Brian is dead and buried, and Gina must save him. More accurately, Brian has faked his own death to bust out of a mental asylum, and Gina must assist him. To do this, she’ll need the help of a dead Swede, an IKEA manual, a saw, a frozen glove…you know the routine. Runaway: A Twist of Fate from Pendulo Studios is a point and click adventure where the only thing more bizarre than the characters is the logic required to solve the puzzles.
What is it?
Quite honestly, it’s a game in search of an identity. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, because the search is kind of fun. But the game’s not entirely sure if it wants to be a throwback point and click adventure game or a romantic comedy mystery.
At its high points, it achieves both equally. At other times, it highlights the inherent problems in both.
How does it work?
Runaway: A Twist of Fate – Part 1 is plays pretty much like the classic point and click adventure fames from LucasArts (RIP) and Sierra (also RIP). You move around various locations in a cemetery (chapter 1), mental hospital (chapter 2) and cabin in the woods (chapter 3) searching for items that you can use or combine and use in order to find more items in order to reach your goal.
Runaway very much uses adventure game logic for its puzzles, which means no logic whatsoever. But once you pick up on the game’s methodology and sense of humor, you’ll find yourself able to solve the puzzles without too much trial and error. If not, a built-in help system will keep things moving without just handing you the answer.
The other side of adventure games is the story, and we have a very likable couple in Brian and Gina, whom you may remember from Hidden Runaway for iOS, or any of the games in their PC adventures. They’re witty and quirky, and that helps, because there’s a lot of reading in this game. A lot. It’s presented in dialogue trees, none of which seem to affect gameplay or results. All the tree does is let you decide the order in which information is presented. Charming at first, there comes a point where reading it all feels more like an obligation.
Is it contagious?
If you like adventure games, sure. Although it wears its game and film influences on its sleeve, Runaway: A Twist of Fate always feels very much like its own entity. The high resolution graphics look great and the touch interface is perfectly executed on the iPad, but the object finding and inventory management can be difficult on the smaller screens of the iPhone and iPod touch.
And although the dialogue can be a bit much, it’s easy to get wrapped up in Brian and Gina’s adventure. I like these people. They’re fun.
Because of file size (and to make more money, I’m sure) Runaway: A Twist of Fate is split into two parts. Part 2 was just released, and the normal $4.99 price for Part 1 has been temporarily knocked down to $2.99 to celebrate, so now’s a good time to pick it up. But note that players are reporting crashing issues in its current version (1.0), which I’ve experienced, too. It helps to reboot your iDevice before playing. Try taking the time to do that instead of giving an inaccurate rating in iTunes.