A writer has died. His daughter seeks the help of you, Ord Salamon, to find his secret last novel. During the search, questions will emerge. Did her father really kill himself? What is the secret novel all about? What is going on at the island of Fardo?
User reviews: Mostly Positive (46 reviews)
Release Date: Mar 20, 2014
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Reviews

“It's well worth a play for anyone looking for an intelligently told, challenging story”
4/5 – Telegraph

“Puzzle enthusiasts should definitely check the game out. The journey towards the finale is a very entertaining and interesting one”
8.5/10 – Capsule Computers

“A political thriller whose hardcore puzzling and mechanics will greatly appeal to old school adventure gamers”
79/100 – RageQuit (Greece)

About This Game

A writer has died. His daughter seeks the help of you, Ord Salamon, to find his secret last novel. During the search, questions will emerge. Did her father really kill himself? What is the secret novel all about? What is going on at the island of Fardo? Crack codes, decipher secrets & find a lost fortune in this exciting adventure for Windows PC.

+ Old-school style point & click adventure
+ Full English voice acting, 2000+ lines
+ Hand-drawn art & animation, 60+ rooms
+ Original soundtrack by Lannie Neely III, 45+ mins
+ Additional languages (text only) included, EFIGS

The Samaritan Paradox is set in Sweden in the 80's. Ord Salomon has agreed to help Sara Bergwall find the book her father, Jonatan Bergwall, wrote before he died. During the course of this treasure hunt, he learns that Jonatan was investigating the weapons industry, and more specifically some covert affairs with foreign dictatorships.

But more questions arise. What is the book about, and why does Sara want Ord to find it for her? Did her Alzheimer's-stricken mother know the secret before she grew too demented to share it? And how did Jonatan actually die?

System Requirements

Windows
SteamOS + Linux
    Minimum:
    • OS: XP
    • Memory: 500 MB RAM
    • DirectX: Version 9.0
    • Hard Drive: 300 MB available space
    Recommended:
    • OS: XP, Vista, 7, 8
    • Memory: 1 GB RAM
    • DirectX: Version 9.0
    • Hard Drive: 500 MB available space
    Minimum:
    • OS: Debian 7
    • Memory: 500 MB RAM
    • Hard Drive: 300 MB available space
    Recommended:
    • OS: Debian 7
    • Memory: 1 GB RAM
    • Hard Drive: 500 MB available space
Helpful customer reviews
37 of 39 people (95%) found this review helpful
17.1 hrs on record
Posted: August 5
The Samritan Paradox has many good points, but has quite a few negative ones too. I actually considered using a "pros and cons" list for this review simply because it has many points on each side. I can't bring myself to do so, however. So...I guess I will try to keep it short (I won't. I don't think I have the ability to do so. TL;DR at the bottom.), but give you both sides.

Overall, I do consider this a solid entry into the point and click adventure genre. It has its flaws, but I enjoyed the game none the less. The story is OK, and has an interesting split to it where you are in the real world and you have this book that you are searching for in which you (the player, not the actual person in game reading it. That would just be silly :P) warp into it and play the character of the fairy tale when you read it. This sounds way cooler than it is, but it does offer you a different setting, and ultimately is the place you find the twist of an ending. You solve clues throughout and are on a search for more chapters of this book as well as dealing with the mystery of a dead author.

It has what I would call a bit of a "schocking" and almost asinine ending to it that I think most will consider worthwhile anyways. It definitely will make you say "WTF" when you get to it. You might be able to see it coming, but I think they tend to hide it fairly well so it should be quite unexpected to most. Whether you like it, or not is another matter. I'm not sure I liked the way it was handled for the subject matter, and the reveal is something that I think you can call "shock value". Probalby won't make you think much as the depth isn't there. Subject matter is worthy of discussion, however.

Sadly, the dialogue and the voice acting in the game throughout are fairly weak. Voice acting is very monotone, and the dialogue is passable, but feels more appropriate in a cheesy detective story most of the time (not in a noir way, or clever way, but cheesy like I said). Of course this game is pretty much a mystery/detective story most of the time, but I'm not giving it a free pass for that because the dialogue is quite weak otherwise even if you consider it being a mystery. It's not a smart dialogue either way.

