Where do you go when you dream at night? What fantastic creatures and unearthly places do you forget the moment you open your eyes? For Alice, her dreams bring her through beautiful landscapes filled with interesting characters, monsters and puzzles. This girl has one heck of an imagination and a rather vindictive subconscious. This is what happens when you have too much sugar before bed.
After “waking up” in a dreamscape and discovering half your house has magically been replaced by a meadow and a river – you realize something else is missing too: your necklace. After finding part of it and poking some sort of sleeping creature awake, you start on a quest to retrieve the four dragonflies that escaped from your locket and are hiding out in various parts of the world. It sounds like a crazy premise to a gameb but some blockbusters are built off less and this is, after all, a dream. Your search for the dragonflies will lead you through different screens, each beautifully drawn and filled with puzzles. Thankfully, the storyline is the only convoluted part of this pleasant point and click adventure.
Alice is, in one word, elegant. Everything from the beautiful hand drawn art, to the incredible soundtrack and the smooth game mechanics are designed to create a relaxing immersive experience. This approach is evident right off the bat when you load the game and realize there is no start screen, only a pajama clad Alice standing next to her bed and a prompt to move your fingers around to find interaction areas. The start screen is actually hidden in the closet and when you click on it you get the only four interaction options that are available throughout the game; look, use an item, walk or speak. Only some of the options are available to use when clicking on an interaction area meaning you actually have very few options available overall, but it also makes for a smooth, frustration free game. You’re free to concentrate on the logical and illogical puzzles while getting goose bumps from the epic music.
The puzzles are the one stumbling block to this game and I have to say, you can never really win with a puzzle game. Someone always complains that it was too hard or too easy etc. With Alice the puzzles were very well balanced and intuitive as long as you remembered to go back to the sleeping creature in the beginning named Sloth (who kinds looks like a baby stuck in a burrito). My issue was that occasionally, the sloths pictogram hints didn’t turn on the light bulb and I had to resort to molesting my screen to try to find the interaction points and figure out what to do next. This could be because I’m one IQ point above a politician, but I found it a little annoying from such a smart game.
The soundtrack for this game is spectacular and the music changes depending on what screen you’re looking at. The perfect blend of fantastic and hopeful music played while i tried to move the clouds to see the constellations while standing on a cliff that told me which lights in the apartment building to light up, when I said it gave me goose bumps I am not kidding.
Overall The Rivers of Alice is a beautiful experience that is challenging enough to keep you occupied but with such a relaxed vibe you can’t help but unwind while playing it.
Article by Breanna