the end may change, thus changing the ending), and also based on how you chose to see the world.

All in all, it will be very fitting to you, personally, and how you've played the game, it's very good!
The downside to it, is that getting several endings may be a bit laborious (since you'll have to replay big portions of the game that doesn't change much, expect for the ending), and also that the forum discussion will not be as interesting.
Take Home, for instance. That game's discussion were based on what actually happened in the game, not just the ending. And it was great! Since in this game they're mostly about its conclusion, discussion will not be as nice.
To be honest, I think it's good news, if such an issue is what I throw at your game, haha!

I enjoyed it a whole lot!
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4 of 4 people (100%) found this review helpful
6.5 hrs on record
Posted: January 19
Richard and Alice strikes me as a hybrid mix of point & click adventure meets visual novel. Let's start out with the high points here. The story of Richard and Alice is absolutely compelling with a particular high note being the well written dialog between characters. The conversational segments in the game flow naturally and realistically. At no point did the dialog seem stilted or poorly written. This is a particularly notable feat when one considers the amount of dialog between Alice and her 5 (and a half!) year old son Barney. It's hard to write children's dialog between parent and child in such a way that it seems natural. Most novels can't get this sort of thing right, let alone the medium of video games. I think you almost have to be a parent yourself in order to effectively write this sort of dialog, and IMO Richard and Alice excels at it. Creating emotional connection between the player and the in game characters is critical to this games success, and thankfully it nails this part.

The game also presents itself as an interesting piece of sci-fi. The near future dystopia has been done to death for ages untold at this point, but Richard and Alice neatly avoids most of the typical tropes and clichés of this setting in that it never waves its world around in your face. The setting here merely serves as a backdrop for the unfolding human drama, but for the most part leaves the concrete dystopian details as part of that backdrop. It's a largely successful approach as it (rightly, IMO) assumes most players are sophisticated enough to be well versed in the rules of such a world by virtue of previous exposure in the form of other games, film, and books. It effectively tells you what you need to know of the world in order to move the plot along and leaves the rest to imagination.

The gameplay is largely successful but equally does falter in some areas. The point and click adventure elements here are fairly straight forward and rote. There are only three relatively confined areas to explore in the game (four if you're feeling exceedingly generous). Further, the level of interactivity in these areas is limited in such a way as to effectively move you from point A to point B in the story without a lot of tarrying about. If you're seeking a richly vibrant, highly interactive point & click title, Richard and Alice is not necessarily going to give you that. The world here exists as a plot device, and the interactive elements within that world are strictly limited to those that serve the plot in some way. So yes, this is a rather tightly wound narrative without the indulgence of unnecessary distractions. Having said that, Richard and Alice incorporates some interesting game mechanics in service to that world and to the general tone of the game. Much has been made of the fact that character movement feels extremely sluggish, and believe me it does, it really, really does. It's my opinion though, that this was a conscious decision on the part of the developers. The slow movement combined with the relentless sound of the snow ratchets up the tension and anxiety in the game, particularly when there are other characters in peril. It makes the world feel claustrophobic and as if it's actively working against you. It doesn't make it any less frustrating mind, but it is ultimately an effective decision.

The one other aspect of the game play that troubles me a bit is that of the multiple endings offered here. There are no less than five possible endings for Richard and Alice, which would seem to indicate the possibility of a branching story line. To be clear on this point, there are absolutely no branches along the way in this story. The ending you get is strictly based on rather arbitrary in-game choices that do not affect the narrative in progress whatsoever. So if you want to see the multiple endings, you'll play through the exact same story multiple times with the only points of differentiation being the endings themselves. It's as if you're reading a Choose Your Own Adventure book in which the only story deviation occurs in the final two pages of the book. Now to be clear the story is excellent, and IMO it does warrant at least one additional play through to pick up on the clues and hints that you may have missed the first time around. But to play through the game five times introduces a sense of drudgery and tedium, particularly when coupled with the slow character movement mentioned above. More damningly it also reduces some of the emotional wallop present in the game with each additional playthrough. Accordingly, if you're going for multiple playthroughs I'd recommend taking a suitable cool down period in betwixt.

I'd recommend this game to fans of visual novels (slightly more so than fans of adventure games), as well as to anyone who appreciates quality storytelling coupled with quality characterization in games, especially so this latter element.
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