David Tanguay's Game Reviews
Last update: 2009 June 14
These are reviews of most of the adventure games I have played (or replayed)
since 1994 or so, when I found myself with an empty web site.
The reviews use a framework and terminology defined in a little
on the nature of adventure games. Some people have lives, I hear ...
If it makes any sense to you, you're not one of them.
Note that the reviews, qualifications, and rankings are subject to change.
As I review more games I may decide to reconsider my evaluations to make for
a more informative and consistent assessment.
- Sorted alphabetically
All the completed reviews in alphabetical order.
- Sorted by rating
All the games (including pending reviews) ranked from highest to lowest.
It should help to give you an idea of my tastes.
The scale is from -5 to +5, where 0 is an enjoyable but middling game.
Anything from -2 on up is worth playing.
I actually rank the games first, then slide the rating to fit.
Please bear in mind that the rating scale does not map directly into the
common 1 (or 0) to 10 grading scale.
- Pending reviews
Games in the review queue. I've played them all, but I'm a bit lazy when it
comes to writing. There may be spoiler-ridden specific comment pages and
solutions hanging off the mostly-empty review pages. Or maybe not, or maybe the
links will be broken. Also, all comments and evaluations here are not only
subject to change, but are likely to change.
- My Biases
Some of my biases, to give you some idea of why I rated the games as I did.
- Special Consideration
Some games don't match up well with my standard for the ideal adventure, but
they do something well that makes me want to recommend them beyond my review
- Interactive Fiction
These really aren't adventures, nor are they trying to be. It's not fair to
look at them as adventures, but I also don't want to get involved in
excessive classification and consideration of frequently questionable intent.
These games probably count as interactive fiction in some form, but they
seriously lack in some key aspects of adventure games, such as not being a
game at all. These reviews and ratings consider only the story, its flow, its
presentation, and its fun.
2009 June 14
2009 May 31
Aurora: The Secret Within
2009 February 08
The Labyrinth of Time
2008 March 02
Rex Nebular and the Cosmic Gender Bender
Some of My Biases
Eye candy doesn't mean much to me. An effective immersion does, but that can
be done with quality (text or graphics), and doesn't require high resolution.
Similarly, I'm drawn to the story and will gladly overlook poor acting and
The story should be interesting. It may be funny, or scary, or intriguing, etc.
I don't care if it's new to the medium: a cliché is a cliché.
A story so bad that it wouldn't even rank as a bad B movie doesn't miraculously
become good because it is now a computer game (e.g., Phantasmagoria, Daedalus
Along with the story I want a good puzzle. A great puzzle is one where you
kick yourself afterwards for having such a hard time solving. A poor puzzle
is either silly (and not funny)
(see the essay),
too easy, or lacking in originality. The percentage of good puzzles isn't
important, just the quantity.
The challenges and the story should be relevant to each other. The 7th Guest is
a good counter-example to this relevance. Some people refer to this as
I don't like quick-clicking arcade action dropped into an otherwise
sedate game. It's okay if the action permeates the game, an action-adventure
like Ecstatica and the Twinsen games, but you probably won't ever find any of
those kind of games here.
The Daedalus Encounter's Krynn shooting episode is a bad use of arcade action,
as is Gabriel Knight's zombies.
The early King's Quests also illustrate this dislike: you have to
dodge monsters and carefully climb stairs.
Finally, my audience is me. I hold the games up to my idea of a perfect
adventure game. If the game drifts too far off my idiosyncratic standard of
adventure, it will probably fare poorly in my review, even if the world
considers it a great game, even if I consider it a great game. For example,
Civilization would rate a -5; it just isn't an adventure game.
Similarly, games for a very different audience will suffer in my ratings
-- this particularly affects games intended for children and novices.
The following games might be weak in the gameplay department, but they are
very good stories that use the medium well. They are excellent choices for
If your interest is primarily in puzzles, and you're not too concerned about
story, or the integration of story and challenges, then you should try:
Games intended for children don't want to frustrate their audience, so they
lean more towards exploration, less towards problem solving. These games are
good ways to brainwash your munchkins into a life of adventuring.
What? I don't know adventure from pong?
Want to explain why I'm a flaming idiot for rating your favourite game nine
points below the worst drek committed to bytes?
Well, you can eat your shorts or mail