A pensive point-and-click adventure game is the antidote to shaking hands and bloodshot eyes caused by Call of Duty. Sometimes you have to take a break from all the blood and mayhem to go on a journey where logic, and sometimes the illogical, holds sway. The Rivers of Alice is the newest iOS adventure game to sooth your aching eyes and reflexes.
Aesthetics are vital in a good adventure game. The graphics have to look absolutely great since the gameplay is so drastically simplified. Thankfully, The Rivers of Alice looks superb. It really embodies the hand drawn style that so many games have gone for lately, but perfectly marries it to more complex graphics. The way the game unfolds you feel like it almost is being drawn as you go along. The more you play, the more the artist frantically gets down on the digital paper.
The aural landscape is another thing of beauty. It is lovingly sparse that evokes the image of a slowly turning music box out on a porch of some lonely rural farmhouse. It beautifully sets the scene and pace for this relaxed adventure puzzle game.
Moving about is standard fare if you're familiar with point-and-click adventures. The Rivers of Alice keeps everything so simple that it is beautiful. The best feature they introduced is that when you hold your finger to the screen, tiny glowing orbs highlight interaction points around the level. Tapping one of them will cause Alice to walk over and open up your four interactions. And of course, you have an inventory which you can use to collect items and drag and drop them into place.
The entirety of Alice's story is converted through pictograms. No words are really shown after you make it past the tutorial. This keeps your brain working hard to sort out what to do next. It keeps you planted firmly in the visual context of the story and never pulls you away for cinematics with dialogue or bogs down the story in unnecessary accouterment. It sticks with simplicity. But, simplicity doesn't always mean logical.
The difficult part of The Rivers of Alice is getting your mind into the headspace of a somewhat illogical adventure game. From the beginning, you're locked into a sort of dream logic which has context within the story, but can occasionally befuddle you when trying to solve one of the many riddles. The problem with The Rivers of Alice is that you occasionally have to resort to the old-school method of rubbing all the items on everything until you get some sort of reaction. In an age where we can expect more intelligence from our video games, this type of absurdity isn't quite as welcome as it used to be. But, some fans of the genre will welcome the illogical nostalgic feel.
Overall, The Rivers of Alice is a beautifully made adventure title that is ham-stringed by the lack of logic that plagues a lot of adventure titles. It is a truly beautiful and dreamlike aesthetic that sets it apart from the rest and will leave you with a satisfied smile. If you're still a bit edgy from all the gunfire and police chases in other games, The Rivers of Alice will give your gaming soul the welcome respite it so craves.