Length - Medium
Engine - AGS
Suitability Factors - N/A
In Atapi, the player is cast as Oko Bokog, a Sakwa fisherman with a horrendous past. His life has been given hope and meaning by his adopted human daughter, Kiri, however when other humans in his village start to contract a mysterious illness, Oko must seek out a Hromu healer to help provide a cure. Oko must also look out for Kiri, and try and make sure she doesn't develop the same condition.
An area I would have liked to have seen developed further is the description and explanation of the character races, how they're connected, whether they're considered equals etc etc. This would have provided more depth and back-story to the game-world allowing for a better understanding of the story and it's protagonists.
Despite this, the story and dialogue is well written, and the personalities of the characters are believable thus making it is easy for the player to feel sympathy for Oko and his plight.
Indeed, Atapi is a good example of how sometimes a game can be enhanced by not including humour. The game takes itself seriously and the player is more immersed in the story and game-world as a result. The story and characters involved would have appeared disingenuous had the game been littered with wisecracks and references to adventure games past. The developer instead does a very good job of maintaining sincerity, a must if this type of story is to be pulled off.
The use of sound also helps to provides extra atmosphere. The music is good and although the sound effects are apparently not original, they perfectly fit the game's setting.
A possible repellent for players however may be the game's visuals. Despite the excellent choice of locations, the grainy photographic backgrounds will not be to everyone's liking. It's hard to criticise too much though because they do provide the necessary ambiance of the game just fine.
Where it's easier to criticise the visuals however is with regards to their effect on the gameplay. Finding items needed to progress can prove to be somewhat more tricky that it should be, thus making the backgrounds an unintentional obstacle for the player to overcome
As for the nature of the puzzles, the game starts off with a simple shopping list quest, i.e. you're given several items to find and retrieve for another character. Initially the next quest seems like it might be more of the same, however things don't turn out to be so simple. In order to communicate with the various 'Atapi' the player must get to grips with their language which consists of various symbols. Initially this can seem quite daunting, however discovering the words and phrases that each Atapi will respond to is really quite rewarding.
I liked this game, it's genuine atmosphere and sincere characters provide for an enjoyable and immersive experience. However, some more in-depth information about the world and it's inhabitants would have added considerably to Atapi's appeal. As it stands, I feel the game is only scratching the surface of what could be a very interesting fantasy story - hopefully the sequel will provide more meat to it's bones.
- Very well developed and believable atmosphere
- Sincere story and characters
- Interesting symbol/language puzzles
- Scope for wider story not really capitalised on
- Backgrounds may put some people off
- Some items difficult to find
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