Finally, after I asked Leon to do reviews, someone has a proper game release or two, so this is the first of 3 reviews coming your way. Take it away, Leon...
Title: Infection - Episode 1 - The Ship
Author: WHAM (Tomi Kahkonen)
Release date: 7 may 2008
Playtime: 30 minutes
From someone new to the game making scene you don't know what to expect. I must say that the quality in general of the new games that were published recently by newcomers was of an extremely high standard. This one is no exception.
The game was released some time ago already but version 1 contained such bugs that it effected the game play and continuity of the story. But Tomi did a very good job in addressing the comments from several players and released an update within a week. Version 1.1 is very well playable.
Based upon the templates of Beneath A Steel Sky, the controlling is a bit strange at first. Most is done by right-clicking (mind you, the inventory is the other way around) and walking through doors is done by clicking beyond them. But after a five minutes of playing, you don't know any better and it becomes second nature.
I won't tell you the story about Owen who finds his spaceship in problems. You can read it here. I won't tell you because it's what Tomi Kahkonen does best. And it's what ranks this game amongst the best: the storytelling. The object of the game is to save your spaceship from damage caused by a lunatic who's roaming the rooms with a syringe, infecting all lifeforms he encounters. Along the way you can meet the 'dude' several times and it's up to you to get rid of him. How and where is for you to find out. Some parts have a more arcade-like impression than adventure, although the update to version 1.1 took some of the arcade style away. I'm not disappointed.
From the title page until the credits you're captured by it. The graphics are somewhat less but in this case it doesn't matter. It has a bit of a nostalgic feeling. Think of it: a story of the future with graphics from the past. What more do you want? And who cares about the graphics in this case? It's only to support the epic.
There aren't any difficult puzzles in the game, making it suitable for both beginner and experienced player. It's more an interactive storytelling where each time it's clear what's expected of the player. There are no puzzles crossing each other so you can solve one problem at a time.
The voice acting is OK, although some parts have a bit less good quality, especially Ellie's part. Apart from some of her lines, which seem to be read from script instead of acted, it's done in a convincingly way. The accent of the captain made me think of Schwarzenegger. Add some accurate sound effects, a retro sound composed by Tony Caven and the story is complete. Well.... actually not. Because this is just the first of hopefully many more to come.