A good first effort by an amateur developer
You won’t find fancy 3D graphics or a fully orchestrated musical score in this game. Made by a young, independent entrepreneur as his introduction into the gaming industry, Passage is a very good first effort.
What the game lacks in polish it makes up for in the story. There is an evil menace threatening Riff and his world, a royal family with a lovely young princess and even a hint of romance. As the story unfolds, you will find yourself caring what happens to the world of Arkane and all who live in it.
All of the challenges Riff encounters are either conversation or object based. There are no real “puzzles” as we have come to know them, but you will be challenged nonetheless. Most of the problems can be solved with common sense, but there are a few that take a bit more imagination and whimsy to solve.
Looking at the screenshots, you can tell the scenes were hand drawn and then color enhanced. As others have said, the atmosphere is very reminiscent of early Kings Quest adventures, and I agree. What is different is that this is a Windows point-and-click game, so you won’t need to type in commands on the keyboard. All actions are handled via menus, whether it be for looking at or using objects or talking to other characters. You are able to combine objects and look at each inventory item in a close-up, zoomed view – and even interact with some of them. Because there are no voices, the entire story is presented in text so be prepared to do a great amount of reading.
As you play Passage, you will be reminded how much power music really has in a game. The music enhances the story so much that it is an integral part in the total enjoyment of playing it. The musicians are to be complimented for such a sweet and delightful score. Because there are no voices, the music is even more important in establishing the right mood as the tale is told.
Overall, I enjoyed playing Passage. Because it is an amateur game, I ignored the few misspelled words and was not surprised when glitches appeared. In a few instances a reboot was necessary, but I was able to restore a previous game and continue on.
The Bottom Line
Don’t expect the quality of this game to be as good as other commercially produced games. If you take it at face value, you will find that the sweet and compelling story more than compensates for the lack of glitz. I think you’ll agree that Passage is a game worth playing, especially for fans of 3rd person adventures.