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Journey – The Heart Of Gaia Review

 
Journey - The Heart Of Gaia
Journey - The Heart Of Gaia
Journey - The Heart Of Gaia

 
At a Glance...
 

Formats: PC
 
Genre: , , ,
 
Year:
 
Publisher:
 
Developer:
 
Final Score
6.0
6/ 10


User Rating
1 total rating

 

We liked?


  • Great variety in the puzzles
  • Beautiful, Interesting Art
  • Intelligent use of gating areas

Not so much?


  • Ridiculous difficulty spikes early on
  • Story is cliche, lame, and forgettable
  • Voice acting was atrocious


Final Fiendish Findings?

Journey – The Heart Of Gaia is a fun romp through a really gorgeous landscape of fascinating creatures and environments. While it does suffer from a cliche and hackneyed story and poor voice acting, it’s the high quality of the art and gameplay that has me sold. Fans of point and click adventure games, Myst, or who are just looking for a lighter experience and something new should check it out.

0
Posted December 17, 2012 by

 
Full Fiendish Findings...
 
 

Journey – The Heart Of Gaia is a very interesting game, if only because it intentionally turns traditional point-and-click/hidden-object games on their heads. The entire time I was playing, I kept thinking that it felt like a more vibrant, kid-friendly version of Myst. It’s got the same kind of gated-puzzle elements, point-and-click-adventure wrapping, etc.

The story is flimsy, cliche, and definitely lacking, but it’s something that will capture the attention of kids and engage them. You play as Liz, a young woman who is kidnapped and whisked away to Underworld. After saving some of the local people, she’s sucked into an adventure to save both Underworld and our world (Overworld) from destruction by an evil sorcerer. It’s so campy that’s it’s like a bad B movie: so bad it’s good. Sometimes suspension of disbelief extends to adult cynicism too. The writing itself is sub-par, but it’s hard to write an adventure story like that without being sucked into a particular formula or mentality. It’s certainly a good effort, and it shows in the sheer number of lines of dialogue. The cinematic pieces were typically a higher caliber of writing and story presentation.

Journey - The Heart Of Gaia

The art was beautiful and actually told a better story than story did. The lush, vibrant landscapes, the intricate and interesting character designs, and even the use of magic and technology was brilliant. It’s some of the best hand-drawn art I’ve seen in a point and click in a long time. The character designs and the technological elements were especially interesting, with lots of obvious Jules Verne and steam punk reference. It’s honestly some of the coolest designs I’ve seen, and I look forward to more of this kind of style from Waterlily Games. On the flip side, the voice acting was pretty bad, and I don’t mean so bad it’s good. It was so campy and poorly acted, it took away from the charm and wonder of the unique-looking characters. The music and sound effects were pretty spot on though, and I found myself becoming even more engaged in the environments and puzzles because of them.

Journey – The Heart Of Gaia has some pretty captivating gameplay. Between light hidden object elements, logic-puzzle solving, and exploration, it’s pretty engaging stuff. It actually got me to write notes for the puzzle solutions; not since Myst and other old adventure games have I needed to do that. And that’s awesome, because it meant I was so totally engaged. Adventure games don’t do that as much for me anymore, so it was a welcome experience. The difficulty scaling of the puzzles was a bit off in a few intstances; there were two puzzles that I needed to use the guide on Big Fish to get through them, the pebble-sliding one and the punchcard button one. I point these ones out specifically, because they occur very early on in the game, and their difficulty is unexpectedly high. This could artificially create a choke-point in pacing and flow, and might disrupt people enough that they take a break from the game. There was even a puzzle that was basically a board game with good AI, which meant it was somewhat up to chance with how the AI played that game. I’m against elements of chance in a game that is supposed to have a particular pacing. On that note, there were a few items that were SO well hidden that I had to use the hint button to find them. And to be honest, the hint system was done really well. I rarely found myself using it, and it had a cooldown so players can’t cheat their way through the entire game without having to wait an insane amount of time.

Journey - The Heart Of Gaia

There really isn’t a lot of reason to play the game again, beyond a 2-3 achievements that you may have missed. The game is short enough to support it being played again without losing interest, but other than a slightly harder difficulty and a couple of achievements, there’s really no motivation. It’s a shame too; a game like this could have benefitted from an alternative pathing structure or additional endings or something else based on how the player goes through the game.

Journey – The Heart Of Gaia is a fun romp through a really gorgeous landscape of fascinating creatures and environments. While it does suffer from a cliche and hackneyed story and poor voice acting, it’s the high quality of the art and gameplay that has me sold. Fans of  point and click adventure games, Myst, or who are just looking for a lighter experience and something new should check it out.


Dan Spiler