Finding Paradise

Finding ParadiseTo the Moon is one of those games that are commonly considered to be works of art. And true – if art is called primarily to cause strong emotions, to find a mental response from the viewer or the reader, the creation of the studio Freebird Games coped with its task of two hundred percent.

This small game, outwardly reminiscent of the usual indie made on the RPG Maker, made thousands of people spill the tears of the teeth – so strong, emotional was the story of how employees of the Zigmund Corporation create artificial memories in the minds of their dying patients and give them one more chance. to live life by fulfilling his last desire. Three years later a small prequel A Bird Story came out, but a full-fledged continuation came only now, six years later. And it turned out that it was both similar and unlike the original.

Man on the Moon

In fact, when you talk about a touching and tear-free story in To the Moon, I personally find it hard to hold on and not to say – it was such a conscious manipulation of the feelings of the players. Two doctors from Sigmund try to realize the last dream of a dying Johnny – to fly to the moon to see there with his long-dead wife, because once, even in childhood, they agreed to meet exactly where they lose each other. Agree, even a simple description of the plot causes a sizzling urge.

Kan Gao, author of To the Moon, almost immediately torpeded sensitive players to the deaths of close Johnny, with personal drama and tragedy. But to name this manipulation is not cheap in any way – there was a competently built intrigue with the cessation of catharsis, melancholic music, a lot of interesting details and even excellent humor. Well, how to resist this!

Remember and change

But Finding Paradise is a bit more complicated. The game does not try to immediately and immediately cause tears in you, but raises more serious questions about what is happiness and what makes a person happy, about the regrets we experience in our lives, about whether it is worth something to change, about the difference between reality and expectations, about loneliness and so on.

Eva Rosalin and Neil Watts, the very doctors from Sigmund, have a new client – Dean (and in fact in a coma) Colin, who could be seen in A Bird Story by a boy who is launching paper airplanes. So, Colin, unlike Johnny from the first part, lived a long and happy life – and what is his last desire, he does not really know himself.

He speaks to Eve and Neul about this personally, when they, with the help of their super-technology, plunge into his head and into his memories. It seems all came true – he was a musician, then a pilot, married a beloved woman who gave birth to his son. And yet, Kolin is worried about something, does not let go calmly, so our doctors must, having carefully studied the memories, change them so that they can help the client.

In the process it turns out that in his life there was another girl with whom Colin was familiar with his early childhood. In this, of course, lies the main nerve of the narrative Finding Paradise. The gun, which the entire first act hangs on the wall, draws attention, but does not shoot, in the second and third barbachates in such a way that it almost does not seem – with the ability to intrigue and surprise Kana Gao is still everything in order.

In the circle of memories

Free game Finding ParadiseAnother thing is that before this culmination and decoupling it is still necessary, conditionally speaking, to sit in the hall. It is clear that the fans of the creativity of Freebird Games are endearing in any case, and the very opportunity to get up and go is taken for an act of blasphemy. But here’s the beginners, those who come here, having not experienced the pre-magic To the Moon, may have problems and questions.

The fact is that the first chapter is very tight. Where in the past game almost immediately there were death, tears and drama, in the Finding Paradise, the first four hours (or even five), we observe quite banal things. Heroes travel by Colin’s recollections, see what he was, how he met his neighbor, who for many years became a best friend, how he studied music, how he became a pilot, how he got acquainted with his wife, how she made her offer, how they flew to the wedding journey …

During these 4-5 hours you can watch a couple of films by Tarkovsky or Andrey Zvyagintsev, reading Virginia Woolf’s Waves, or even starting the Joyce Ulysses – that’s really a real art where the same questions , which rise in the Finding Paradise, are said to be much more interesting, more complicated and more informal.

So, in any case, it seems that when you once again collect the key pieces of Colin’s memory and activate it in the mini-game (now these variations on the topic “three in a row”), important nodal memories, to go further. Yes, it’s diluted with arcade inserts in the QTE style and excellent humor (one parody of “Credential Father” at the airport is worth it!), But nevertheless, the feeling of being too long does not leave.

In addition, it begins to seem that you have already captured the main intrigue of this story. Indeed, in the Finding Paradise we move according to the patient’s memories not in a strict chronological sequence that corresponds to different periods of his life, but interspersed, jumping from, for example, from early childhood to old age or maturity and vice versa. So we immediately see a more complete picture of the life of Colin and roughly understand what everything seems to be.

Laughter and drama

However, the gun, which shoots in the second act, turns everything upside down. You begin to realize that without a long first chapter, the effect would not have turned out to be so strong.

And it’s already ceasing to be so banal. Especially since further fantasy Kahn Gao opens on a new one – here and horror, and some kind of parody arcade inserts in the spirit of Japanese RPG, fighting games and scrollers. Humor in Finding Paradise is generally more times than in To the Moon. Plus, some kind of pure Gikov joke, the reference to the “Creepy Father”, then the superhero comics with the breakthrough of the “fourth wall”.

All this, which is called, dilutes the suspense, makes history, on the one hand, less focused on tears and drama, and on the other – more diverse. But in any case, the final still causes a shock – perhaps not so powerful, turning out the soul inside out, as in To the Moon, but more conscious, subtle and adult in nature.

Play game Finding ParadiseI repeat – in the cinematography and literature there are works of art, which tell about the same things more interesting and unpublished, than the author of Finding Paradise does. But within the framework of gameplay itself, that is, a more comprehensible and accessible language, it is definitely a genius – few in this industry can write such rich, deep and emotional stories. Yes, someone will say that, following the variety and scale, having made the area more spacious, adding more humor, parodies and arcade inserts, he came up with a less emotional and intense storyline. But in fact, the story here is simply another – more complex and adult, making much of a thought during and after passing.


