Left in the Dark: No One on Board
Wowsers! This is a very good game!
I would give this really 4.5 stars, because it isn't the best game Artifex has done, but it's a darn sight better than most of the games we've been getting! And I'm rating it against other SEs, not against CEs or their subsequent SE versions.
I'm really a fan of story-driven games, and this one delivers big time! Yes, we've seen ghost ships before, but this one grabbed me from the opening cutscene, and hasn't let go yet! It is truly creepy, and has "gotcha" moments galore.
The graphics are a bit dated, but this does take place in the 19th century. They were clear and sharp, and well drawn. The HOS are not overly junkpiley, and are not overly difficult. Not a lot of anachronisms - I only noticed one, and it wasn't disturbing, really. Somewhat interactive.
The music is very well suited, and adds to the atmosphere. The ambient sounds are also well done, and not overdone. I liked the V/Os, too. The old men of the sea/harbor sounded the parts.
Sometimes it is easy to tell where a game is going, but I didn't find this one to be at all obvious. The mystery will unravel in due course.
Three difficulty levels, I played the hardest, and there is not much handholding. The cursor will turn to a magnifier when you mouse over a HOS, fortunately. Didn't find all the map pieces yet, but I rarely use a map, anyhow. Haven't used the hints yet, so not sure how useful they are. There is a click penalty in the expert mode, but only in HOS.
The puzzles and adventuring are pretty logical and not taxing, though there is some to and fro. It isn't entirely linear, either, which is kind of nice.
The game filled my widescreen without issue. No bugs or problems with either the DL or play.
I will offer a snake warning! There is one scene in the beginning that will scare the bejeebers out of you if you are as snake phobic as I am! Fortunately, the snake is pretty easy to get rid of, once your heartrate is back to normal, LOL. There are also a few obligatory spiders, but they are not threatening.
This is definitely on my Monday buy list - if I can wait that long...
August 28, 2013
Maritime mystery, dark atmoshpere - I like it!
Its an old fashioned hopa game which is not bad, especially that game is well done.
I personally love the maritime or seaside stories, so the game meet my taste perfectly. The storyline is clear and straightforward. It could be a bit more deep and developed but it is no problem as the story is well told. Basically there is a ship with missing crew and we (as a Madam Detective) have to solve the mystery.
Audio and Video:
The graphic is very good. Hand painted locations creates really dark and mysterious atmoshpere. In some places you can almost smell the sea ;)
Some painted objects are a little blurry and locations little foggy but I think it fit well with the overall mood of the story. I would say that some parts are even too colorful.
Music is more ambient than a catchy movie score. It could be a bit more memorable. But after all it does its job and complements the visual art.
Voices of the characters are well acted (love the accent of the ferryman ;) ).
As I wrote on the beginning its an old fashioned and solid piece of hopa game. So there are hidden object scenes, variety of riddles and puzzles. Most of them are well designed and intuitive. The biggest problem is that the riddles/puzzles are sometimes bit too easy. That doesn`t mean they are no fun, quite the opposite. The gameplay has a "fun factor" without doubt.
I like this game, especially the setting and mood. There are a few minor cons but they are really doesnt matter.
If you sink deep into the maritime atmosphere the main problem appear - game is a little too short. Its only my personal opinion but - I want it more :)
August 29, 2013
So worth a free game!!!!
I played the free trial. At that time not sure. Took a chance anyway. So glad I did lots, of HO's I love that. I am very hard, on game reviews. I wait for games, beyond 5 stars. Please Big Fish don't waste our time on, stupid games. For our membership they should be amazing.
September 3, 2013
Loved No One on Board....didn't get bored!
Very spooky adventure with several surprises. The graphics, the big cursor, and stories makes me love Artifex. Kudos to developers. Solve murder with plenty of HOS/ Puzzles and V/O's are great. The murderer also looks like the killer in I Know what you did last summer (horror flick).
The ending was shocking. I had no problem complying with the murder's wishes.....PUSH!
September 29, 2013
From this day one of my favorite games, great story, scary places. Music appropriate to the story, interesting characters. Definitely worth a try! I hope more such games ...
September 11, 2013
Great Little Game!
Now I know this isn't a CE game. But this game was great for what is was, pretty simple, good story, good voiceovers,a chance for a sequel, just what I like. I loved it. Give it a chance, it is worth at least a free coupon.
August 29, 2013
a very good game
you're "madame detective " and have been sent to an island where people disappeared and the ships are found abandoned and captains and crews are nowhere to be found. a little girl's spirit comes to you and helps you some throughout the game. you find the ID of the detective that was sent before and was never heard from again. played casual, no sound. hint/skip charge in about 30-45 seconds. didn't time it. the mini games could be hard if you are like me. i had to skip quite a few. the graphics are good but some scenes take a little time to find the objects because of the number in the scene (crowded) but sometimes they are well hidden and blend in. diary and interactive map. sequel...i think so.