The puzzles can be quite difficult and offer a nice bit of variety ranging from riddles, cross-referencing game materials and items in smart ways, poetry, and some extra thinking about just what some of these puzzles mean that are sometimes a bit difficult to pinpoint. It has a few puzzles that use symbols and the riddles probably require you to write them down to remember them well enough to figure out the codes they represent. The Samaritan Paradox definitely deserves praise for having solid puzzles that aren't way too easy like most adventure games these days. They are more on the level of a game such as Syberia (difficulty and depth, but not necessarily as intuituve), so fans of the genre I think will be quite satisfied with the effort here.

The technical side of the game has one very major annoyance to it that I can't leave out. If you have played games like The Cat Lady where it has the item bar at the bottom of the screen you will be familiar with it when you see it here. Unfortunately, The Samaritan Paradox has a sort of "floating" item bar that simply gets in the way far too often. With many interactive locations and objects being near this bar you will see the item bar jump up a bit for some reason so that it gets in the way. It does this because SOME exits and other objects are actually under the bar as it sits in the active video screen. You can deal with it, but the game would have been far less annoying if it had a fixed bar and the active screen was just fixed above it with no interaction between the two.

The item bar is by far the most annoying thing in the game and nothing else is even bad by comparison. The graphics are acceptable, but nothing special. Settings were average with a spatering few scenes that looked inspired to any degree. Definitely not a game that will make you oooh and ahhh over the animations. Character models are generic in game, but the dialogue models are decent.

I got this game in a bundle for very cheap so I was quite happy with it at that cost. I don't feel the price for the game is unreasonable if it were maybe on a 50% off sale at $4.99. I don't think I would pay $9.99 for it. The game offers a decent playtime for an adventure. I'm not sure how long I played as I left it running for a while one time, but I would say it definitely should give you 5 or more hours. Considering some of the puzzles you may need to look for help on, and some walkign back and forth to figure things out you could easily put in 5 hours or more. Replayability I would say is very limited as the main part of the ending is the same every time, but there is one other small thing that can be changed in the ending to give you a slightly different one. This only requires about a 20 minute step back to achieve (I beleive it has an achievement for both sides) so it isn't something that changes the game much at all.

TL;DR: Above average adventure game, very good puzzles, shock ending, and mediocre dialogue and story overall. Still a solid adventure game that is worth playing for fans of the genre. 7/10
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27 of 34 people (79%) found this review helpful
3.8 hrs on record
Posted: October 15
Ok, I have to be honest about this: I've only played The Samaritan Paradox for maybe four hours, having bought it as part of an indie-bundle. So I didn't make it even halfway into the story, but the fact that I couldn't get myself to play it any further, speaks for itself of course. I also have to say that it has been quite some time since I last played a real point-click-adventure before this one, but I did play quite some of them in the highdays of the genre so I know what it's all about.

When I first started The Samaritan Paradox, I was surprised to see a heavily pixelated graphical sryle that reminded me instantly of the Commodore 64-days. This is not a bad thing per se, but the way the graphics are implemented in this case, did prove to have its share of problems. There are almost no settings or options to change the graphical quality, so whatever I tried to do, I got stuck with a game where I often needed to find the EXACT pixel to click in order to get interaction with a smaller sized object. That felt pretty ok for me in the 1980's, but knowing it can be a lot better done, I felt baffled to have to do this all over again in the 2010's. Apart from this gameplay-related problem, the graphics do quite a decent job to get across some mood or general idea of a place or person, given all the limitations. However, to continue along the technical part, the entire inventory-system (crucial in any point&click-adventure) worked out rather awkward for me. The inventory-bar at the bottom of my screen kept popping in and out of view, more often than not interfering in the wrong way with the gameplay. Surely a lock-on or -off option is necessary here.

