Sidekick High Review
Sidekick High Review
If you have an hour to spare, it is worth the time to play through this “old school” game that reminds us of what adventuring used to be like
Posted: 07/30/17 | Category: Review | Developer: CMMN CLRS | Publisher: CMMN CLRS | Platform: Windows, Mac

Genre: Point-and-Click Adventure
Release date: July 1, 2017

Back to Basics  
 

Recently, I received an email from Jonas Fisch of CMMN CLRS (pronounced: Common Colors). He was excited to announce that their new game, Sidekick High, is now available to the public at no charge. CMMN CLRS is a German indie game development studio that includes the talents of Jonas (writing and programming), Sascha Schneider (art and writing), and Bryan Atkinson (music). The team’s first game, The Diary of a Roadie, was released in 2016 and earned a #2 rank in Game Jolt’s Adventure Jam 2016. Their second game, Sidekick High, earned a #7 ranking (out of 122 games) at the Adventure Jam 2017. Based on these successes, CMMN CLRS decided to make some enhancements to Sidekick High and create a version that can be downloaded for Windows or the Mac.

Just Adventure was founded to support adventure gamers…that rare breed of players who prefer thinking over shooting, story over mechanics, and quiet over chaos. While many games have become very “high-tech” and often blur the lines between genres, the traditional puzzle-based point-and-click adventure maintains a special place in our hearts. Thus, an opportunity to be supportive of a small indie development team breaking into this genre is always a pleasure, and CMMN CLRS is no exception.

Saving the World … Almost 
 

Sidekick High  features six teenagers with superpowers that do not do much to advance humanity. These include sweating buckets, spitting coffee, morphing into a snail, and “partially” moving through walls. Since none of these skills is in high demand, this group has applied to Sidekick High where they will be trained to be helpers of “true” super-heroes. There is one small catch – enrollment is based on passing a test that requires them to escape (with your help) from two locked rooms in 60 minutes or less. The game begins with 3 teenagers in each of two adjoining, but disconnected rooms. Your objective is to unlock BOTH rooms before anyone can exit.

The graphics are hand-drawn in 2D with characters moving against a still background. The colorful artistic style reminds me of a Scoobie Doo cartoon. The voiceovers are professionally done and the dialog…well, it is what one might expect from teenagers. The experience is complemented with an original music score that is composed and performed by Bryan.

The game uses the mouse to select and use objects and the mouse wheel to access inventory. You click to select an inventory item which can then be dropped on the environment or combined with other inventory items. Overall, it is a very easy interface to master.  For the truly lazy adventurer, the SPACE bar reveals all active hot spots in each room.

Beat the Clock  
 

Puzzles are generally of the “find and use” variety with several red herring inventory items thrown in to keep you thinking. You must also decide out how to best use the “special abilities” of each character. Clues are revealed through dialog trees which can be listened to or clicked through by speed readers. Your first challenge is to establish a mechanism for passing objects between the rooms. Once this has been accomplished, you must then figure out how to open both doors that are each secured by two locks. The game clock starts at 60.00 minutes and it is game over when your time runs out (there is nothing like a “you have failed” message to build your self-esteem!). For the adventurer who is paying attention, 60 minutes is more than enough time to make your escape. Your progress is automatically saved when you exit, and there is no way to go back to an earlier point without starting over.

In the true spirit of transparency, I will admit that I did not make it out of the rooms during my first attempt. Initially, I did not recognize that a (rather large) icon in the upper right corner of the screen is for switching the game view between rooms. Then, both rooms went dark and it took me awhile to understand that this was a puzzle element and not a glitch. Finally, I missed a key piece of inventory and spent the rest of my 60 minutes trying to open the final lock with the wrong clues. Sigh…perhaps I can blame a lack of caffeine, as my “coffee spitting” super power is not fully developed!

SidekickHighInTxtImg

Off to a Running Start 
 

Sidekick High reinforces that the talented team of CMMN CLR has a bright future in the adventure game genre. It is a simple game but they’ve done a professional job of combining art, music, and puzzles to create an interesting (albeit short) adventure. If you have an hour to spare, it is worth the time to play through this “old school” game that reminds us of what adventuring used to be like.

Grade: B
 
A nostalgic return to the traditional adventure
+ Art, music, voiceovers and puzzles come together to create a worthy game experience
Easy puzzles with just enough complexity to keep some of us guessing
+ Very short but just right for the price point!
 
No negatives

 

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Trailer and System Requirements are unavailable
 
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