Appening 2 – Broken Sword Director’s Cut on iOS

(Originally posted 2013-02-24.)

Another week, another app. This time it’s a game – and therefore a good excuse to (perhaps gratuitously) try out the iPhone’s screenshot capability.

(In case you don’t know, you press the power button and the home button simultaneously. If you do you get a nice camera-like click and the screenshot goes to your camera roll. In this instance I copied them to DropBox as the easiest way to get them onto other machines.)

“All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy” is a well-known English expression. I won’t say I’m a good game player but I like a good game, and some I even complete. 🙂

So, what am I looking for in a game? It turns out it’s the following things:

  1. Excellent graphics.
  2. Engaging interaction and puzzles.
  3. My ability to make a reasonable fist of playing the game.

I also like games where two players can cooperate on a single screen: Resident Evil 5 and 6 are our best examples of this – doing it in split-screen mode so you don’t get the “Lego Star Wars effect” where one play pulls the other off the ladder to their doom. 🙂

(I think the social element of gaming, whether cooperative play or spectating is under-rated. Notice I don’t rate competitive play at all highly – though we’ve done it and the “thrills and spills” aspect is good.)

So, Broken Sword Director’s Cut…

This is a graphical adventure where you’re solving a mystery, set in Paris. It also has puzzles embedded in it.

In the following screenshot you see the level of graphics – they’re cartoonish but pleasing on the eye.

General

The protagonist is the man with the yellowy hair. (In the original game I gather he was the only protagonist you could control – but this version is a remake with improved graphics and a “sometimes there” female protagonist.) You move him by tapping on the screen where you want him to go.

In the next screenshot you can see a blue circle. This is something you can interact with:

Interact

Above the circle are two icons:

  • Gears – which means “do something”.
  • Eye – which allows you to inspect something.

There is a third icon when you want to interact with someone:

  • Lips – which start a conversation.

Tapping on the lips gets you into conversation:

Chat1

As this is set in Paris you get some attempt at French, but just to set the scene. The conversation reverts to English immediately:

Chat2

which is just as well: While you get speech bubbles you also get audio speech. I found the attempts at French accents annoying after a while. (To be fair I found the American accent annoying as well – the male protagonist being American.)

There is more than a little “Dan Brown” about the plot but you can’t entirely dismiss the genre out of hand, without also dismissing great games like the Assassin’s Creed and Uncharted series.

I think I would’ve found the plot more gripping if I could manage a better game pace: It’s a game I’ve played in the evenings for relatively short periods of time, much of which seemed to be spent tapping randomly on the screen looking for blue circles. So if you’re a good game player the pace might well be good for you.

There is a single version for both iPad and iPhone – which possibly explains the enormous size (417MB). I’ve not played it on the iPad (because I really can’t see myself playing through it twice and I’ve not figured out if you can transfer progress between the two). So these screenshots are from the iPhone version.

This is a game I can see myself completing after several long plane rides. And when I do I’m going to delete it from my phone: Even on a 64GB phone I begrudge 417MB of space for a game I can’t see myself playing again.

I think it’s a good game and one I’ve enjoyed playing – when it’s gone well.

Of course I don’t think IBM has a view on video games 🙂 – so this is a (highly) personal view.

Published by Martin Packer

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