The Journey Down [official site] is a rather excellent series of point-and-click adventure games with smart puzzles, a twisting plot and heavy Afro-Carribean influences. Parts one and two came out four years apart, in 2010 and 2014, and the third and final chapter is due out next month after a successful Kickstarter campaign.
Developer Skygoblin Games have released a trailer for it, and there’s plenty of shenanigans on show. Protagonists Bwana and Kito, who are based on African tribal statues, are shown running from rhinos, climbing up mountains, and driving a massive lorry while being chased by seven police cars. It looks pretty glorious, if you ask me, and that music had me dancing in my chair.
I haven’t actually played the previous two games but I know they’re good because John said so. The second one in particular sounds special, with lots of hanging plot threads that will no doubt be tied up in this entry.
Aside from the occasional stereotyping (the characters design is distinctly African, but they speak with Jamaican accents and say “mon” a lot), the mashup of themes has got me interested. It takes place in a conspiratorial world with an oppressive police force, an evil power company, a strange and significant book, and a mysterious place called The Underland. Here’s the word on the story for this chapter:
“In the final chapter of The Journey Down, Bwana, Kito and Lina explore the vast reaches of the Underland and unravel its long-forgotten history. Their adventure comes to a bombastic conclusion when they learn the true nature of the Great Asili tree and the Armando Power Company.”
And here’s John’s words that have got me all excited:
“The first chapter, quite brief and very traditional, set up a bunch of these questions. And then rather splendidly, the hugely improved chapter two did not make the mistake of so many middle chapters and just stretch and fill before the forthcoming conclusion, but instead answered many questions and asked lots more.
“Most importantly, it managed something that has all but died out in adventure gaming – a constant sense that you’re progressing, each solved puzzle advancing you forward, rather than leaving you stranded. In short: it was good. So there’s good reason to have hopes for the final chapter.”
So, one to look forward to. You can buy a bundle with parts one and two for £10.99/14,99€/$14.99 if you want to get up to speed. Part three is out on 21 September: here’s the Steam page.