My march towards internet-wide anti-point-and-click propaganda continues. There was no reason for me to expect that I would be crazy about a PaC game, but heck, this is Flight of the Amazon Queen, people! A game so revered in retro circles that GOG.com gives it to you for free upon creation of an account, which almost makes you wonder why I bought the port, in retrospect.
This is exactly the kind of game you think it is. Have you played a point-and-click adventure game from the 90’s? Then congrats, you’ve played this one. Have you never dipped your toes into the genre? Well, I’m not sure you’re missing out on much. While yes, it is a rite of passage to play Grim Fandango and the original Clock Tower at least once if you wanna stay in the cool kids club, most games in this genre are astoundingly bad: wrought with universally questionable design choices, frustrating puzzles, and terrible voice acting. Even the two exceptions I mentioned above fall into some traps associated with the genre.
But what does this have to do with Flight of the Amazon Queen? Everything. FotAQ is the archetypal adventure game, and to just explain that it’s a game where you click on objects to interact with them in ways that solve logical puzzles is simply not doing the concept justice for those unaware of what this genre is really like. I would say that if you are so inclined to dive into this genre, you could start worse places that Flight of the Amazon Queen.
The cutscenes and voice acting (which is pleasantly present in all instances of dialogue) have a definite camp to them, which is smart, because a serious title would crumble under voice performances this corny. Personally, I love cheesy voice acting so this acted as the main high point in the game for me. Our lovably obtuse protagonist is such a treat to listen to, that it actually provided as a major incentive for me to complete puzzles. He reacts to the world almost like a child: politely and simply, with an eye for the apparent and a slowness of wit compared to the other characters. He isn’t dumb, just aloof enough to have the entire adventure glaze over him. His lack of urgency for the goofy catastrophes in the story almost mirror the player’s, which actually helped me get immersed in the game’s world, since I could relate to the main character more.
MojoTouch’s port of Flight of the Amazon Queen is a serviceable one, with a fair amount of options and controls that translate well onto a handheld device. My only complaint would be that the hints popping up at regular intervals breaks the immersion of the pixelly graphics somewhat, and as far as I can tell there’s no way to turn it off. I actually prefer an adventure game to highlight interact-able objects, but when they pop in seemingly at random, it can harm the vintage feel that games like this conjure up. Games for Android are often fundamentally different when it comes to ports, but as far as PaC games go? Not a chance. Your mouse is merely replaced with your finger, and it’s not as if precision was required in the first place.
For those who harbor a soft spot in their hearts for the great LucasArts classics of the 90’s, there is no question you’ll want to pick up this game, and it’s unlikely that you haven’t already. If you’re looking to get into the genre for whatever reason, then four bucks for a classic title is a fair deal. Personally, I wouldn’t recommend it, but adventure games being a niche genre nowadays goes without saying: if you can put up with puzzles missing pieces just to get an enthralling pulp-magazine story, that’s nobody’s business but yours.
Classic Point-and-Click adventure game that is exactly what you think it is.