Ankh is a typical point and click adventure old school style. That really sounds appealing to all the lucasfilm and lucasarts graphic adventure fans out there, but don’t get too excited.
At first glance the game looks polished. It shows nice graphics in a cartoonish style and they have a lots of great detail within them. All is done very colorful and it really gives an Egyptian swing to the game.
I liked the music, especially at the title screen. The background ambients are ok, but could have been better. The voice acting however is not very well done and I’m being really nice here. It really sounds like actors reading text from paper rather than talk to eachother. This gives an absurd feeling to the game and brings me back to day of the tentacle style voice overs. It was really cool back then, it isn’t now.
Since the developers are obviously inspired by old school Lucas adventures it is inevitable to compare the two. And this is where the train runs off downhill at full speed without any breaks. Old school graphic adventures were all about twisted humor and great dialogues. Ankh pulls every rabbit out of the hat to come near this, but they simply can’t do it. It’s like a really bad stand up comedian trying to imitate someone like Robin Williams. Even if you do have the right joke every now and then, still no one thinks it’s funny. Now another thing which makes an adventure worth playing is the way of solving the puzzles. These have to be absolutely crazy; use a monkey as a monkey wrench… yeah! But Ankh isn’t that twisted at all… If you’re a die hard adventurer you will find the solutions to the puzzles are pretty obvious. Not once I got stuck for longer then 20 minutes or so in the game. What happend to the frustrating nights trying every trick in the book and getting stuck like forever? Obscure puzzles is a MUST for these type of adventures. Ankh plays like a walkthrough, yuck!
If you are “new” to the scene and titles like “zak mckracken”, “DOTT” or “Monkey Island” don’t ring a bell, you might see this from a totaly different perspective and I really can see how some people like this. The game itself isn’t that bad… it just doesn’t live up to the legends that are out there. To respect the effort of the developers trying to relive a great – but long gone genre – I go rather mild on them. I still can see a good adventure styled game in here but I have too look really REALLY hard.
Puzzles Are Overall Simple & Repetitive
This logic puzzle is simple and repetitive but I can’t stop playing. I must find the murderer, his weapon of choice and evidence against him/her. It’s like Minesweeper and Clue had a baby named Inspector Parker.
You receive clues in your notebook such as Joe was upstairs from Jane during the murder. So logically you can remove the possibility of Joe being downstairs and Jane from upstairs. In this way, you continue to remove items from the house until you find all the evidence needed to solve the murder.
At higher levels the icons shrink to make room for more items which can sometimes cause you to accidentally remove the wrong item and score a miss (too many and the game is over). However, clicking on a clue in the notebook will enlarge and highlight the corresponding items on the board to make it easier to see.
I have a few issues with timer mode in that the people who QA’ed it should be fired. The clock and timer are underneath the clue descriptions… yeah, you can’t see either of them while a clue is selected. Brilliant. Also in timer mode you can make as many wrong guesses as you want with no penalty. This allows you to randomly click on objects until you hit on the right one, defeating the entire purpose of the game.
Despite those big nuisances to my obsessive compulsive soul, I enjoy playing this game. I used to play it as a Java application until the game website removed it so I’m glad to have it for PC which adds more levels and a much larger window.