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Nice looking game filled with challenging puzzles and sporadic action/characters with a European flavor.

PC Game Review: Next Life

"What happens after we die?" This interesting premise hooks players into a story-driven experience, which largely succeeds except for some cumbersome mechanics and very difficult puzzles/mini-missions thrown at you with little guidance. After the main character, Adam, crashes his SUV, you have a unique experience created from familiar elements (you’ll probably think Lost in Blue, Survivor, Lost… even MacGyver or Choose Your Own Adventure books at some point in the game) with a European flavor.

Players often suffer through trial and error situations, especially in the mini-missions. This issue can be offset by the seemingly endless save slots, but can also increase player frustration. You can save at any time in two modes – overwrite or time/date stamp.

Sticks and stones won’t break any bones, but the puzzles can often hurt you – mainly the pace of the game, which needs to be faster. Some puzzle-solving uses less brain and more annoying mechanics, sometimes making players feel like they’re just doing busy work. These puzzles do provide some information (or lead to some), but sometimes after exhaustive investigation. Results come easier with some common sense and independent thinking, which matches the “figure it out for yourself” theme of the game. Higher concentrations of action where the results reveal information would’ve improved the game.

The artistic visuals are very strong, especially in the characters, but can be hard to navigate through. Again, producers offset this issue with a hotkey (E) to show available exit points. Players can also eliminate unnecessarily long walks by double-clicking the location exits. Interact with objects through the mouse button and access/use your inventory by accessing the bottom of the screen.

Players have plenty to do, including discovering hidden exits, in a widely varied format. In an island setting, players will wake up from a mysterious sleep in a totally different area. The variety can be nice, but sometimes ruins any type of basic method or strategy, especially when sweeping for items. The dialogue creates some unintentionally funny moments as well as confusing cultural differences.

You don’t have to get to the end for the answer of the premise. The Adventure Company puts together a nice looking game, but the action is sporadic. Maybe developers planned this uneven pace for a “lost at sea”-like feeling. Not to be confused with The Next Life – an audio drama, based on long-running British science fiction TV series Doctor Who.

Next Life is rated T (Teen) by the ESRB for Alcohol and Tobacco Reference, Mild Blood, Mild Language, Mild Violence, Partial Nudity and Suggestive Themes.


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