Richard and Alice

In all honesty, I’m not sure what to write about Richard and Alice. On one hand, I dig this game because it spins a compelling, complex yarn that you’ll want to see through to the end. On the other hand, I hate it because that yarn hits too close to home for my liking. As a seasoned writer and critic, I should be able to keep my personal biases and issues out of a professional review but, in this case, I cannot.

I’m human and things affect me. So it goes.

Image

Hmm, there’s a ladder in this church. I wonder if that’ll come in handy?

The story of Richard and Alice revolves around two prisoners and/or guinea pigs who are imprisoned neighboring cells in an underground facility, The Typhon Project, as the snowy, apocalyptic world above them slips further and further way from any semblance of civilization. Why the world above has become a frozen wasteland is only hinted at and is irrelevant in the grand scheme of things. What is relevant is the relationship between the two prisoners, the eponymous Richard and Alice, who are both guarding some rather big secrets. One character’s terrible secret is revealed in gameplay flashbacks, if you will, and the other character’s is only revealed as the endgame plays out to its morbid, yet satisfying, conclusion. (As it turns out, there are three possible endings to the game. I happened to get the “special,” alternate ending…which is the most bleak of the three. Yay me. That’s what I get for being good at these types of games. )

In terms of gameplay and graphics, this experience is definitely kickin’ it old school. It’s a point-and-click puzzler with 16-bit era graphics. This is not a detriment in any way, it definitely works for Richard and Alice and, if anything, this style of game makes you focus more on the story, which is this title’s strongest element by far.

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There’s a metric fuckton of snow in Richard and Alice’s world.

The puzzles are logical and well thought out for the most part…nothing Myst or Riven-like here, thank Christ. There was only one puzzle near the end of the game that gave me any real trouble. But again, its solution is entirely realistic and had me smacking my head while saying, “Fucking duh. I should have thought of that sooner!”

The closest comparison I can make here, and you can take this as you will, is that Richard and Alice reminds me of the best film I saw that I will never watch again, Grave of the Fireflies. Grave of the Goddamn Fucking Asshole Fireflies, man. That movie stayed with me for some time, and not in a good way.  Watch it only if you enjoy getting repeatedly punched in the gut and revel in sadness and misery. But, it is a well-crafted, highly artistic film that I’d love to recommend…but I just can’t and I won’t.

That exact same sentiment goes for Richard and Alice as well; I’d like to recommend it…but I can’t and I won’t. So it goes, my friends, so it goes.

ImageRichard and Alice was developed by Owl Cave.

For $5.99, Richard and Alice will make you feel really real feels and nobody wants that, right? Go take a couple Zoloft, have a nice lie down and forget those bothersome feelings and emotions ever existed.

Richard and Alice is available on Good Old Games, Desura, and Indie City.

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9 Responses to Richard and Alice

  1. Xionix says:

    Hey I liked this game!!!! Also the Grave Of The Fireflies movie, guess I like stuff with low serotonin levels. You should watch Mar Adentro (The Sea Inside) is my favorite movie of all time, is about the story of Ramon San Pedro, a quadriplegic that is fighting the system so he can get the euthanasia, which is illegal in his country. That movie will make you throw the DVD, very sad movie.. A bit of a spoiler about the characters but otherwise nice review, you cant talk much about this game without revealing it.

    • Thanks. Glad you liked the review….but I couldn’t, in good conscience, recommend it. And it was tough to write about without spoiling anything; that’s why it’s a bit on the short side.

  2. JJB says:

    Intresting review there. Have to say if a game does go out to try and make you feel for the characters and plot in such a gut-punch fashion and, succeeds in doing so, wouldnt that be more of a recommendation than anything?

    • No…not for me isn’t. Ultimately, this game left me with bad feelings/emotions that I couldn’t shake and I never want to play it again…even though I admire the skill that went into the making of it.

      If that doesn’t make sense to you, I’m sorry, but that’s the best way I can explain my feelings about it.

  3. Xionix says:

    I think whats the guy is trying to say is that he get 2 emotional with the characters, that is so, that when something good or bad happen to them he feel connected. He did not recommend because he dont like the game, he not recommeded because the game content, the sadness. That its whag I think, maybe Im wrong. Is like me, I liked his review, but do not agree that the sadness is a reason to not recommend the game. That last sentence has the same enigma of his review. How can I like his review if I not agree with him? Maybe the next time the guy could explain it a bit more in the review if something similar haplen. Can be a bit confusing looking at it from an eagle eye.

    • That’s kind of it….but not entirely…and I can’t go into it without spoiling the game. The simplest way I can put is: it felt wrong for me to recommend this game because of the way it made me feel, much like Grave of the Fireflies, which I wouldn’t recommend for the very same reasons.

      • Xionix says:

        Now I”m as confused as the first time I played an Interaction Fiction, actually this kinda looks as one their puzzles. Well, lets just said you dont recommended it for your personal reasons, and, the ppl that feel the same way as you will be left with that bad after taste. If that not its, I give up, I never have beaten an IF that got no map (The King Of Bred And Patches is an amazing IF for those 2 ppl like are into that). You should review games that make you feel good, I mean, you do this because because you love it, is not a shore, is a passion. Not make this into your real work.

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