Gamers of a certain vintage will have fond memories of the Point and Click genre. Back in the 90’s, they were exceptionally popular with gamers. Classic titles such as Monkey Island, Maniac Mansion, Day of the Tentacle, Full Throttle and Broken Sword all had special places in our hearts. For those with tainted and disturbed hearts and minds, you also had Leisure Suit Larry but that’s a different story… Crowalt: Traces of the Lost Colony is a nostalgic throwback to these types of games. In this one, you take control of Hugh Radcliff, an adventurer who is in pursuit of one of the greatest mysteries in history; The Lost Colony.
8 Bit Graphical Glory
The gameplay is exactly what you would expect from a modern-day point and click. If you have never played one, you simply point your cursor at whatever you want to interact with and click on it to do so. You will need to solve puzzles using this method and combine items picked up to create new tools and items in order to progress. There are no surprises, no-frills and thankfully not too many illogical puzzles. The game does hold your hand and guides you through any instances where the solution is a little obscure. One of the biggest criticisms of this genre back in the day was the inability to figure out exactly which items on the screen you could interact with. In Crowalt, with one click of a button, every interactive item is immediately highlighted. This is handy, but it can make the game a little too simplistic.
The graphics and sounds are charmingly basic. There is a purposely retro feel to the character’s looks and it adds to the overall atmosphere of the game. The backgrounds are well animated for the 8-bit style. You can see that real care was taken to ensure that it looks and feels as authentic as possible. The storyline is basic and by the numbers but that’s not a bad thing. The story, while predictable, is engaging enough to hold your attention. The writing has the right blend of humour and information to help maintain an appropriate pace. There are some grammatical errors along the way and sometimes too much information is given at once, but they are minor issues.
Point, Click, it’s all in the mind
There are a few minigames scattered along the main quest. These games can be a welcome respite from the usual puzzles which would quickly become repetitive. Engage in five finger fillet, fire rocks at birds, unpick locks and other various obscure minigames. Enough to distract you from main quests which because of their nature, can fall into a cycle of “get item”/”combine items”/”use items”.
With a runtime of about 4 or 5 hours, boredom is not given a chance to settle in. Crowalt: Traces of the Lost Colony is all the better for such a brief story. You can flesh out the campaign by collecting different artefacts which give you a little more information about the plot. It’s unnecessary, however, and you probably won’t go to the effort but at least the option is there should you want to.
Crowalt: Traces of the Lost Colony certainly does not reinvent the point and click genre, nor does it try to. It is an affectionate throwback to the games of yesteryear and would be a welcome addition to the collection of any fan of the genre.