Bridge Constructor Portal

Bridge Constructor PortalIt’s hard to live in the light of the fans of the Half-Life universe. About the third part of the famous franchise is only a dream, and these dreams become more and more ghostly every year. Valve jesters, however, do not cease to make hints for a possible continuation – then the Counter-Strike: Global Offensive beta inserts textures with references to Half-Life, Gabe Newell himself will say a few words about the game with number 3

The Portal series, the action of which, as is known, also occurs in the Half-Life world, has just stopped in front of the magic trio-many would like to see Chell’s adventures continued into Aperture Science no less than to meet again with Gordon Freeman and Alix Vance. Not surprisingly, the public was very alive when, at the beginning of December, rumors of the new “portal” announcement broke through the Web. Alas, reality turned out to be more prosaic – the third part did not become closer. The new project is just another puzzle from the Bridge Constructor series, which is a gift from the Portal Portal. Many have even seriously offended at Valve – it’s impossible, they say, to do so with a great game. Whether these offenses have the basis – now we will find out.

“Give me a point of support”

The original Bridge Constructor is a fairly straightforward bridges simulator released over five years ago. The game got good reviews and some kind of popularity, but could not boast something outstanding. The gameplay is nowhere to go – it is necessary to construct a bridge over the abyss or a river from the handicrafts, and then send it a technique, ensuring that it safely reaches the endpoint. We had to build springboards, use different building materials, take into account the strength of the arches and the inclination of the roadway. Monstrous structures were sometimes erected for the achievement of the result, and the cargo could reach the finish in a rather exotic way – for example, falling from a multimeter altitude.

In Portal, as we recall, at most levels before the player is exactly the same task – to get from point A to point B. Therefore, adapting the Bridge Constructor gameplay to the reality of the original is not such a difficult task. Our character is the job seeker at the Aperture Science employee who successfully passed the interview and started testing portal technologies. We do not have guns (all the portals on the levels are created in advance), but in the presence of one to a dozen of truck-loaders, an unlimited number of bridge arches and pendant ropes. Loaders can only move in one direction, and our goal is to deliver at least one of them before moving to the next level.

Play game Bridge Constructor PortalThe bridge can be built anywhere – there would be a free space under the arches and canvas. But, by itself, without support, all this construction will fall under its own weight. In order not to happen, cardboards have been placed in strictly defined points of the support point – they can be fixed to beams and cables. Often, the location of these points is such that the simplest of the view crossing from one ledge to another has to erect almost from the other end of the level, carefully selecting the right angles and joints. In this plan BCP is practically no different from the other Bridge Constructor, but Portal gave the creation of ClockStone Studio not only entourage.

The most important and noticeable is, of course, portals. At one level they can be from one to ten and a dozen, and almost always at least one such “door” will have to go on the way to the finish. In addition, in the presence of energy spheres, turrets, lasers, accelerating and repulsive gels, as well as all the cubes loved by all.

The first levels are similar to the usual “Bridge Designer” – the difficulty lies mainly in constructing a durable construction without any exuberance. But the farther, the harder it is – at the second or third tenth (and only in the game of sixty levels) it is necessary to think first of all how and what to build, again and again testing erected bridges and ramps. For example, if the turrets shoot an open space, then you need to get rid of them using cubes or energy spheres. Often, it is necessary to invent plans of bridges to change the trajectories of these objects, and the cars themselves roll through the simplest bridges under triangular arches.

If we manage to reach the end point of our loader, then there is an opportunity to check the erected structure already for a whole column of similar machines. As a rule, such a task is not at all simple and often it is necessary to carefully measure all angles and take seconds, so that the column does not get stuck anywhere, the machines did not fall into the pit with acid or did not explode.

This was not a triumph

Previous Bridge Constructor looked like a typical mobile game, although it was also published on PC. The same situation is now. For some reason, the strongest potential of the Steam Workshop is completely ignored. So what’s there – there’s not even an elementary level designer! But it is precisely such an editor that allows such projects to live for many years. Records table? Forget it! A strange decision, considering the fact that the costs of building bridges are still taken into account, which we will not be forgot to report after passing each level.

Yes, and the levels of these are not enough – to go all is possible in a couple of evenings. Strongly break the head will have to do with the last dozen of rooms, where it is often more important not to even build a solid bridge on the way of loaders, and to control the path of cubes and energy spheres, so that they can open the doors with their help. Another sad fact is that most levels have one way to go.

It is noticeable that the developers tried to please all fans of the series. Here you design is quite in the spirit of the original (only remarkable “cardboard” humans are worth it), and branded black humor. Finally, GLaDOS also speaks of the same Ellen McLain, whose voice is well-known to anyone who is somehow familiar with Portal. Nevertheless, Bridge Constructor Portal can not be considered a full-fledged game on this rich universe. Take away all the mention of Aperture Science and the surrounding entourage – nothing will change.

Top game Bridge Constructor PortalThe discontent of those who waited for the announcement of the “real” Portal, and in return received a simple arcade on motives, it is clear. Of course, it is strange to demand a special depth from such a genre, but it is no less strange to see Valve’s solution so scattered with a franchise.

Has something succeeded? As the next BCP bridge designer is good; as a game in the universe, having a deep history and loved by many people around the world, – rather no, than yes. And if the interest in this project arose exclusively because of such a popular setting, then it is permissible to estimate it from the “portal” point of view. And here, alas, there is nothing to boast – ClockStone is far from Valve.