The Journey Down: Chapter One for Linux Review

very good
key review info
  • Game: The Journey Down: Chapter One
  • Platform: Linux
  • Gamepad support: N/a
  • Reviewed on:
  • Written by:
  • Show system requirements

The Journey Down: Chapter One is a point-and-click adventure that tries to recapture some of the magic of similar, older games, and it succeeds, for the most part.

Given the swarm of indie titles in the last couple of years, a decrease in quality was bound to happen. When the first so-called indie games hit the market, people thought that they were going to take over, in no time.

The truth of the matter is that we are all swimming in indie titles, but only a handful of them are worth the gamer’s time. It seems that the greedy publishers were also performing a sort of natural selection, ensuring that only good games reach us.

The only reason I mention this is not because The Journey Down: Chapter One is a bad game, but because I think it should have made a bigger impact. It was drowned by other titles that were no more than insignificant noise.


Installation

With the launch of Steam for Linux, this part of the review will slowly become useless, at least for games.

We installed The Journey Down: Chapter One in Steam, on Ubuntu 12.10 64-bit edition. Everything went smooth and the game didn’t require any special attention.

There isn’t any reason why it shouldn’t work, but other people might run the game in other distributions. If the game fails to start, you can always navigate to the Steam folder and locate the game executable, in steamapps/ common / The Journey Down.

Run the game executable in a terminal, with Steam in the background, and check if you meet all the necessary dependencies.

Story and Gameplay

The Journey Down: Chapter One stands out because of its narrative style and the story. I would like to say it’s original, but for some strange reason it reminds me of another game, Beyond Good and Evil, from Ubisoft.

The two games have almost nothing in common. One is point-and-click adventure and the other one is action game. The only two things they share are the amazing storyline and the invention of a different, yet believable universe.

The story starts pretty simple, with the quick introduction of the main baddie and of the heroes. All great adventures need a mystery. In The Journey Down: Chapter One, the player will be looking for mysterious journal that shows the way to Underland.

Besides the invention of an entire universe, The Journey Down: Chapter One and Beyond Good and Evil start with a common premise. The heroes didn’t pay the electrical bill and are left in the dark.

Our two heroes, Bwana and Kito, illegally restore the power to their business and are approached by a Lina, a woman searching for a journal that lights the way to another realm called Underland. Bwana knows they need the money and agrees to let Lina take a look into their father’s library.

It turns out the Bwana and Kito were adopted and their father left them, mysteriously. It’s the player’s job to find out how Lina knew about the journal and why bad people are also looking for this document.

Gameplay wise, The Journey Down: Chapter One plays like any other point-and-click adventure. The gamers are presented with puzzles, usually involving missing objects that need to be found.

The levels are not that large so the players will progress quickly, although sometimes it turns into a pixel hunt.

The Bad

One of the marketing phrases used by the developers from the Skygoblin studio caught my attention and I can honestly say it shouldn’t have made it into the description of the game.

“The Journey Down is a classic point-and-click saga with a black African twist.” Why they chose the “black African twist” expression is beyond me. If they meant that all the characters are of African descent and are wearing traditional masks, then the Jamaican accent of Bwana makes no sense.

Another problem with the gameplay is the fact that sometimes players will have a tough time finding an object. There is no way of seeing what objects can be interacted with and you have to plough through the entire screen in order to find what you are looking for.

Players will also find it difficult to identify, during dialogues, what avenues have been explored. The entries don’t change their color and it’s difficult to remember, sometimes, if you already asked a question or not.

The Good

The art style used takes us back to a time when game developers used to make considerable efforts to draw everything by hand. I'm not sure if they’ve used such a procedure in this case, but the graphics emanate a personal touch that is lacking in most modern titles.

A common problem of adventure games is that characters don’t blend well with the environment, but The Journey Down doesn’t have this problem. All the characters fit perfectly in the world and the animations are flawless.

The Good

  • The story is fresh, interesting and full of mystery
  • The art style is unique
  • The characters, the animation and the environment blend perfectly

The Bad

  • Sometimes it's hard to find certain objects
  • The dialogues entries are not underlined in any way and the players will have a hard time knowing what they've already talked with the NPCs

Conclusion

The Journey Down: Chapter One may be a throwback to the old days of gaming, but it’s also a proof that developers haven’t forgotten how to make exceptional games.

It’s a fresh experience and we can only hope that Skygoblin will decide to make the other three episodes. The gaming world is lacking good adventure games and titles such as these keep the hope alive for a dwindling genre.

story 9
gameplay 8
concept 9
graphics 9
audio 8
multiplayer 0
final rating 8.6
Editor's review
very good
 
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