1112 Episode 01 is the first installment in what Agharta Studios hopes to make a dark series of mystery/puzzles games for the iPhone. The game is a point-and-click adventure that lays out the setting for this alternate-universe story. Unfortunately, 1112 is plagued by bad writing, confusing puzzle layout, and a healthy dose of flat-out nonsense. There are a couple of redeeming qualities but at the bottom line, this game is kind of a bomb.
- “Fully Interactive Environments”
The App Store description states that players will have “full interaction with all visible objects.” In this game “fully interactive” amounts to click an object, choose from a few actions that could be carried out with that object, and 95% of the time have your character refuse to perform that action for an absurd reason. On the upshot, pretty much everything you see is clickable.
- Interactive Inventory
Use inventory items together, or rotate them in 3D to get a different view on the item. In exactly one case, this enables you to perform an action you wouldn’t be able to otherwise. In exactly one separate case, this gives you the information you need to solve a puzzle. Beyond those two instances, this is a feature with wasted potential.
- In-Depth Help Menu
The help system in the main menu tells you a lot about how to play the game. Unfortunately, this can’t be accessed in-game, which makes it a pain to reference on the fly.
- Hand-drawn Artwork
This is where the game shines. The visuals are very well done, and the art style is something that really would have immersed me in the game if the rest of it wasn’t so awful. I honestly don’t recall if there was more than one music piece in the game, but the one I remember was pretty good.
There is genuine intent behind this game. Agharta Studios is trying to weave an interesting tale, and I appreciate that. The artwork is very well done and was probably the best part of the entire game. While the writing is nowhere near technically good, it does do a decent job of creating an atmosphere of unease and weirdness. On the other hand, that may have just been my disbelief at the strangeness of some of the character responses.
At the very least, the game worked. I didn’t encounter any bugs or crashes, and all features worked as intended. The problem was figuring out how the features were intended to work! There was some kind of autosaving going on, because whenever I left the game, I came back at the same screen I was previously on. If the game had been technically broken, I likely would not have made it to the end.
Oh, man. I was looking forward to this game, because by my thinking a point and click puzzle/adventure game would be very well suited to the iPhone. Sadly, the execution here is just bad. The idea of fully interactive environments is really cool, but the game just makes excuses instead of allowing players to really interact with anything. My favorite excuse was when I tried to take a painting off the wall. Louis (the main character) says “My pants are too tight for that.” What?!
From the App Store description, this game is supposed to be a mystery story. While 1112 is going to be episodic, meaning the story will continue, this is a terrible start. The first truly strange thing happened within the last 5 minutes of the game – the game lasted about 2 1/2 hours. Most of what you’ll do in the game amounts to aiding the main character in getting up and going to work.
In many of the puzzles throughout the game, it was unclear what I was supposed to do. In the rest, even though I knew what my goal was, I was still confused. I’m not being intentionally dense here, but the combination of vague dialog and a frustrating lack of real interactivity made it tough to make it through the game. There were a few puzzles that were sort of clever, but the frustration of figuring them out diluted my appreciation considerably.
I appreciate the intent here and with work 1112 could be a great series. That said, This game is a mess. Episode 01 suffers from poor puzzle construction, strange and confusing dialog, and to be honest most of what you’re doing in the game is very mundane. The odd responses to attempted interactions might be funny to some, but that doesn’t cover for the fact that most of them are total cop-outs. This game is absolutely NOT worth eight dollars, and I can’t recommend that you buy it. I will try to review the next episode, so check back to see if the implementation improves. Otherwise, steer clear.