Richard & Alice (PC review)

r&amainAs heavy snow falls with no signs of stopping, people are left to fend for themselves as little to no help arrives. Richard & Alice: An Indie Adventure Game by Owl Cave has you discovering the story of two prisoners set in a futuristic prison in this simple point and click game. Slowly, you’ll discover the secrets of Richard and Alice and just how far someone will go to survive.

Though the game is short, the story is what makes this game. With simple graphics and simple commands, you maneuver either Richard or Alice as the game progresses. In prison, you mainly control Richard with small tasks that allow the story to continue (like sharing a photo to Alice or turning down the temperature) and you control Alice as she tells her story that lead her to prison.

Richard--Alice-4The simplistic artwork sets the tone of the game, giving a 16-bit era feel. With no vocals and very few sound effects and music, the game itself feels dated in the era of graphics. Controls are very simple, as with most point-and-click games; you just click to move and gather items. The puzzles are made simple to progress the story, but are troublesome due to the slow nature the characters walk. Despite this, the story is what grabs you and gets you wanting to find everything out.

As it begins, Richard finds a new cellmate across from his. Used to being alone, Richard starts to talk to his new cellmate, Alice. As curious as ever, Richard probes Alice and questions why she is in prison. Alice’s story is told in several flashbacks, which reveals her son, Barney. Since the snowfall, Alice and Barney have been attempting to survive on their own, at one point being trapped by an unknown man who offered help. The storytelling really captures the struggles Alice and Barney face with their escape and search for shelter.

Just before each flashback, Richard attempts small talk with Alice and performs small tasks that lead to their eventual escape. Though it feels at times that Richard’s side stalls the story, the details of his side give small hints which reveal just how connected the two prisoners really are.

A short but engaging story, Richard & Alice reminds us that graphics aren’t everything when the story can stir your emotions.

Rating: 3.5/5

NR 3_5 Atoms - B-

Richard & Alice: An Indie Adventure Game is available on Steam June 5, 2014

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