I love a good point-and-click adventure, particularly if it tells a good story. Wadjet Eye Games has been porting their old PC games to the iPad, and I’ve gotten to play a few of them (including Shivah, mentioned in this Core Dump column, and Gemini Rue, a sci-fi mystery). Recently I played the Blackwell
trilogy series, which features a young woman who can see ghosts.
Correction: I’d mistakenly called this the Blackwell Trilogy, but there are actually five games in the series. Only the first three are available for iPad, and the fifth game released recently for the PC.
In The Blackwell Legacy, you play Rosangela Blackwell, a reporter who’s been assigned to cover a college student’s suicide. Rosangela is a bit of a loner—when she gets locked out of her apartment at the beginning of the game, she can’t even name a single person who lives there. She’s also getting over the death of her aunt, who was plagued by hallucinations and often talked to people who weren’t there. So when a ghost named Joey Mallone starts showing up, Rosangela assumes she’s gone crazy, too.
It turns out that Joey and Rosangela have to work together to put send spirits off into the ever after—ghosts that are hanging about don’t always know they’re dead, and it’s hard to convince them otherwise. It’s a bit like The Sixth Sense meets Nancy Drew. You do some legwork, figure out what happened, and find the best way to lay things to rest.
Blackwell Unbound jumps back in time to follow Rosangela’s aunt, Lauren. You get to see her side of the story. There’s been a series of murders that don’t seem connected, but with some odd coincidences surrounding them. Lauren and Joey are on the case.
The interface in the games is largely the same: tapping on an object or person lets you either examine or interact with it, though many times there will be things that simply aren’t useful at the time. A lot of the game consists of following clues and figuring out the right conversations to have. You’ll also be able to connect notes that are automatically taken when you learn new information—make the right connections and you get new clues.
In Blackwell Unbound, you also get to switch between Lauren and Joey. Joey isn’t tangible, but he can walk through walls and eavesdrop a little more easily than Lauren.
The third game is The Blackwell Convergence, and the plot connects Lauren and Rosangela through another series of mysterious deaths. As Rosangela investigates this latest series of deaths, you find connections to the cases that Lauren solved decades before.
Although the graphics seem dated when you play on an iPad, there’s a certain charm to them (particularly for somebody like me who grew up with Space Quest and Sierra Games). The interface isn’t perfect, since you can’t “hover” the mouse pointer on an iPad the same way you could on a PC, but it works pretty well nonetheless.
There’s voice-acting for all of the dialogue, so you can read or listen (or both). It’s not bad, and gives you the sense of watching a little movie as you play. After you beat the games, you also get to hear bloopers.
Another thing I liked about these games is that there can be multiple ways to resolve a scene, and there are achievements that will unlock depending on how you do something. Can you get a conversation right the first time? Finish a particular scene without violence? It’s interesting that there isn’t only one way to play out the games.
The first game is $2.99 in the iTunes store, and the second and third are each $3.99. If you’re looking for an entertaining ghost story that’ll make you nostalgic for the good ol’ days of point-and-click adventures, take a look at the Blackwell series.
Disclosure: GeekDad received promo codes for these apps.