Lost Horizon Demo, Trailer, Wittering

By John Walker on August 24th, 2010 at 6:53 pm.

British!

German developers Animation Arts are releasing their glossy adventure, Lost Horizons, on the 17th September. With recent news that the game’s gone gold, there’s now a demo that you – but only you – can download. If you’ve got 1.3GB for a demo of an adventure game. I did it, and there’s some thoughts below.

Do hurry up.

That’s my primary and lasting thought, after I spent a good half an hour watching scene after scene of utterly disjointed happenings, set in 1936. There’s a monk, and he dies, but there’s a magic disc and a strange pedestal, and then a man you control disappears in a magic light, and then there’s another man who is chatting up a girl, then running from the Chinese Triads, and then flying to visit some British general, then back at his home again. Meanwhile another man tells some Chinese men that he wants to catch one of the previous guys if not another one. And It is, officially, the beginningiest game of all time. It becomes a Zucker-style joke as after a collection of scenes it announces the game’s title, then a few scenes later we’re told it’s “Chapter One”. Captions tell us it’s a few hours later, a few days, sometimes a few months. And throughout all this, the involvement is invariably to click through dialogue. Oh, apart from when you’re chucked in the sea locked in a wooden box, when there’s the brief respite of a puzzle.

After which point you’re finally able to start playing the game properly. It’s crazy-bonkers. But perhaps after all this it calms down?

It looks absolutely fantastic. Really beautiful, quite often. And while the dialogue is absolutely agonisingly slow, it’s by far not the worst I’ve heard. Frantically speed-reading the subtitles and skipping the voices becomes a necessity as people exchange tiresomely long aphorisms containing seemingly no key information. It’s presumably somewhat based on Hilton’s book, set in a similar time and place, with the same name.

But look, this really is just the astonishingly long introduction before the game proper. If you have the patience, and the lack of a hungry girlfriend subtly mentioning dinner behind you, perhaps you’ll have more information for us in the comments below. I’m genuinely interested in playing the full game now, if for no other reason than it seems a very professionally made game, solid, and looking great. And for all its convoluted beginnings, it’s an interesting setting, and with the twist of some magical goings on.

Have a trailer:

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26 Comments »

  1. Paul S. says:

    Did that woman punch that other woman in the vagina? Blimey.

  2. Xercies says:

    The trailer says i have done soem things that i don’t remember doing. Do i have amnesia?

  3. Zenicetus says:

    So, it’s “Indiana Jones and the Lost Horizon” without the actual franchise license? Well, it is a cool time period for adventure stories. Lucas knew his stuff, at least for the first one.

    The art style looks a bit cartoonish, especially the face animations. It almost looks like a game designed for young kids. But I could go with that if the writing is good, and it’s not too ridiculously loaded with puzzle-solving instead of the running, fisticuffs and shooty bits. That description of the demo doesn’t bode well though. Think I’ll wait for users reviews of the full game.

  4. devlocke says:

    Watching that trailer made me curious about the first two games. Are they any good? Have these guys been quietly putting out competent (well, as competent as an adventure game CAN be) adventure games for years?

  5. Olli T says:

    It seems very average to me. Pretty graphics, apart from the kind of bad human models, which have an uncanny valley look up close. Music is nice if a bit forgettable, the voice acting I would like to forget; the bad guys in particular have the worst fake accents ever. The plot is more Indiana Jones than the last movie was. The puzzles are logical enough most of the time and the two-button UI works without problems. Worth playing if you like adventure games, I’d say.

  6. Alex Bakke says:

    Hmm, for what looks like a fun Indiana-Jones lookalike, £14.99 seems a /little/ high. I might wait for it to come down to around £10.

  7. wm says:

    No link to the demo?

  8. Oliver says:

    Or, instead, you can just buy it now for $19.95. Somehow. Oh, the magic of time travel.

    http://www.gamersgate.com/DD-LH/lost-horizon

  9. Travis says:

    Sounds like Dreamfall.

  10. Blacktick says:

    Like oliver said,buy it instead. :D

    But I wouldn’t you use gamersgate.com since for us Europeans,it’s priced 40 euros.

    Try

    http://www.gamersgate.co.uk/DD-LH/lost-horizon instead…it’s only little over 24 euros. ;)

    I like the game so far,I’m on chapter 3 and I find the voice acting pretty good considering the low budget crap we usually get. Game looks great,got no problem with the faces or character models. Story might be a bit so so,but the puzzles are logical and it’s occasionally quite funny too. I think it’s a good fun game overall. :)
    People should give it a go…

  11. bleeters says:

    Sometimes I wonder whether there actually exists a giant red emergency button labelled ‘insert Nazi’s', hidden in a sealed room several miles underground.

  12. tomwaitsfornoman says:

    DRAGONS.

    Really?

  13. day says:

    love it when they tell you how many characters there are.
    The whole thing reminds me how much of a wrong turn Revolution took with Broken Sword: the Dragon of Big 3D Dragons.
    Maybe these guys have struck a finer balance, is it a point’n'clicker? (doubt it-would be nice-yes I’m old)
    or 3 (lifeless manequins) D..?

  14. NoName says:

    Wow, she really punched her in the vagina.
    Kinky.

  15. Markenname says:

    They’ve been putting out “Secret Files: Tunguska” and a sequel named “Puritas Cordis”. Both were big hits here in Germany. I enjoyed the first one, never played the second one though.

  16. Risingson says:

    I really don’t understand why modern adventure developers think that slow and superfluous dialogue is needed to tell a story. Hey, you developers: Telltale has shown how to treat dialogues right. And you could take a look into Bioware’s offerings too. Learn from there… and not from Syberia!

    And I thought Tunguska was really boring, as was Memento Mori, as was Black Mirror 2, and many other modern european adventures. At least the Runaways try to have some sense of humor and fun.

  17. Clovis says:

    @Risingson: Do you have some weird addiction to Adventure Games (like maybe I do)? Why would you play Memento Mori if you thought Tunguska was boring?

    The art style immediately reminded me of The Clone Wars cartoons, which is fine (the animation style, not Clone Wars). I enjoyed Tunguska even though it was such an old-school adventure game.

    I can’t stand the slow talking. I hadn’t thought of it before, but I guess I play Mass Effect with the subtitles off because they speak at a normal speed. I don’t mind quickly reading dialogue, but I hate doing it while someone is slowing reading the dialogue to me.

    Regardless of any of this, I’d definitely like to play this.

    • Risingson says:

      Clovis, this answer will be lost in the following posts, but anyway: yes. I try to play ALL the adventure games I can. Sometimes I’m surprised by quality writing (The Moment of Silence) or touches that makes you forgive all the cons (Still Life), but lately I’m just amazed how is it that difficult for lots of developers to make a game with an amusing design like Telltale does.

      And well, I write in a spanish adventure gaming review site, and that pushes me to play adventures. Just a bit.

  18. JohnnyMaverik says:

    I actually quite liked the demo, the dialogue and voice acting while not perfect where above average, it’s refreshing play (some of) an adventure game that isn’t trying to be overtly artsy, which is fine, it’s just they all do that these days, when the puzzles did kick in they were actually pretty intuitive and fun for the most part, and yea, it does look quite good.

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