Saturday, November 27, 2010

Lost Horizon

Lost Horizon is a new point and click adventure developed by Animation Arts and released in late 2010. Even from the main menu it is obvious that the story draws lots of inspiration from action movies, and in particular Indiana Jones. And it has great writing and characters in gorgeous far flung locations throughout Europe and Asia. The only problem is that the writing can be quite long winded at times, but it is skip-able.

The story is arguably the best part of Lost Horizon; which is loosely based on the classic 1933 book of the same name. The game is set during the height of the British empire, with the empire in control of China (along with most of the rest of the world). In the game, Fenton Paddock, the main protagonist, is a lovable rogue with a heart of gold. He has been dishonourably discharged from the British military and is now a small time smuggler in Hong Kong. The adventure starts off with his friend, Richard, disappearing during an expedition in Tibet and Fenton going to search for him; But soon turns into a world spanning, apocalypse preventing, damsel in distress saving, grand adventure that revolves around the mystical city of Shambala.

While their are many good puzzles in Lost Horizon, many of them are very ambiguous. These puzzles often, at least for me, degenerated into trying every inventory object with everything in the game world, or consulting a walkthrough; Not that any adventure gamer is not used to hard and non obvious puzzles, and the ones in Lost Horizon and did not distract from the overall experience that much. One good thing about the games puzzles are the action and cooperative parts, which are somewhat unique and in the case of the action parts do a good job of projecting the tension and danger of the scene. Not that you are doing anything groundbreaking in these sections, just solving moderately normal puzzles, but they are presented in such a way as to drive the players interest. Additionally, their are no logic puzzles in the game, which makes it quite easy compared to many other games in the adventure genre.

The presentation was just spot on the entire game; Featuring believable voice acting, mood setting music, and often fantastical visuals to match the story. Where the visuals really shone was the more fantasy environs, the only problem I had with them was you were sometimes in really normal places and the visuals would then be quite realistic, instead of the cartoony over the top style of some of the more mystical locals. Another good point of the presentation, and overall game, that is worth mentioning is the length, I believe it is slightly longer then the average adventure title and the longest adventure game I have played in quite some time. Also, like too many games, the ending is a little anticlimactic, the last few “puzzles” are increasingly simple and would of been better even if they were only replaced with quick time events, and the closing cinematic was only an OK way to close off the game.

Things I Wish I had Known (Spoilers):
  • After a puzzle designed to melt/break some ice you are expected to pick up the contraption you built and use parts of it again. I do not think that I would ever of figured this out without a walkthrough, as every other time in pretty much all adventure games I have played the contraption automatically returns to your hand or it is no longer needed.
  • The end fighting scene that asks you to pick a fighting style, as far as I can tell this is only effects the cut scene visuals and any combination of picks will end in your victory. This really confused me at the time, as their seemed to be no way to gauge which choice to make.

A great action adventure story.
Some of the puzzles can be quite unintuitive.
A great action adventure story with good puzzles, nice graphics, and interesting locations.
Animation Arts
Deep Silver
Release Date:
September 17, 2010
System Requirements:
OS: Windows XP or newer
CPU: 2 GHz
RAM: 512 MB
DirectX: 9.0
Hard Drive: ~4.5 GB
Official Game Web Site:

1 comment:

  1. I'm looking forward to playing this one, loved the demo.