Funky hot-spot finding tool makes exploring headache freeThe interface in Perry Rhodan couldn’t be simpler. The inventory bar runs across the bottom of the screen and stays open throughout the adventure allowing you easy access to in-game items and conversational opportunities. In many games of this ilk you can pick and choose when to open the inventory, something which I normally prefer, but you use it so frequently in this game - to click and drag icons as you interact with characters to gather information about relevant subjects, and as you combine items to solve various puzzles - that having it open all the time is actually necessary to the smooth running of the game.
And smooth it certainly is, as you move effortlessly in between your inventory bar and your multi-functional wristband (a futuristic PDA if you like), which flashes when new information is available and gives you reminders about the mission in hand, whilst offering a few, often subtle, hints when you need direction or help with puzzles. To be honest, I wouldn’t expect anything less in a point-and-click, but in this case the simplicity of the interface really does make for a more enjoyable, flowing, interactive experience.
The developer has also kept things nice and simple in terms of clue-hunting, so as you’re searching the handsomely furnished environments there’s no need to drag your cursor across every object on the screen to find out what you can and can’t interact with. Instead you can press ‘S’ on your keyboard which activates a rather funky futuristic way of bringing up the points of interest on screen. Whenever you press it, a lazer-type line scans slowly down the screen and then highlights the interactive areas for a few brief seconds. Okay, it’s not the most exciting feature ever, but it’s these small touches –and there are many - that give this futuristic setting a real sci-fi atmosphere.
If you do prefer more of a challenge you don’t have to use this hot-spot finding tool, but it’s worth noting that due to the amount of details and abundance of objects in each of the locations, this will probably add many hours of pixel-searching onto the already lengthy game-play time.
Most of that will be taken up through conversation, exploration and plenty of detective work. Along the way there are dozens of intelligently conceived puzzles to solve
Though the sci-fi setting is different to many point-and-click adventures and the objects that you pick up and interact with are of a futuristic-design, many of the puzzles follow the same vein as other games in the genre. That means you can expect to be solving the likes of key code puzzles and numerical codes, riddles and mechanical conundrums as well as combining objects so that you can progress. There are also some braver ideas, such as a scenario that involves a robot, a force-field and a sword (no spoilers here).
Despite the format of many of the puzzles being recognizable, there’s still enough variation in them to keep them interesting and they offer enough of a challenge to keep you hooked. Cleverly - and this may just apply the way my thought processes work and the way I approached the game - there always seems to be just the right amount of exploration in between each puzzle (not too much that you get bored, or not too little that you become frustrated) that when one does come along, it feels like it’s come just at the right time.