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Written by  :  Joakim Kihlman (275)
Written on  :  Apr 20, 2008
Rating  :  2.5 Stars2.5 Stars2.5 Stars2.5 Stars2.5 Stars

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Poirot without the moustache

The Good

"Sinking Island" is a classic murder story in the style of Agatha Christie. You play as a detective landing on an island where a wealthy jerk has built a huge tower for some reason. Only this rich jerk is now dead, and it's your job to find out whether it was a murder and if so, who is the murderer. All potential suspects have motives (as always in these kind of stories) and some of them quite unlikeable. All of them are clichés, which is OK in this type of very stylized game.

The gameplay is simple. Just walk around (this is painfully slow and clumsy, unfortunately) and click on things that are click-able to gather clues and talk to people. You then compare statements, fingerprints, photographs and other clues and try to solve the different parts of the puzzle that is this game.

The story is simple and direct, and it's not hard to know what to do, since all you do is talk to people and look around the tower for clues. For the experienced adventurer this game won't provide much challenge. This doesn't matter, though. The fun of the game is to just follow the clues and see where they take you.

The story is by no means especially good, but since you are doing all the detective work, it still is quite fun to see the story unfold. Had it been a movie, it would have sucked badly, since the characters are weak, the dialogue laughable and the mystery itself far from satisfying. The only redeeming quality of this game is that it is in fact a game. The simple fact that it is you who are trying to solve the case and not some bad actor on the tv-screen, makes all the difference.

The graphics are both good and bad. The environment are beautifully designed and most locations really convey a good Agatha Christie-atmosphere. The characters does not look as good, unfortunately.

The sound is good. The music is atmospheric and the dialogues are easy to hear, even if they are often badly acted. And the ambient sounds are good as well.

The Bad

This is a game where you have a very simple and good goal, to solve a mystery. The problem is that the solution is almost never satisfying, and this game is no exception. The ending is by far one of the most unsatisfying I have ever encountered. When I had finished the game I immediately uninstalled the game and I will never play it again. Ever.

The characters' looks are atrocious. They are stiff, horribly designed (the main character looks like a drunk designed by a drunken three year old son of a drunkard) and seems to consist of about three polygons. And they all have horrid hair. This is a giant flaw in a character-based game such as this. No character is believable since they all look so weird.

The acting is sub-par, as in almost all (serious) adventure games ever made. Why is it that the comedic adventure games generally do a much better work at providing funny actors. It is painfully obvious at times that the actors does not act against each other and that they have no idea what they are saying. They just read the words in an arbitrary manner, which sometimes makes the result comedic, in the wrong way.

The Bottom Line

In short, the flaws of this game are many and in the end they outweigh the good parts of this game. But to be fair I had fun all the way up until the very last parts of the game. With a better ending I could have overlooked the weaker parts of the game and maybe even played it again instead of just selling it as quickly as possible on e-bay.