The Samaritan Paradox Review

The Samaritan Paradox, a relatively new commercial AGS adventure game by Faravid Interactive’s Peter Ljunkvist, published by Screen 7, is a story about a story. A refreshingly Swedish one, too. The game’s protagonist, Ord Salomon – ‘ord’ is Swedish for ‘word’ – is a shut-in PhD student of literature, rotting away at a failing thesis, with worried friends, until he chances upon the daughter of a prominent dead Swedish author.

Salomon, a hobbyist cryptographer obsessive-compulsive about signs, instantly begins to solve the apparent secrets contained within the dead author’s final work, “The Last Secret,” which also functions as the key to the writer’s complicated relationship with his daughter and family. And to a large inheritance that could also help Ord repair his finances.

As is obvious from the get-go, The Samaritan Paradox has all the makings of a splendid detective game; it has a beautiful look and feel, with expertly crafted (especially animated) pixel graphics, and a highly under-used locale in the cold reaches of the Nordic to boot. A philological adventure – who would have wagered? (more…)

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The Shivah: Kosher Edition Review

The Shivah 01In many ways, Dave Gilbert’s adventure game The Shivah, now re-released and re-mastered under the “Kosher Edition” subtitle on Steam and on the iPad, is a game of firsts.

Released originally in 2006, it was Gilbert’s first commercial game1, and, in fact, one of the first commercial Adventure Game Studio games on the whole. It’s also where his publishing studio, Wadjet Eye Games, got kickstarted (in a time before Kickstarter). Though the developer had already released other games, for free, like The Repossesser (2001), and Bestowers of Eternity (2003), the game that later became The Blackwell Legacy, it was this game that would become his calling card.

After all, The Shivah was the first AGS game to receive any real mainstream coverage, perhaps in large part due to its mundane, real-world setting, and Gilbert’s writing chops. Some readers may still recall, for instance, Boing Boing’s early snippet of an article on the game. Imagine: This miniature mention was – by far! – the most coverage that the AGS platform had received since its inception in 1999!

And as far as firsts go, it was – quite probably – the first game with a rabbi as its lead. (more…)

  1. Curiously, the game was not a commercially-minded title at first; the original version was in fact a MAGS contest submission that was then reworked – much like the Kosher Edition! []

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The Blackwell Deception Review

Start spreadin’ the news / I’m leavin’ today / I want to be a part of it / New York, New York
These vagabond shoes / are longing to stray / Right through the very heart of it / New York, New York

From 2006 to 2009, Wadjet Eye Games‘ “Blackwell” adventure game series provided three fantastic gaming events, each more popular than the last. The series finally culminated in 2009’s magnificent “Convergence”, which bordered qualitatively on those mid-90’s classics with its sense of place, atmosphere, intrigue and immersion.

The fourth part, The Blackwell Deception, now included in the ongoing Indie Royale “Fall Bundle”, was quite the cause célèbre in 2011, with most reviewers finding it “must-play” for existing fans, and an apt enough continuation of the para-normal puzzler series.

I both agree and disagree with this sentiment. Doubtless “Deception” is a great, great adventure game. Next to the rest of the series, however, it is also Dave Gilbert’s weakest professional effort to date (even if Richard Cobbett thought it best!). Although very finely tuned as always, “Deception” had one major, inherent flaw. (more…)

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The Blackwell Convergence Review

Dear readers, though this article focuses primarily on the 3rd instalment to Wadjet Eye Games’ “Blackwell” series, The Blackwell Convergence, we are subsequently also to publish a second, combined number on the 1st and 2nd episode. Please bear with me as we progress, in reverse order, to achieve some degree of relevancy.

Both parts will also touch upon topics beyond the make-up of a “review”; whether we should chalk them up to “analysis” or “discussion” remains open for interpretation. Should you agree or disagree, let us know what you think in the comment section! Finally, if you are yet to familiarize yourself with this ongoing series of adventures, I do hope you should come back to check out part 1/2. The easiest way to find out when is to either subscribe to our Twitter ( or to our RSS feed (!


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Blackwell Cartoon Shorts

Wadjet Eye Games, having fiendishly teased its fans for a good while now, have just published their first cartoon short for the Blackwell game series:

This might be completely uncalled for, but the way poor Rosangela is played for comic relief in the first episode feels slightly off-register. Not to complain about free laughs, obviously, but in my very generic understanding of the series, the depth of the cast goes far beyond what is on display here, and in that sense, Blackwell newcomers might be somewhat confused as to where the ‘true’ register of the game series lies.

While the assemblage of characters in the series does seem to contain some influence of the American sitcom tradition, I’m not so sure that situational comedy, at this point in time, is the best way to deepen the characters, especially since we are – forgive the worn-out turn of phrase – not laughing with Rosangela, but at her.

I’d love to hear what others think of the cartoon short, though (for all I know I might be wrong about this) and obviously for now I’ll have to hold my judgement in anticipation of the subsequent episodes. In any case, I believe the cartoon is a first for indie adventure gaming, and it’s always delightful to see an ‘extended’ universe at work!

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