Not long ago I finished playing through the indie adventure game Shivah, from Wadjet Eye Games. I thoroughly enjoyed playing it. Shivah was made using Adventure Game Studio and while graphically is very simple, has a good story that kept me interested throughout the game.
You play as Rabbi Stone, the recipient of a large amount of money from a former parishioner who was murdered. He is the main suspect in the man’s killing but the police don’t have anything on him. At first the Rabbi is grateful for the money because his synagogue is falling apart but he soon becomes suspicious of the gift and decides to look into the man’s death.
Shivah has some of the best voice acting I’ve heard in an indie game. The actor who plays Rabbi Stone does a great job playing the gruff and gravel-voiced role. It’s definitely offsetting at first to hear such quality dialogue from a game with such rudimentary graphics. The voice acting of the other characters in the game are very strong as well and are perfect for the people they represent.
I also like the structure of Shivah which focuses on deductive investigation rather than object collection. It feels a little more “real”. You’re not picking up random items and trying to apply them to get past obstacles. While you do have an inventory, it isn’t heavily featured in the game. The bigger focus is on your “clues” which are words and phrases that you can use in your conversations during the investigation. I was stuck at first as I didn’t know you could combine these clues to form new lines of questioning, but once I figured that out, I had no problems getting through the game.
Shivah isn’t very long and I was left wanting more adventures starring Rabbi Stone. You can pick it up for a low price from Wadjet Eye Games’ website. Shivah shows that as far as adventure games are concerned, a well-written story will always trump graphical power.