This game is fun but challenging due to the lack of clues on where to go and what to do. I bought this game with no idea about any link to any other game as other reviewers have said. For me this was a brand new game to play and I had no pre-expectations. The game installed on my vista pc with no need for any online activation and the disc wasn’t necessary after I’d installed the game.
The game itself has a menu that allows you to play the game or see the manual. If you’ve never played this game or any other type of point and click adventure game then I’d really advise you to keep referring to the manual as the game is impossible to play without it. The main problem with the gameplay is that there’s no initial instructions on how to play. With most games you can either keep being told where to look for something, or where to click, or at least be introduced to the game with a tutorial-style start and most games also give you a hint button. But NOT with this game. You start the game and are left to work out how to play yourself. You have an inventory and can click on walls, and things but initially I had no idea what I was doing and no idea how to play.
The manual talks you through step by step each section of the game. Of course you can explore the areas in your own time and choose where to go first (within reason) and work things out for yourself but without referring back to this manual again and again you can sometimes get completely stuck and with no hint button there’s no chance of being guided to where to search or what to use next.
The gameplay, once you get around what to do, is actually quite good. You explore the world pretty much as described in the original book. You find similar worlds and the overall atmosphere and graphics are good. The storyline once you get deeper into the game also gets much better and I really enjoyed the weirdness and interacting with characters. The game also has a good ending but all the while I feel that if only a proper hint button to give you a real clue had been there it would have made for far better gameplay than constantly exiting to the menu to read the walkthrough manual.
I’ve given this a 4 star rating as once you get into the game and get used to how to play you do seem to develop a sense and know where to click and what to do, but I was tempted to put a 3 due to the lack of decent hints in-game. I’d recommend this game to anyone who has patience and to anyone who likes the original story of Journey to the Centre of the Earth as it does suck you in and the whole atmosphere is good. And although there is nothing gruesome or nasty for little kids, I’m not sure the 7+ rating is good as at that age I don’t think I could have worked out what to do without a proper hint button. Perhaps adults and older kids would appreciate the game more, just beware, again, of the lack of clues.