by Joe Matar2
The Great Fusion Review
A pleasantly profane adventure for genre veterans.
The Great Fusion will feel instantly familiar to seasoned players of the point-and-click adventure genre. Like with so many adventure games made by fans who grew up during the height of their popularity, the cartoonish graphics, comedic tone, and (to some extent) the whimsical music seem to be an homage to arguably the greatest adventure game of all time, Lucasarts’ Day of the Tentacle. This approach is indicative of the fact that The Great Fusion doesn’t do anything hugely inventive but is certainly an entertaining enough diversion for those of us who can always play more of these sorts of titles.
It stars Max, a former hardware and biotechnology engineer who has found himself a member of the 98 percent of the population who are poor and unrewardingly employed in 2022. The greatest crime of the near future is the sharing of entertainment media and when Max and his friend stumble upon a copy of the original Pong, both the government and a crime syndicate that produces and sells bootlegs come after them.
Controlling is standard adventure game fare: touch anywhere to move Max somewhere or to select a hotspot. After highlighting a hotspot, selectable icons such as look, use, or talk pop up. It is a tiny bit unintuitive that you cannot drag your finger around to discover where all the hotspots are in an area, but must instead tap all around. This makes Max walk all over the place or can cause you to highlight hotspots when you’re just trying to see whether there are others in the vicinity. It’s not a huge problem as there generally aren’t too many things to interact with on each screen and there’s little in the way of pixel-hunting, but it’s not the most sensible approach. That said, the game still manages on the whole to control better than the Android release of Broken Sword 2, a much bigger-budget title, which is saying something.
Other adventure game standards in place are conversations with dialogue options and an inventory chock full of ridiculous crap that you can select and drag out into the environment to use or drag onto other possessions to combine them. The puzzles are mostly pretty easy. I wouldn’t say they’re always logical but usually there’s just not a huge amount to do in each area so messing around will eventually get you there. There are a few puzzles that reach insane heights and, weirdly, the major offenders all show up in the game’s first 15 minutes. For example, there’s one where you wash a pile of dirty dishes by coating it in cheese, soaping up a rat, and letting it loose on the pile. Yeah.
There is an in-game hint system that will nudge you in the right direction a few times before spelling out explicitly what you need to do, though it becomes inactive a little over halfway into the game. It’s nice there’s a hint system , though of course it’s not really any fun to just cheat your way through. I only really used it once myself (because of the rat), but then I’ve played way too many adventure games and am used to their systems and surreal logic. Probably the biggest problem with The Great Fusion is that it’s generally not hugely challenging for those intimate with the genre yet probably too weird for those who have never played this type of game before.
Another issue is that the game was originally written in (I think) Spanish and the English translation is not great. Being a game from a very small developer there’s no voice-acting, which is fine, but almost every line has grammar problems, leading to stilted, often childlike dialogue. On occasion, the delivery inadvertently makes the game funnier but I can’t pretend that reading semi-wonky English throughout is a real plus.
All of this said, the game succeeds pretty well on one of the most important fronts: the story. Even though the translation holds it back sometimes, the game has a charmingly cynical, profane, satirical vibe that it pulls off very well. There’s a lot of blatant stuff mocking the hypocrisy of copyright law and Max is a fun character: a sad sack who works his way through this adventure with a minimum of effort. Though the game is, again, admittedly not hugely challenging, that does make for decent pacing as the madcap plot bounces briskly along from rescuing your kidnapped friend, to robbing a bank, to revenge. Also, even though the art isn’t exactly original and the animation is choppy and basic, it’s very nicely detailed and funny, comic-book-style cut scenes show up frequently. The music fits too, though it’s nothing too special.
The Great Fusion isn’t doing anything new with adventuring, but it does a pretty good job with one of the most important aspects of this genre: the story. That it sticks so closely to what’s been established by classic titles will probably alienate people who have never tried this sort of thing before. However, for adventure vets, if you aren’t put off by the subpar translation and don’t take this hugely profane, satirical romp too seriously, you could do a lot worse than to invest a few bucks and several hours in The Great Fusion.
Summary: A fun diversion for those people who can’t get enough of the genre and don’t mind the translation errors.