September 15, 2013
Love the art, story and gameplay
Based on completed game.
I'm a sucker for maritime tales and am often disappointed but not by this one. I absolutely loved the rougher hand-drawn art. Very in keeping with the theme and not over-pretty. I got involved in the story right away and it was truly spooky. I never got lost--the scenes were different from one another and you played between a limited number of them at a time. The hint button and all mechanics worked perfectly. I even enjoyed the shorter length as it made a nice tight package and wrapped up the story well rather than drawing things out finding more and more tools just to add to the length. I found the voices pleasant. The fact that I could return to a HOS and found the items I had found before were gone was wonderful. All in all an exceptionally fun game experience.
November 24, 2013
Maritime Mystery Will Keep You Guessing
BASED ON FULL DEMO
It may seem a little subdued at the start, but there are some very scary moments in the opening part of the game. This game starts out with a classic mystery: the abandoned ship with all crew mysteriously gone.
The introduction to our story includes cut scenes that are beautifully drawn, and I love the ?ghostly? ship. We are a detective who has received a letter from the mayor of Portsmouth, where the ship first set to sea, and then returned some weeks later. He and the harbourmaster have little to offer by way of assistance, so, lantern in hand, you board the strange vessel and begin an inspection. Things go pretty much downhill from there.
SIGHTS & SOUNDS
The graphics are a delight, top quality and hand drawn, but with a rougher touch which makes them significantly different from the ?pretty? art of fantasy games, but nowhere near as dark and dreary as other thrillers. There is a mistiness about many of the scenes, giving it a ghostly ambience while not interfering at all with the clarity of the scenes.
The music is just okay, but the ambient sounds are good, and the voiceovers are excellent. You can adjust sounds, music, voice dubbing. You can also adjust for aspect ratio.
There is a lot to do in every location, and there are a lot of locations (15 in the demo alone). The gameplay is old-fashioned these days, with only interactive lists for the HOs and well known easy puzzles. I really like that when you revisit a HO scene, the items you removed before are still gone. Hint is directional and has an almost instantaneous refill, as does skip.
The interactive jump map can be adjusted to show active areas or not, by the choice you make of 3 difficulty levels. Even on the lowest level, the sparkles are discreet except for the HO scenes.
At first I thought this was going to be mostly a HO game, but it actually has a lot of adventure tasks and objectives as well, and even the puzzles are fairly frequent, but I can?t pretend that I didn?t find it very easy.
I enjoy easy if the story is fun, and this one definitely has me. The action is logical but not linear, and I am intrigued... How will this story end up being what the ad blurb on this game?s web page describes it? There is a mere breath of a hint in the last moments of the demo.
FAMOUS LAST WORDS
Have you noticed these things seem to go in waves (excuse the unavoidable pun)? We?ve been having a lot of maritime adventures lately! Luckily I like a good swashbuckler, so I?m diving right in!
August 28, 2013
Short Easy But Fun - Review of Completed Game
STORY: You take on the role of a detective. You have received a letter from the Mayor of Portsmouth to investigate where the ship first set to sea, and then returned some weeks later with neither cargo nor crew. A little into the game a ghostly figure Isabella appears to help assist you and giving you some back story.
WIDESCREEN: YES (at least for me)
VOICE OVERS: Yes
3 PLAY MODES: Casual, Advanced, Expert. The first two have sparkles. Hint/Skip quick on charge up. Expert no sparkles and slower of course. Hint is also directional outside of HOS. I played Advanced mode.
JOURNAL: Holds notes, objectives, and map. Objectives also pop up on screen.
MAP: Instead of going to the journal the map is also right next to the journal. This is transporter and shows where you are and things to do except for in Expert mode doesn't show things to do.
HOS: These are found by word list and slightly interactive. There are quite a few scenes and some visited twice however a different word list. These were well done for me. One hint here.
PUZZLES: The usual run of the mill. I didn't come across anything new. Instructions are located at bottom or some of them are in your journal but pop up next to the puzzle and you just enter it in. Skipped two of these cause they were puzzles I don't like.
THE ENDING: This ended with a satisfactory conclusion however seems to hint at a sequel.
GAME LENGTH: This was 3 hours for me. May be more/less for you.
Well I really liked this one. Hooked from the get go and held my interest to the very end. I found this to be a nice mystery to be solved. Definitely suspenseful and spooky. This definitely kept me guessing. I loved the sounds in the game of stuff creaking. The graphics for me were really good right along with the cut scenes. I also liked the characters especially the ghostly one Isabella who does assist you from time to time throughout the game and she also tells back story. This isn't as long as most of the games I've played on here but still satisfied me and still seemed to have a lot to do and places to go. I'd much rather have a shorter game and enjoy it than a longer one getting bored with it and wondering when is it going to end. Oh and while it's not necessary but I'd definitely welcome a sequel to this game.
Thanks Big Fish and Developer for a very good game.
As always, give it a whirl and decide for yourself.
August 28, 2013