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Have You Played... Loom?

Have You Played? is an endless stream of game recommendations. One a day, every day of the year, perhaps for all time.

Of all LucasArts' adventure games, Loom has arguably aged the most gracefully. B

rian Moriarty's whimsical fantasy tale ditched the convoluted interaction system that supports the majority of LucasArts adventures, and unified all the game's puzzles through Bobbin Threadbare's signature distaff. Every obstacle Bobbin encounters can be overcome by weaving "drafts" musical spells that range from dyeing wool green to turning straw into gold.

Moriarty's aim was to simplify LucasArts' formula and create an adventure that was easy to complete. At the time, critics and players alike believed he went too far, complaining about the game's brevity. Nowadays, with so many games demanding cavernous chunks of time to finish, it's far easier to see Loom's appeal. Since every puzzle involves the Distaff, you're rarely stuck for a solution. Hence the story ticks along at a leisurely pace which fits with the game's light-hearted nature. It isn't Telltale levels of simple. There are a couple of absolutely horrible mazes, most notably the cave section, which ironically was included due to internal anxieties that the game was too easy.

Minor stumbles aside, Loom is a delightful little fantasy, a breadcrumb trail of daft fairytale encounters including a city made of glass and a dragon afraid of fire. The dithered art-style helps stave off the ravages of time, lending its 16-colour landscapes a timeless quality, and the voice-acting is pitch-perfect, tonally somewhere between Jim Henson's Labyrinth and Monty Python and the Holy Grail. It may not represent the absolute cream of LucasArts' crop, but it is the game least likely to give you a migraine between the jokes.

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