As far as the core of the game goes: the story starts off interesting enough, but didn't keep my attention well enough to make me keep playing despite the graphical and inventory-related problems. Dialogues and characterization are below average, and the music was so tedious that I turned it off almost immediately. Even then, I guess I would have continued longer than I actually did were it not for the unforgiving way the game handles puzzles, both great and small. I am totally fine with an adventure-game being challenging or even tough (hardcore would be the term I think of for this game), but there should be some kind of hints-system when one is searching for the right pixel clicking over and over again, and even more so when some of the actions asked for are not logical in any way. All too often the game would only give the opportunity to continue when I'd done a very specific action, such as reading the backside of a book in detail or finding an obscure note, which did not prove any fun for me. Maybe, even probably, I more like casual adventure-games, and this game is definitely not casual in any way, despite its low-budget appearance.

But the one thing that finally made me put the game away prematurely, was the fact that after using the Steam overlay-function (as to check for the needed achievements, or just for chatting), the text-boxes in the game - pretty important in this kind of game - started flickering and became unreadable, which was a true game-breaker for me. So in the end, despite the interesting story and the original but highly quirqy graphical style, I'd give this a negative recommendation, except probably for hardcore adventure-gamers who are willing to put lots of time and effort into this despite its shortcomings. It's not my cup of tea, that's for sure.

Gameplay: 18/30
Graphics: 10/20
Sound: 3/10
Technical (stability etc): 3/10 (the text-box flickering after using the Steam-overlay is too ba)
Logelivety: 5/10 (if played to the end, there is quite some gameplay here)
Steam integration: 7/10 (for the achievements and trading cards, but they are not particular nice)
Personal appreciation: 5/10

Overall: 51/100
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14 of 17 people (82%) found this review helpful
8.4 hrs on record
Posted: August 16
It must be a natural law that well storied point-and-click adventures have to have bad graphics to be seen as serious stuff. The Samaritan Paradox is one of these. A resolution of 640x400 must be enough (and on D3D9 its even half size lol)

Actually you play two different stories:
One takes place is Gothenburg, Sweden in the 80ies with a murder crime scene and you as the cryptologist Ord (yeah, that's a name) searching for three chapters of a mysterious book hidden by the victim, a famous writer. The second is the story of the book: A medieval fantasy story with dragons and wizards. In there you are a female named Freya. Somehow there are some parallels between the fantasy story and the real world as you can imagine.

Alltogether It's really amazing how innovative and various the riddles in this game are. Sometimes there are fast click actions where you must hide quickly behind doors. Another times you rebuild star constellations on a dame chess board. You must find combinations of items, transcode messages and working as a hobby detective. Highly enjoyable!

The final conclusion is, you'll see then, the irony which the samaritan paradox means. Somebody who is helping poor people in the third world but in order to hide his illegal business activities. And someone who slayes dragons and poison people to find the love of his/her life and pretend to the people that he/she saved them all.

In the end remains just one question: Who does seriously take care of the sea otters?
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4 of 4 people (100%) found this review helpful
7.2 hrs on record
Posted: October 25
Minimalist pixel hunt with adult themes

The Good:
* Charming retro graphics and Point n Click gameplay
* Interesting plot that improves hugely as it progresses
* Decent if amateurish voice acting
* Sound in general is adequate for the game
* Never managed to break the logic or get nonsensical dialogue.

The Bad:
* Very low resolution and only windowed mode (edit, controlled via external setup program)
* Very small clickable areas for some items
* Early on working out actions to perform is frustrating
* Some puzzles simple while others really obtuse
* Couple of bottle neck points where one clue is needed to progress
* Interface (esp. Save/Load) is minimal and lacks feedback
* The notebook would have been useful for the fantasy quests
* The oddly dark overtones of the conclusion

Background: Love Point n Clicks. Never heard of the game before but was recommended as I'd just completed the Blackwell series. Picked up for pennies in a bundle.

Impressions: Charming visuals mixed with a somewhat generic starting plot actually build into something far more interesting. The fantasy element is nicely woven in a adds much welcomed lightness into an oppressive main story which turns oddly darker at the end.. which I dint feel was wholly necessary. About 3 hours of play and plenty of places and items to explore.

Recommended for: Old school PnC fans. More for mature teens and adults (adult themes, language and puzzles).

