Creepy factor: 5.5
Fun factor: 7
Replay value: 5
Puzzle Difficulty: 5
I picked up this game because it was made by ďGot Game EntertainmentĒ, who also worked on Scratches, which I just love! This game, however, is no Scratches, and it fell short of my expectations.
When you start a new game, Barrow Hill opens with actual video of someone driving down a road, (which I happen to think is cool), with a radio playing. The car breaks down and youíre forced to walk the rest of the way, but luckily youíre right near a service station. I assume that your character was supposed to meet up with the people working on this archeological dig, either that or he just happens to be passing by. You soon discover that the people who were working on the dig, along with everyone else, seem to have disappeared somehow and it all has something to do with the strange stones up on Barrow Hill.
The game moves along pretty freely, you can explore areas you want to first and go back to others. You move around the game in the order that your mind pieces it together, which is nice. The events in the game will all happen, but depending on what order you do things in, youíll find different things at different times throughout the game.
The graphics in this game are really nice, like I said earlier there was even video in the beginning, which I love. They also decided to use actual pictures of people when it shows them, instead of attempting to graphically create character models, which can sometimes end up not working so well. Some of the things in the game even look like actual photos of the items were digitized to make the colors better, like a digital camera, or a cell phone. I actually wish more point-and-click games used actual photos and video to work withÖ And even though some things in the game look like they were made using pictures, the text always looks typed and clear, so itís very easy to read. Also, all of the textures and everything used in the game are very crisp and clear, and the colors are very rich. The only thing is that, with some of the game, you can see the pixels and see some color diffusion going on; I expect this was done to accommodate lower-end machines, but it doesnít really take away from the overall look of the game, which is great.
The sound in this game doesnít actual consist of much music, but when it does, itís well-done. There are a lot of background noises, however, which make up most of the sounds in the game, and theyíre really creepy. Thereís always something rustling in the bushes when youíre walking around and sometimes you hear random whispers or crickets. The voice acting isnít so bad either, I really like the voice of the radio woman; when she becomes paranoid she actually sounds worried.
This game has a really well-thought out environment, and everything in the game relates to everything else it seems, (or maybe thatís just because youíre dealing with such a small area). Youíll end up reading one file to figure out what another is talking about and then relate that to pictures on the wall, things like that. So, itís pretty neat. There is no shortage of journal entries and things like that to read up on, pretty interesting stuff too, actually. Thereís loads of stuff to pick up and lots of item-related puzzles to figure out.
Standard directional clicking hands apply to this game and the interface has an ďactionĒ type of symbol that appears when youíre expected to use an item to make something happen. But, instead of dragging items to the symbol, or having the cursor change into the item, all you have to do is click them on a screen where the action symbol is accessible, and it will automatically use the item, (if itís the correct item, anyway). It may get confusing for a second, though, because in some portions of the game this doesnít apply. In some areas if you click on an item and a grabbing hand will pick it up and allow you to walk around to a place where you can use it. Or, there will be a screen where the action symbol or grabbing hand comes up and you click on an item in your inventory, like matches, and itíll pull up something for you to do.
One of the main complaints that I have about this game is that it may seem to be a bit too short, depending on how fast you figure things out, (it takes place all in one night). Also, that certain elements of the game detract highly from the creepiness, namely a voice talking about ďrestoring the balanceĒ. Itís very uncreepy to have a voice saying that repeatedly, and in such an uplifting way. Definitely not cool, guys! Oh, also, I donít think itís possible to skip the little intro when you first open the game, (you know where the title comes up and all that). It doesnít last all that long, but I usually prefer to skip over those after the first time of seeing them.
This game isnít as creepy as the box makes it sound, but itís still fun and nonlinear. Itís fun to be able to solve the puzzles at your own pace and create your own storyline. Also, the graphics in this game are really gorgeous, especially considering how low the system requirements are!