When Agharta Studios first released 1112 Episode 1, they had the distinct honor of developing the first point and click adventure game exclusively for the iPod Touch and the iPhone. After much time, the much anticipated sequel, 1112 Episode 2, finally has been released into the App Store. While Episode 1 could get away with some flaws because it was a groundbreaking original title for this platform, the bar of the genre was raised in the interim for Episode 2.
In 1112 Episode 2 you play again as Louis Everett and pick up where you left off in Episode 1. Didn’t play Episode 1 yet? Quite alright since there is a synopsis available for you watch in the “Extras” section. Mr Everett finds himself again in strange circumstances. He is now in a hotel with weird dreams and strange surroundings. Noises and voices come from the room next door. Strange encounters with a crazy guest of the mysterious hotel he finds himself in, and attempts at matchmaking between the maid and the hot dog stand owner are fun to accomplish. But in order to return to his quiet idyllic life in New Jersey he must first come to discover where exactly he is and how it came to be that he arrived there.
Most fans of the point and click adventure genre will enjoy 1112 Episode 2. It seems that you can interact with your entire environment. There are options for just about every object, from the normal to the unusual. Just wait to see Mr Everett’s reaction when you try to torch or destroy ordinary objects. There are segments where you can even choose to polish the floor tiles. The best method of attack however is to try to interact with everything you see and hoard as many objects as the game allows because at some point, maybe not immediately, they will be needed.
Artwork: I am a big fan of the comic book styling. The graphics are top notch and remain clear whether filling the screen or zoomed in tight.
Interaction with objects: The interaction with your environment controls have been improved and it is much easier to make a choice now what to do with the objects your find.
Inventory: Drawn as a control panel of sorts, choosing objects to use on others is quite intuitive now. If you choose the wrong item to use, Mr Everett will always respond with a witty retort. Though in dire circumstances, his demeanor can be quite witty, if only in the driest of manners. From this inventory screen you also have access to the save screen, a character information screen and other cool add ons.
Touch controls: Some of the touch controls needed to complete a puzzle are atrocious. The multi-touch on some puzzle is sometimes non-responsive at best. It takes some lucky swipes to combine items at times. The developer has admitted that depending on the size of your fingers you may or may not have trouble with some of the touch puzzles.
By far the worst of the touch controls however occurs when unscrewing screws in a panel and then again in a crate. The touch needs to be so precise and at a certain pace that failing that, the screws tighten again. I am fine with making it challenging but the magically re-tightening of the screws needs to be addressed. I was actually working up a sweat by the time it came to the last screw. This is not only unrealistic but unnecessary.
Variety of puzzles: While some of the combinations of items is quite ingenious leading to some great brain teasers, it seems the developer either ran out of ideas for some new puzzles or attempted to artificially elongate the game in response to complaints that the first in the series was too short by adding a series of Sudoku puzzles in the mix. While that would not be so bad as perhaps one distraction, there are three of them in succession that increase in difficulty. For someone like me who has played Sudoku it is no problem, but for the rookie Sudoku fan this could be a game staller. No tutorial, no rules of Sudoku, no explanation at all has left some players scrambling for Sudoku solving websites in order to continue on with the game. Some hints system, or some ability to skip the puzzle if absolutely necessary should be included as an option. Players should not be penalized if they have not played a Sudoku puzzle before, and with no instruction this is asking the impossible from some.
Collection of items: Collecting items for use either immediately or later in the game sometimes borders on a tap fest. I found myself tapping on every bit of the game to find the “take” command just in case I needed that item later. It is also safer to take an item that is available to bring along because in some instances if you miss an item early in the game it disappears later in the game when you might need it. This has resulted in some players not being able to progress in the game, a serious bug that needs to be addressed.
Overall, the artwork is stunning and it is definitely enjoyable to watch and follow the story. I found myself quite engaged in the fate of Louis Everett. Though not as blatant as Episode 1, there are still some spelling errors found in Episode 2. Most resulted in a chuckle from me, but a bit more polish to eliminate those errors in an update would be in order. Of course I was disappointed that the ending left you hanging – so I hope that Episode 3 comes along quickly.
Hardcore point and click adventure lovers will love this game, but with some of the difficulties in the touch controls and inability to backtrack to gather missed items, new point and click adventurers should not choose this as their first attempt at the genre. Those that do not like Sudoku should also give a second thought at how willing they will be to solve three Sudoku puzzles to progress in the story. With those caveats, I do think that 1112 Episode 2 by Agharta Studios is at least worth a look.