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Freeware Garden: Atticus

Among the 50 games of the Asylum Jam there was only one point-and-click adventure that grabbed me and didn’t let go until I finished it. It was Atticus. A sleek, browser-based adventure of medium length, excellent hand-drawn visuals and a spooky premise.

In Atticus you play as the good professor Price, who’s living through his worst, most surreal nightmare ever. For, you see, said nasty dream might look lovely and intricate and take place in a sizeable mansion no professor could afford, but it’s also deadly. Should the professor fail to puzzle his way out of there in less than 20 minutes he’ll die. In a surprisingly graphic way too.

And, yes, this does mean Atticus comes with a 20 minutes time limit – which will likely sound despicable to most point-and-clickers out there – but I have to admit the game’s timer works well in its horror setting. It adds a sense of urgency to everything you do and helps you focus on escaping the dreaded mansion instead of looking at everything and trying to fully get the details of the plot.

Even if this limit means you’ll fail to complete the game in your first couple of playthroughs, I strongly believe including it was a smart move.

It even helps you solve the surprisingly involved and well designed puzzles faster than you thought possible. Poisoning guards, deciphering symbols, piecing together codes and even whacking monstrous figures on the head has never been so swiftly accomplished. Not by me at least.

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Konstantinos Dimopoulos

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