Platforms: PC, Mac, iPad, iPhone, iPod touch
Genre: Comedy Adventure Puzzle
Release Date: 19 April 2012
"Swiping the Lupine Twine Amulet was supposed to be an easy heist. But when I accidentally put it on, I ended up with incredible strength and the worst body hair problem I’ve ever had. Now I’ve gotta find a way to get this thing off, and while I’m at it, convince the city that their most respected figure is a crook, put up with a nagging, bitter ex-cop and try and stop my daughter, Ruby, from refilling the fridge with dog food."
To be honest, when I was first offered this game to review, I was not too sure about its fun level. When I checked out some screenshots on the web, I again felt it wouldn't be fun at all. What kind of fun could you find in a 2D side-scrolling adventure game compared to the gorgeous full 3D animated adventure games that flood the market? But my intuition told me to take the opportunity to review MacGuffin's Curse, if only for the quote with which I started this review. It makes the game sound different, humorous and out of the ordinary.
And the result is...incredibly fun and addictive. Frankly, this is one of the most addictive games I've played since Angry Birds was released last year. On top of that, it's a puzzle-based adventure game!!! Now honest-to-God, everybody, when was the last time you heard about or played an adventure game that is addictive?
MacGuffin makes a living by stealing items of value for his shady landlord. He steals an amulet from a museum and makes the mistake of putting it on.
This amulet gives him power to do shapeshifting between human and werewolf. The problem is that he's unable to remove the amulet from around his neck. He needs to find a way to do this while finding evidence to bring down Alphonse Connell, the crooked powerful businessman who controls the city.
In each room, you need to manipulate crates, a scanner and a lever to unlock a door. To be able to do this you need to think hard about your shapeshifting abilities. Humans can do things that werewolves can't, and vice versa. For example: MacGuffin can swim, enter a small hole, access the scanners, open safes and manipulate levers, whereas werewolves can move crates, scare people, destroy rocks and dig holes. The werewolves remind me of cats and are afraid of water; their hands are also too big to access scanners. That makes this game soooo interesting, because you need to use your wits to choose between human or werewolf.
Along your adventure you can collect comic strips and crack safes, and collect amulets (there are 15 of them) and money to buy furniture for your house. These are optional quests, but it's nice to have a fully-furnished house, a collection of amulets and a complete comic book, right? The progress of these side quests is displayed on a newspaper every time you start/continue the game.
So what makes this game fun and addictive? This does...
First of all, the controls are so simple that you just focus on the game itself, which uses a combination of mouse and keyboard. Actually, you only use the mouse occasionally to select things in the menu. The game itself is controlled fully by keyboard: directional keys control the movement of the character, the 'N' button handles all action and 'M' pushes or pulls an item. You just need to face the item you want to manipulate and push the action button.
The other 3-4 buttons are used to access inventory, menu, etc. These are listed on the left side of your screen. There is no time limit; no pressure at all. So it is purely a matter of utilizing your brain to solve all the puzzles. There is a map that allows you to jump from one point to another once you gain access to that area, which saves you a lot of time when moving around.
Second, and I think this is the best part of the game, it has nearly 100 side quests from the game's many unique characters. If you love RPG games, you will definitely like this game. It's much more simple than traditional RPG games because you will not be bothered by character-building at all. The best part is you do not have to do all the side quests to finish the game. You just need to stick to the main quest to finish the game. Most of these side quests are cleverly done. They are blended nicely with the stories and vary a lot. So you are not just doing "fetch-these-items-and-bring-them-to -someone" kinds of side quests. The result is that the game has a high replayability feature that you rarely see in an adventure game!!!! Is that awesome or what?
Two of the features that I think quite brilliant are the sparkles and the Quest Log Book. Sparkles on items conceal hidden treasures, so you don't have to click every single item in the game just to find something. There are hundreds of items so you just need to pay attention to what sparkles.
The other brilliant feature is the Quest Log Book, which keeps track of your quests and provides your progress in detail as you go through the game. The main quest is placed in the list of "Stuff I Gotta Do" whereas the side quests are placed in the list of "Other Rubbish." When you complete the quests, they're moved to "Completed Quests." Very easy.
The dialog is funny and clever. It brings back memories to the golden era of Monkey Island games. Some of the clues are hidden in the dialogue so pay attention to that. The game takes a long time to finish. I played for four straight hours and just barely finished 31% of the game without bothering to do all the side quests.
There are no voice-overs, but they aren't really necessary in this kind of game. The movies representing non-interactive parts of the game use comic-style graphics that are nicely done.
So after mentioning the game's positives, is there a negative side?
The biggest problem with this game is one has to connect to the Internet to play it. Offline mode doesn't work, at least with my version. The annoying part is that sometimes you have to wait awhile for the game to update. This update seemed to occur every time I started the game.
Then there are couple of bugs. I was unable to access the Precious Artifact Storage Sacks Room in the Museum at all. The game just crashed. I hope this will be fixed when the game is finally released. It doesn't affect the main story of the game but I couldn't finish one of the side quests without entering this room in the museum.
Every time I started the game I had to wait for it to update. I found this annoying.
I finished the game in about 5-6 hours without doing side quests. But when I tried to do all of the side quests, I finished in about 12-14 hours.
So in the end I give this game an A, simply because it is very addictive and fun to play. I am going back to my artifact-hunting now, and pray that they will make a sequel for this incredible game. I hope it will come with more shapeshifting features and unique puzzles too.
Windows 7, Vista, XP SP1 & 2
Pentium IV 1.2 Ghz processor or faster
256 MB RAM
1024 x 768 minimum screen resolution
350 MB available hard drive space
Mac OS X Snow Leopard
G4 800 MHz or faster processor
256 MB RAM
1024 x 768 minimum screen resolution
415 MB available hard drive space