key review info
- Game: Jack Keane
- Platform: PC
- Gamepad support: N/a
- Reviewed on:
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Everybody loves a good laugh. Up to a certain point, it doesn't even matter what makes you laugh, as long as you have this great privilege, feel good and forget all your problems or troubles. Probably it's just our nature to associate happiness with laughing - but this topic is far away from my specialization. I play video games, I love them and, following some sleepless nights when I wasted vast amounts of virtual bullets, conquered empires or won the hardest races while driving the fastest cars, I started to feel the need for a break. However, the "break" for gamers only means finding another game that is able to make you feel calm and happy. And since, as I said, everybody loves a great laugh, 10Tacle Studio's old school adventure game Jack Keane is nothing but the best option available on the market at the moment.
When I first heard about the game - it was still in the pipeline - I was a bit skeptical. The folks over at 10Tacle Studios kept saying that they'll bring back to life the old school point and click adventure genre in a full 3D world. And, for me, point and click adventures had no common things with the 3D concept. Take poor little Larry as an example (or, if you're into kinkier stuff - Lula 3D). Still, what I found after installing the game was nothing but a little treasure that definitely and unfortunately will not be appreciated as it should. And this, my friends, would be a real shame, since Jack Keane is a hell of a game.
The story follows the adventures of a miserable lad, a young and unlucky ship captain, Jack Keane. Having a big debt to pay to a very dangerous man in London and a wreck of a ship at his disposal, he doesn't seem to have many days to live. But his luck seems to change when an English agent offers him a job he can't refuse: Jack has to escort an English secret agent to a mysterious island that does not appear on any map and, furthermore, nobody knows exactly where it is. The Tooth Island - a place where an evil Doctor T is preparing a tea conspiracy that will eventually make it impossible for the Queen to drink her five o'clock tea. He has an army of trained apes and genetically modified plants to help him succeed and, eventually, it will be Jack's job to stop him.
If my word is not a strong enough reason, maybe the fact that a really beautiful young lady and a possible love story find their way into the storyline and bring some twists on the way should do the trick.
Although the game doesn't hide its intentions to have many common things with the classic Monkey Island titles, from the moment I started playing it, I got the feeling that it actually is a younger brother of Broken Sword. Anyway, if you have ever played any LucasArts games, you definitely know how Jack Keane feels like and how it should be played.
Unlike the before-mentioned games, in Jack Keane the puzzle solutions are generally real-like and you won't have to try about everything you can think of in order to solve a specific puzzle. Not to mention the fact that we have a gradually increasing level of difficulty ranging from way too simple at the beginning to a great brainteaser towards the end. You will most likely get stuck every now and then but that is not really frustrating since you will find the solution sooner rather than later.
One of the strongest aspects regarding the gameplay is the fact that all your actions are nothing but an "excuse" to bring humorous lines, events and so on in the spotlight. There are quite a lot of references to well known things such as the Nigerian banking scam, the violence in video games and how they affect people (check our screenshots to see those particular two lines) and so on. We have Star Wars jokes, slapstick humor and so on. The entire game is a joy to play and, even though some of the jokes might not seem funny for you, there are so many that you will definitely have a good laugh every now and then.
Even though you will control Jack for most of the game play time, a bit of variation is brought in by the few moments when you will control the beautiful Amanda - and she is, basically, the one responsible for most of the twists in the storyline.
A thing that I really appreciated was the fact that, unlike what you get in most of the point and click adventures on the market, your characters won't have to travel obscene amounts of space in order to solve the puzzles. And that is a great thing, since you want to play a game, not run around like a crazy person searching for some clues.
Unfortunately, the camera will cause some problems every now and then. Whenever you move, it moves too, always changing the perspective of the view, making it a bit difficult from time to time to run from point A to point B. And if you're in a hurry and you like to do things fast, this might stop you and actually become really frustrating.
Another strange thing is quest-related - not necessary bad, but definitely something that takes away from the credibility of the story and somehow influences the flow of the game. There was this time when I had to find a boat and I didn't, but the "to do" list acted just like as I would've found it and told me what I have to do next. So I completed all the side quests first and when I finally found the boat, I was ready to go. Pretty strange.
Apart from these two things, I really doubt you will find some truly annoying gameplay features. Everything is well done and you will have no problem playing this one.
All the lines are really well written and it would've been a shame if the voice acting had ruined the whole thing. Fortunately, this is not the case and generally the actors do a really good job. However, as strange as it might seem, Jack's voice is the biggest problem - he should've been English, but he has a strong American accent, but you can easily get over this. Of course, you will eventually get bored with his voice whenever you are stuck somewhere in the game and he will keep saying the same lines - but that is something you get in every point and click adventure game on the market.
There are also many moments when the subtitles and what the characters say don't match - and I really wonder if this is something the developers really wanted to do or is nothing but a mistake.
Just like every serious point and click adventure game made in the past, Jack Keane comes with some cartoonish and vivid, colorful visuals that actually made some of my non-gamer friends say that this is a game for kids. I honestly disagree with that, even though I am sure kids would love this game too and I really doubt that a different approach to the graphics would've suited the game.
Even though everything regarding the visuals is intended to be exaggerated, this is not an excuse to the fact that we're actually seeing the same graphics we could've seen back in 2004. The way characters move is sometimes far away from reality and you will see some lack of detail, especially when it comes to the static objects. And I still strongly believe that a 2D approach would've been better.
Nothing compares to playing Jack Keane online, on the official servers or through the Direct IP option. Indeed, we only have a co-op multiplayer mode, but it still adds to the replayability of the game and comes with a totally new experience that You know I'm just talking nonsense, right? There is no multiplayer option in point and click adventures, whether you like it or not.
Unlike all the other games that promised the same thing, Jack Keane really did it. It did manage to bring back the joy of playing and finishing a top quality point and click adventure that blends together humor and brainteasers, an interesting storyline and a direct, somewhat childish way of presenting it, plus a complete and varied cast of characters that bring to life all the known stereotypes you've already made fun of a dozen times already - and you won't have anything against this since Jack Keane doesn't try for a single second to make them seem real or to offer them some credibility.
In the end, it is a joy of a game that will prove once again that laughing and intense intellectual activity can go hand in hand, that humor can still exist even though there's nobody farting in an elevator or making funny faces and, probably the most important thing: that quality point and click adventure games still exist. Jack Keane is that type of a game that will be loved by those who loved the LucasArts classics, while it still has what it takes to convince those who began their gaming "careers" with Counter Strike or Need For Speed that this type of games are neither boring, nor a waste of time. Jack Keane is a must-have, a title that deserves to stay on the trophy shelf near Monkey Island and Leisure Suit Larry.