This macabre-themed game mixes game graphic styles with clever content for a surprising adventure gem that’s screaming for a sequel. The outstanding graphic design provides amazing appeal while the memorable characters and problem solving actions also make a positive impression.
The 3-D characters in 2-D environments set the stage for the game’s story, set in 1895 in “Draxsylvania”. It centers on a young (and slow moving) opera singer named Mona De Lafitte and her unfortunate state at the hands of Baron Shrowdy van Kiefer. Mona sees her chance for escape from the castle, as does Froderick the bat, when the Baron seems to be missing in action. She makes a break for Paris, France to resume her music career.
Developer Bill Tiller (The Dig, Monkey Island) was involved with this title and that’s an important point as players familiar with those games may find some similar puzzles, thus having a slight advantage. For example, getting a trap door open reminds me of sticking sponges into a door to open it in the PlayStation 2 version of The Curse of Monkey Island. You will need different item sets at times for some puzzles while others are very straightforward (check your surroundings for assistance).
The entertaining dialogue also requires a certain…taste (get it?) as it supplies puns, reference and rhymes for over 25 characters. The hand-drawn settings and sharp lighting contrasts/shadows enhance some unique experiences throughout the story, which also includes some puzzles and brain teasers. The game has a smooth interface full of hotspots (hold the tab button for highlighting help) with an inventory available through the right mouse button.
Mona has several general actions plus you can skip her slower movements by hitting the space bar, the standard skipper in most PC games. You can also smack the space to bypass cut scenes, but you’ll miss out on some strong visuals full of engrossing color schemes and interesting dialogue written by Tiller and newcomers Will Eaken and Dave Harris. Another great story within this story is the brilliant musical score from Pedro Macedo Camacho, who elevates the game into a high interactive level.
A Vampyre Story has a solid entertainment value at a suggested retail price of $29.99. However, this linear point-and-click adventure has somewhat limited replay value once you’ve solved most puzzles. This game got an initial patch this past December and needs to be installed while you’re early in the game; otherwise some progression might be lost. Let’s hope the open ending will produce a sequel because this series has great expansion potential.
A Vampyre Story is rated T (Teen) by the ESRB for alcohol and tobacco reference, animated blood, cartoon violence, crude humor, mild language and suggestive themes.