I have been on hiatus from adventure games, reaching this stopping point after playing a few indies that I did not enjoy and then playing the very enjoyable Gemini Rue. My patience for decoding adventure designers’ logic had reached its limit and then playing the masterpiece Gemini Rue made me feel like I had reached a place where I could freely invest some time in other video game genres.
After a good detox period the list of adventure games that had since been released got too long for me to ignore and I decided to play Arden’s Vale, an indie adventure that looked interesting. Screenshots on the AGS forum very much reminded me King’s Quest 4, one of my all time favorites.
A short adventure game, Arden’s Vale is a bit a fun. It has a very clean and confident art style—it knows what it wants to be. The game’s story is simple and to the point which is what I needed to play coming back to the adventure game genre.
I would not recommend Arden’s Vale to non-adventure game veterans, especially if you have not played Sierra’s games, as classic adventures are heavily referenced, almost to a fault. I don’t like it when games break the 4th wall and Arden’s Vale goes a little too far acknowledging you, the player.
It seems at odds with the game’s grim opening sequence which is not lighthearted
at all. Also, blatantly self-depreciating moments exist in the game when the
developer seemed to want to cover for supposed shortcomings—unnecessary in a
game otherwise so skillfully made.
I enjoyed Arden’s Vale
for a quick reentry into the adventure game genre. It gave me a few nice reminders of basic adventure game mechanics– at one point I was stuck in the game as I hadn’t thought to interact with items in my inventory. Arden’s Vale is a cute indie project and I am very interested to see more games from its developer.