Conclusion: 7/10. Well worth a couple of quid.
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4 of 4 people (100%) found this review helpful
11.4 hrs on record
Posted: June 27
Great old-school graphic adventure with an interesting plot and some shocking twists in the story as we dig deeper in the mystery that lies in there. It's an incredibly and challenging dark story recreated in a retro style environment. Also the puzzles in the game are nicely clever and make the player have a good time solving it.
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4 of 4 people (100%) found this review helpful
13.0 hrs on record
Posted: October 10
About me: I love adventures, especially the old Lucas Arts games.

I liked it. Good, difficult puzzles, some frustratingly so, but ultimately all with very sound, everyday logic. Exception are a very few time sensitive puzzles. The story and characters are for the most part very well written. I particularily liked the "two worlds" gameplay, which offsets the rather serious and sombre tone of the main story. Do not expect a lighthearted experience. The retro pixelated look is okay, backgrounds are nicely painted and animations well done.
Minor annoyances are the idiosyncracies of the dialogue system, where sometimes you just have to click through all the possible topics until you find the one that actually does advance the story. Also some inconsistencies in characters statements when old topics don't get updated responses after major plot developments.
I do however, have two major issues with the writing: For one, the developing friendship between the two main characters felt rather forced to me. The other is that the surprising last minute story twist wasn't surprising for me. It also feels like it has only been put in for the emotional impact. The result is that it is rather jarring, but not because you are shocked by what has happend, but because it feels completely disconnected from the rest of the main plot.

Conclusion: Do play it, and resist the lure of the walkthrough.
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7 of 11 people (64%) found this review helpful
9.7 hrs on record
Posted: July 21
Uh... I would like to give this game a bit more leeway as it's clearly a shoestring budget effort and not *terrible* per se, but... well. Let's see where it goes and what makes it falter.

It's an AGS adventure game with all its usual Steam caveats – glitchy achievements, crashes, save system takes screen thumbnails of inappropriate things.

The game isn't on the level of Wadjet Eye games or the like. It starts off okayish, kind of like a post-Dan Brown mystery story presented as a standard classical adventure game, but the plot gets a bit crowded.

The puzzles are fairly simple to get through if you've got adventure games under your belt. However, gameplaywise, after the half-point (and it's not that long a game) the polish wears off, and you kind of need to guess a couple of interactions that the game won't even hint at. Occasionally you need to hide from enemies by pixel hunting that perfect part of the screen that triggers the protagonist's stealth pose. You could be in the right place, hidden from sight, but if you're not in the exact right spot, you get caught. Ugh.

Oh, and the ending. The ending revelation is... uh. It's a complete non-sequitur established nowhere prior; either a huge laugh-inducer or a part where you feel awful groaning shame for the game writer.

So, yeah. Thumbs down.
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1 of 1 people (100%) found this review helpful
7.7 hrs on record
Posted: September 11
A good enough point and click, would reccomend to fans of the genre even if it is too adventure game-y and arbitrary at times. It kept me engaged for a good few hours.

What the in god's name was that ending though? Real talk.
I have no idea what the developers were thinking
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1 of 1 people (100%) found this review helpful
10.5 hrs on record
Posted: July 17
I did not have much faith that I would enjoy this game. Initially seeing the poor screenshots and trailer quality in the store page kind of turned me off. The game is a standard point and click affair, and has very little replay value. With that said the game was better than I thought it would be. The puzzles were challenging. The artwork was nice, and for what appears to be an indie title the English Voice acting is great. The story was a roller coaster right till the end. I enjoyed the ending. It is worth the price of admission. If you enjoy point and click adventure games I reccomend this game.
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1 of 1 people (100%) found this review helpful
4.4 hrs on record
Posted: August 2
This little game went beyond my expectations. Really interesting story, complex plot, loved the switch from dreary daily life to fantasy, and the ending was unexpected - something many good games end up failing at is a good ending, which wasn't the case. That said, it was a little too linear sometimes and fairly short if you have experience with this kind of adventure game - I wouldn't say puzzles are very obvious or easy, however. You will have to work and think to solve them!

Graphics are old school, detailed and provide a good atmosphere, nothing special. Voice acting was pretty good, music and sound effects were nice if unremarkable, controls are classic point & click. There was a little clipping at certain points or things that should work but fail a few times because the mapping is weird. Nothing too annoying.

