Runaway, A Road Adventure, is a point and click adventure game from Pendulo studios. It is the first game in the Runaway series. Action begins in New York City, and takes you for a cross country road trip as you uncover the secrets behind a Hopi artifact while trying to avoid mob hitmen hot on your trail.
With point and click adventure games, two of the most important aspects are the story and the puzzles. The story in Runaway is gripping enough to keep you interested throughout. As the story progresses, you will uncover more and more about the artifact, while also coming up with daring rescue and escape plans to keep yourself and Gina safe from the mob. It is not without its flaws, however. A lot of the story could be described as White Knight, the game. You play a nerdy student named Brian who almost immediately falls in love with Gina, and will do anything for her. As a player, you don't have much interaction with Gina, since she disappears for one reason or another after the beginning cutscene of almost every chapter. So, sometimes you ask yourself why he is bothering to do all this stuff for her. Even though he has these feelings for her, at one point he is very quickly willing to give her up for lost, which did not gel with all of his actions to that point. It was a little confusing, and made me think that the main character is a little fickle with his emotions. The overall payoff of the story was good, and worth seeing through to the end. There is even a small set up for another game if you stick through to watch after the end credits.
The puzzles do not live up to the quality of the story. I had some issues with the fact that you will need to search through certain areas multiple times to find all the objects they contain. At one point, a bag contains three items you need, but you can only find one item at a time as the story progresses. There is also a puzzle that makes you transition through multiple scenes 5 times just to solve, which seemed like busy work after a while. For the most part, I found that a lot of the puzzles used "adventure game logic", meaning that you will be using a lot of items in illogical ways to proceed. Nothing as bad as a cat hair mustache, but a lot of things along that line. The good thing is that you can't really fail, and the characters you can speak to will give you hints sometimes to point you in the right direction. So, sometimes you just have to keep plugging along until you figure everything out.
The graphics are a bit of a mixed bag. The backgrounds for the most part are very detailed and well done. The first part of the game will have you going between a variety of areas, and you don't know where you will end of next. The entire second half of the game takes place in the desert, and while they try to mix it up by giving you lots of areas to explore, it can get rather repetitive. The characters have a cartoonish feel to them, and look generally well drawn during gameplay. The cutscenes have a noticeable drop in quality, with character faces lacking a lot of detail. Also, why do Brian's shorts have to be so short for the second half of the game?
Voice acting is not great but not terrible either. It won't distract you from enjoying the game, but I felt like sometimes there was a good amount of emotion lacking in the lines. The were some songs written specifically for this game, and one song in particular you will probably hear so much that you will get sick of.
Controls follow the basic point and click model. Left click to move, double click on an exit to travel quickly, right click to switch between look and grab. The inventory can be accessed at the top of the screen. Sometimes it was a little difficult to find the exact pixel you had to be on to interact with an object, but that only happened a few times.
Overall, I would recommend this game, but just barely. The story was enough to overcome the flaws with the puzzles, and while the art wasn't amazing to look at, it kept me interested. I was entertained enough that I want to check out the sequel.