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: