Preview | Lost Horizon
Jonesing for Shangri-La…
Format: PC | Genre: Point and Click Adventure | Publisher: Deep Silver | Developer: Animation Arts | ETA: August 2010
LOOSELY BASED on James Hilton’s book of the same name, Lost Horizon takes you on an adventure to discover the fate of an old friend gone missing, and in your search leads to your discovery of the legendary Shangri-La. You’ll visit locations such as Hong Kong, Tibet, and Morocco, all during the 1930s, solving puzzles and facing Nazi soldiers set on complicating your journey.
Being a point and click adventure means Lost Horizon depends strongly on its narrative – and without a doubt it’s astrong one – but the audience this genre appeals to is specific, and the majority may find the pacing too slow and the experience too dull for their liking. It’s an inherent issue with point and click adventure games that is rarely countered, however, if you can embrace the genre’s style, Lost Horizon will pull you in with its interesting and well rounded characters, charming 1930s setting, and excellent presentation.
Indeed the presentation as a whole is excellent, in particular the hand-drawn backgrounds which look absolutely fantastic. Less impressive – but by no means terrible – is the voice acting. The dialogue starts off weak but soon the tongue in cheek charm takes hold and becomes surprisingly endearing, and on occasion a character will shine with good delivery of a line, making the initial short comings almost entirely forgivable thanks largely to a strong script.
In addition, the weather effects look great and make the experience more impressive, however, with puzzles revolving around environment interaction, the weather can occasionally hinder your search for clues. To counter this, an analysis tool is available which reveals all the objects that can be interacted with on screen as well as revealing the area’s exits. It doesn’t help much with the puzzles but is crucial to revealing all the possibilities you have for interaction.
The puzzles themselves follow logic and only require thinking that is comfortably inside the metaphorical box, although this certainly doesn’t mean they’re all easy. Finding the right items and combining them does occasionallychallenge your wits.
Point and click adventures are an austere genre, one where the narrative and its delivery through presentation are key to its success. As far as Lost Horizon goes -based on the several chapters the preview allowed us to experience – Animation Arts have created a splendid title, reminiscent of the original Indiana Jones adventures games which Animation Arts admit were their inspiratione.
The narrative certainly has potential and is mostly delivered well, and whilst inherent issues with point and click adventure games means the pacing is a little slow, with a lot of scripted sequences breaking up the puzzle sections and the lack of action orientated interaction making it feel dull in places, there no denying the charm it exudes which – if you allow it – will win you over. This update to a classic genre – with full voice acting, cut scenes, and impressive visuals – certainly works to make it more relevant in today’s market, and for point and click enthusiasts or those looking for a game that takes no shame in putting the story first, you needn’t look any further than Lost Horizon.