Al Emmo and the Lost Dutchman's Mine (AEatLDM) was a point & click adventure game that I honestly didn't think I would bother playing, but I had it from buying bundles it featured in, so I gave it a go while keeping my expectations cautiously low.
So the narrative revolves around a middle-aged balding virgin named Al Emmo who ventures to a small town to meet his bride.... who he paid for. However, when she meets him and it turns out that he has no cash to his name, she quickly leaves. Emmo is then awestruck by another lady and sets out upon his mission to win her heart through a series of ideas to impress her and also make himself a little cash over the course of 9 chapters of varying length. The entire game hinges on the way this story plays out and Emmo's comedic interactions with everyone around him (and also how the narrator berates Emmo for being a useless human being). The game has many short-comings, but comedy is definitely not one of them. I found the game was able to make me laugh a lot, cringe often, chuckle every few minutes, and it even managed to develop a sort of bond (through pity) for the hapless Emmo. Unfortunately this game suffers almost everywhere outside of the writing though. One of these areas is the way the game is broken down in to chapters, with each chapter being a new day. Some chapters are quite long, but there are a couple where you literally have to find a couple of items and they only take 5 minutes. The pacing of the game never quite feels right because of this.
As a computer game, AEatLDM plays incredibly slowly... even for a point & click game this plays slowly (which is really saying something). Every animation feels clunky, and Emmo himself moves so painfully slowly that you could die of boredom when transitioning screens. Some items are quite obvious that you can interact with them, but some are part of the pre-rendered background and are not obvious at all which leads to the game feeling padded as you often have to re-visit areas to find items you did not pick up earlier. There is a quick travel system that allows you to go to quickly visit about 5 landmark areas which probably saved me from just quitting this game completely, but even with the fast-travel it still felt like a chore re-visiting old areas. Aside from the slow gameplay, the puzzles are often not very logical. While this is to be expected in a comedic game, it can seriously hamper players trying to progress as answers often do not make sense. While the gameplay itself is tedious, for the most part this does not stop me enjoying point & click adventure games, however the final boss requires some quite precise movement (and timing) which this game simply was not designed for. The final boss ends up being an incredibly messy affair where even if you are doing the right thing you will still end up dying over & over again due to the frustrating movement of Emmo.
Now if you have actually loaded up AEatLDM, you may have noticed something straight away... the game is ugly. The cartoon cut-scenes are actually quite well done, but the game uses low resolution and during gameplay you will be staring at some very pixelated scenes that are usually saturated with yellow sand. The graphics are just about good enough to get by, but there is nothing good to actually say about them (so I wont). You can mostly tell what item is what, and what is actually happening on the screen, but due to the low resolution there are no small details that you can admire. What you see is what you get, and nothing more.
The sound is at odds to the graphics in that they are actually quite good (mostly). The voice-acting is clear, and every character has a distinct voice. The soundtrack is not particularly inspiring though, which is a little annoying considering there is often a lot of "adventuring" between your conversations. Also, there is one character who has TERRIBLE voice-acting and scripting. The barman, who Emmo meets at least once every day, has some of the worst voice-acting I have ever heard. His scripting does not come across as realistic and his voice sounds like it was recorded in a garage on a 20 year-old microphone. It is a real shame as that one characters brings down the rest of the game when everyone else is actually quite well written and voiced.
This may sound odd after mostly pointing out the game's various flaws, but I actually enjoyed what time I spent with Emmo. This is not a good game
at all, but it is a decent comedy
. If you like laughing, and also point & click games, then give this a go. It certainly has a very unique charm. P.S.
a final note of warning to those of you that are achievement hunters: avoid this game.
The achievements are mostly very well hidden and rather cryptic. I completed the game and only managed 5 of 20. I dont mind this, but I know some people might find that off-putting.