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Alum – Review

Alum - Review

Alum – Review

I enjoyed my time with Alum. The strong puzzle design is a high point and makes this a game worth checking out.


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Developed by


Genre: Point-And-Click Adventure 
Release date: May 21, 2015

It is time to step into another Kickstarted adventure game, Alum. Alum is a fantasy adventure game filled with evil robots, a vast Iceland, and dark towers which underlie an age-old battle between good and evil..


Alum is a delivery guy in the town of Kosmos. The town is surrounded by a huge icy wasteland. Heat towers keep the town warm and e-Bot robots keep the town safe. The robots and heat towers are an invention of Mr. Glym, now the town mayor.

Unfortunately for Alum, his wife Esther has The Vague. The Vague is a disease that draws people into themselves, and they stop talking. It reminds me of a parallel for depression. During his deliveries, Alum accidently stumbles onto a note from someone claiming they have a cure for the Vague. Since Alum wants his wife back, he searches out the person.

Alum’s search to cure his wife triggers a string of events that force him out of Kosmos and into the frozen wilderness. Lost, Alum starts to have an adventure he never could have imagined, meeting new friends and becoming a pawn in a battle between good and evil.

I felt the story had strong religious overtones, although it never directly presented itself as a Christian parable. The good guys are trying to spread their word about the Altruist and share their Rushlight with others. Sharing a Rushlight and submitting to the Altruist is the only way to be saved. Everyone without a Rushlight is viewed as stuck and doomed without it. I’m undecided if this aspect of the story helps the game or hurts it. At some points it feels as though the purpose of the game is to force one set of beliefs onto others. Both the ‘good’ Altruist and ‘bad’ Umbria are nuanced enough that with a slight re-factoring of the story their roles could have been reversed.


Alum starts with some of the best puzzles I’ve ever seen in an adventure game. They are interwoven in the story and unfold naturally while giving you just enough of a challenge to make it interesting. Unfortunately, a few of the middle chapters are lacking in the design brilliance of the beginning. An arcade sequence is added, and I just wasn’t spry enough to complete it. After a few failures, you are given the option to skip the sequence.

There is an auto-save feature, but it’s horribly implemented. Instead of adding a new save slot into the list of saved games, a single button is on the save/restore dialog. At one particular spot in the game, Alum is falling. If you don’t react quickly enough you’ll die on the ground. I died a lot, and kept clicking to restore a past game, which meant I had to play through a sequence where I wasn’t allowed to save the game. Restoring accidently also wiped out the auto-save. Saves were disabled in the sequence. By choosing a non-standard interface, the designers ignored the pattern of save/restore I had built up for years. It was a sad design choice.

The graphics suffer the same fate that many retro-games suffer. I wish someone would tell adventure game designers that not every adventure game has to be done in pixel art at a small resolution. The voice acting in the game is a mixed bag. I think most of the voices are well done, but a few feel very amateurish.

Final Thoughts

I enjoyed my time with, Alum and the game devs have put a lot of effort into bringing this game together. The strong puzzle design is a high point and makes this a game worth checking out. I’d play a new game from them without a second thought.

Grade: B+
Great puzzles
Cool fantasy setting – with a mix of magic and techology
Play as multiple characters while the story unfolds
– Rough middle section, especially the ‘action’ sequence
– Inconsistent voice acting

System Requirements
OS: XP, Vista, 7 or 8
Processor: 900 Mhz
Memory: 800 MB RAM
Graphics: Direct X Compatible Graphics Card
DirectX: Version 5.2
Hard Drive: 800 MB available space
Sound Card: Direct X Compatible Sound Card
OS: Mac OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard 
Processor: Intel Core Duo 2.0 Ghz
Memory: 1 GB RAM
Graphics: Nvidia 8xx Series or AMD 3xxx or 4xxx Intel HD 3xxx Series GPU
Hard Drive: 800 MB available space
Additional Notes: Secondary Mouse Click should be enabled

Jeffry Houser

Jeffry Houser

Jeffry's first memory of gaming was blowing himself up in Zork by walking into the gas room with a torch. Then he tried King's Quest on a PCjr and has been a fan of the genre ever since.Jeffry Houser is a technical entrepreneur that likes to share cool stuff with other people. In his professional career, Jeffry runs an IT Consulting form. He has a Computer Science degree from the days before the business met the Internet and has built a career around using technology to solve business problems. He has written four technical books, over 30 articles and hundreds of podcasts. Jeffry has published a casual game on Android, titled Igor Knots and the Magonda Maze.In his spare time Jeffry is a musician, writer, podcaster, and recording engineer. His first table top game should come to Kickstarter in early 2015. You can read his personal blog at

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