All in all, very enjoyable and clever game.
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1 of 1 people (100%) found this review helpful
7.3 hrs on record
Posted: November 15
Recommended for fans of point and click adventures, Story, graphics and dialogue are all passable, if a bit lackluster. The UI and certain puzzles can be frustrating at times and the ending felt a bit rushed and out of place but overall I thought the game to be pretty enjoyable.
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3 of 5 people (60%) found this review helpful
8.2 hrs on record
Posted: August 13
Average classic point and click adventure game, very old school looking.
Differently of great titles as monkey island, there is no pinch of humor; story is twisted and dark; very nordic-alike.
Some puzzles are logical, some others have no sense. This wouldn't be a pit if it had some good humor sketchs but, since this is a serious illogical adventure, boring is what you get at the end.
Not recommendd.
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91 of 98 people (93%) found this review helpful
17.9 hrs on record
Posted: April 19
So I bought this game solely based on the fact that it was published by Screen 7, the same company that published The Cat Lady, a fantastic point and click adventure in the same vein as this one. Despite this my hopes weren't set too high. See, I don't play these puzzlegames very often. And if I do, I mostly look up solutions if I don't find them myself within a certain amount of time, depending on how patient I feel that day. I couldn't do that here, so at points it was a scramble to find somebody who could help me(which I am ever so grateful for, grateful to the ones that helped me in moments of desperation). At points it was mindlessly trying every possible combination of items and move-sets to get things to work. This game was hard. I mean, it switched between real world logic and videogame logic in a way that really kept you on your toes - or made you bash your face repeatedly into a wall. This game is intelligent, especially when it comes to puzzle design. Every puzzle I didn't get at first, but later figured out(when I did it on my own), made me impressed by the way the game designer set it up. It wasn't a case of finding out what you missed and then feeling like an idiot(not as much as some games make you feel, at least).

There are parts of this game where I felt the need to write down symbols to crack a code, in real life. One could say I got invested into my character, immersed, even! Although I am not too sure how necessary it was, but post-FEZ I have a tendency to write down ciphers games give me. I truly love how games give you a mindset that you can use throughout the whole game. Where there are audial timings, visual timings, that takes play in the puzzles. Which is useful to have in mind during the whole game. The Samaritan Paradox doesn't drop parts of itself. It's a neat parcel. Puzzlegames can easily feel contrived at points, but this game didn't suffer from that same nuisance. Everything felt organic and was explained through story and environment.

The story:
We play as the suitably named Ord(Ord means Word in Swedish). He is a cryptologist working on his Ph.D, only he's lost all momentum. His life is boring, he spends the days vacantly listening to the vapid, dull voices coming from the TV. As we get reign of his movement, we decide to check the newspaper. A famous author committed suicide! It happens to be the same author that our friend (Magnus) conveniently gave us a book from, making us recognize the name. We call Magnus and tell him about this code we found in the first page of the book, you know, being a cryptologist and all, it happens. Not contrived. He suggests we should contact the authors daughter and let her know of this amazing find! "There's one more", as in one more posthumous book from said author. Ord contacts her and with his trustful face, gets her(Sara) to hire him, as her very own professional puzzle solver. With a supportive friend, and his well-meaning wish to give us back our lack of momentum through deadly adventure, we are unstoppable.

The Samaritan Paradox, it's all in the name really. Being this righteous, ivory tower-moral guider, being this way because of guilt. Making it the Samaritan Paradox. One is only good because of the blood that has already been drawn. It takes an act of evil to become lawful good. And when this moral highroad is nothing but a series of half-baked ideas and semi-researched claims, what good is the actual good side? The game doesn't say much beyond this, I suppose it doesn't have to. The game does leave you with a lot of questions, is the momentum from this adventure enough to fuel his thesis? Will the emotional damage Sara runs away from never come back to haunt her? Will suppression and delirium make reality less pungent? What happened with Magnus and the dinner date? What about the thesis? And the unpayed bills? I guess thinking too much about it doesn't change what's actually there. In the games universe everything ended happily ever after. The mirror image of reality based gameplay with reality based story would be nice, to me. But then again, only for the sake of symmetry. At times things may work out, lives can be lived happily in worlds of violence and corruption. Just try not to be cognizant of them. Spewing vague criticism is so much more fun. It makes you a good person. Everything is starting to feel like a paradox now.

