By Dalton McClain / December 26th, 2018
|Publisher||Application Systems Heidelberg|
|Release Date||September 3rd, 2018|
|Platform||PC, Mac, Linux|
On the surface, Lamplight City just seems like your average run-of-the-mill point-and-click adventure game. To a certain extent, you’d be right. However, beneath its very beautiful exterior the game attempts to try to pull off something far greater. Did it succeed, or will it just stumble its way through the almost nine-hour experience?
Lamplight City is a point-and-click styled adventure game developed by Grundislav Games, and is set in an alternate history steampunk version of the mid 1800’s. You play as Miles Fordham, an ex-detective, and attempt to solve the murder of his partner. The twist? You can still hear his voice in your head chastising you for every choice that you make. The story is pretty basic, but has a good premise that can and does deliver on a ton of dry wit and overall humor. Though the story itself is good, that doesn’t necessarily mean that the execution is done well. A lot of the time instead of showing you what happened, characters will go into long-winded stories which get very boring to listen to considering the poor deliveries, but more on that later. Detective stories are some of my favorites, but some of the characters in this game would make Sherlock Holmes want to get to the point faster. It’s not always long and boring, but for a majority of the game you are just sitting there listening to dialogue being thrown at you with reckless abandon. It really drags down the whole experience for me, but at least the twist kind of saves it.
The twist of the whole game is that you can get things wrong if you don’t ask enough questions or go through the details enough. You can wrongfully accuse the wrong person or not get enough info by saying something wrong. The choices you make really do matter, and that all reflects back onto how your character (and others in the story) end up. This is an amazing concept that would have worked perfectly as a game mechanic for this genre… had it not been for the dialogue problems stated earlier. I just couldn’t pay that much attention to what the characters were saying, because after so long I stopped really caring about the tiny details, which is a real problem for detective games. Other than that the game doesn’t really do too much with mechanics besides the basic point-and-click affair. The only difference is that there’s little to no logic puzzles; most of the game revolves around the dialogue which really doesn’t help the case (pun intended).
So with all of that out of the way, what did I like about this game? Well frankly, just about everything else. The score and art design are splendid and capture the look and atmosphere perfectly. I’m always a sucker for the steampunk style, and setting it during possibly my favorite time period with my favorite movie/novel genre just made me head over heels for the atmosphere. The musical score matched perfectly with what was going on, and it really made me feel like I was inside of a Sherlock Holmes novel. They did an amazing job with that. Plus I genuinely liked most of the main cast, like Miles and his partner. They’re the perfect buddy cops and I love just listening to their banter. The relationship between Miles and his wife I also adore. Seriously, those two are possibly the most adorable couple I’ve ever seen in a game like this. Most of the time couples like that are at each other’s throats.
Overall I liked Lamplight City, but I just felt a little disappointed. Sure the atmosphere and characters were great, and the story was fine for the most part, but looking at it critically it doesn’t do what it sets out to. You might get some enjoyment for the $14.99 this game normally costs. I really hope the developers expand on this idea more in the future, because I feel like it has a lot of potential. The issue is just that it falls a little flat in its execution. If you’re a fan of point-and-click games then I definitely recommend that you pick this one up. If you’re not a fan, I don’t think this is really going to change your mind.
Review copy provided by the publisher
Application Systems Heidelberggrundislav gameslamplight city