This game is a corroborative delight. A hard and frustrating delight. Piquant visual style and, in truth, at points beautiful. Clever writing and puzzles that are always challenging are to be expected. I was not let down by this purchase. It took me the whole day to complete, and what a day it's been. It was exciting, truly. An intriguing detective story mixed with a fantasy side-story paralleled with the real one. A metaphorical storyline beside the real, adding a whole new layer to the game. A nice escape from the mundane cityscapes, it kept the game fresh and provided some real nice landscapes.

Apart from some of the voice acting(which is to be expected from a lower-budget title), everything was excellent. If you are not too put off by the pixel art I would wholeheartedly recommend this game, it's cheap and it has at least 8 hours in it, if you solve puzzles quickly. Enjoy!

By the way, be aware of some bugs that could make progressing weird, save the game as often as conveniently possible, if things seem wrong, they probably are.
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18 of 19 people (95%) found this review helpful
13.3 hrs on record
Posted: April 22
Good old fashioned pixel hunting game with some fiendishly difficult puzzles.

Story: The storyline is divided into two: you play as Ord, and as the heroine of the last book written by the writer. The first gets more and more complicated as you search for more book chapters and delve deeper into the writer's life. The part you play in the book has a fairy tale feel to it which offers a nice contrast. There were some surprising twists towards the end but I thought the game concluded with the loose ends tied up neatly.

Graphics: reminiscent of earlier LucasArts' titles.

Music: subtle and well-matched for the different sections of the game.

Voice acting: I thought this was very well done, as all the voices were convincing and no overacting. Ord Salamon sounds just like a mild-mannered cryptologist/PhD student who is described by his friend as "the police use the photo of your face to calm rioters".

Gameplay: I spent around 5 or 6 hours so far on this game and only just got to Day 3. But I am getting on in years so perhaps the whippersnappers will get through faster.

Overall: highly recommended if you like a good detective thriller with challenging puzzles.
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7 of 7 people (100%) found this review helpful
13.9 hrs on record
Posted: May 3
A very nice old-faschion adventure, I really like the story and how the McGuffin has been used. The graphics is a little bit too static, but very bound to the 90's! The riddles are good and not too hard to solve. I hope there will be a sequel, because I liked the idea of a cryptologist as main character.
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7 of 9 people (78%) found this review helpful
7.9 hrs on record
Posted: April 23
Great point and click detective puzzle adventure game. Very challenging, especially since it was just recently released and there are no game guides for it yet!!
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7 of 9 people (78%) found this review helpful
11.3 hrs on record
Posted: May 23
Start to finish a brilliant game; like playing a grea novel. Fantastic, gripping story that leaves you eager to see what will happen next. Absolutely recommend this shocking adventure...
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1 of 1 people (100%) found this review helpful
5.8 hrs on record
Posted: June 20
It's a great story, intelligently told, although the voice acting is sometimes cringe-inducing. The tough puzzles are fun, but some of the sequences are a bit forced, and didn't add anything to the plot. The crossword stands out as a point where the writers were just trying to drag out the game unnecessarily. More often than not, I was simply stumped by the graphics; there were a lot of key set pieces that were tough to make out, meaning I never thought to mouseover them in order to find my next clue.

That said, the overall pacing and general plot are quite brilliant. It's a dark tale, and certainly won't be one I forget anytime soon.
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1 of 1 people (100%) found this review helpful
0.2 hrs on record
Posted: April 27
Haven't played an Adventure for many years and decided to try this after hearing much talk about it. It's in the style that I remember and is really quite exceptional. Well written original story together with some clever and interesting puzzles. I struggled with some of them but discovered I could phone other game characters who would sometimes provide clues. Nifty. Now I'm interested in Adventure games again and will seek out more.
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7 of 14 people (50%) found this review helpful
10.1 hrs on record
Posted: April 20
It is in some parts quite tricky (my frustrating mistakes include i.e. polaris in gallery and missing the electricity panel in the church as it is too far to one side). But I really enjoy it so far.
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