This is a game very clearly inspired by classic point & click titles such as Monkey Island, but does this quirky game hold up against an ever-changing, gaming World? Let’s find out in The Journey Down review!
Reviewed on PlayStation 4; also available on Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, PC, Mac and IOS.
The Journey Down is a Point & Click adventure game that is split up into three chapters. The game was originally released for PC five years ago, which at times, is quite apparent, but after starting a successful Kickstarter campaign the game is now available for pretty much every platform.
So, how is it? Well, the gameplay itself is simple. Point & Click. It’s figuring out where to go and what to click which can be difficult. Veterans of the genre will more than likely know exactly where to go and what to do, but newcomers to the genre will probably be left thinking for a while. We all know that Point & Click games are known for having ridiculous ways to solve certain puzzles or issues that often doesn’t make any sense at all. The Journey Down has this down to the T! Many times throughout the game I was left trying to figure out what to do next, thinking of the most logical way, and it was something so simple or silly that I didn’t even think to try it in the first place. This for me, made it a more enjoyable experience because although the chapters themselves are pretty short, moments like this spread my journey out meaning I had a lot more time with this game than I probably should of. In my opinion, the chapters are very short, only if you know exactly where to go and what to do. This makes it good for you people out there who 100% games, it’s an easy one!
The Journey Down is a story of corruption and danger, a very powerful power company and the mysterious Underland. Three chapters will uncover everything you need to know, and some things you maybe don’t want to know.
Chapter One introduces you to all three of your main characters pretty much from the get go. Bwana, Kito and Lina. These are the characters you will take the roles of throughout all three chapters of this Journey. Admittedly, the main character you will see yourself getting most familiar with is Bwana. I didn’t mind this at all, Bwana is a very likeable character and I find myself getting confused when a game switches a character too often. You can’t get attached to a character then, in my opinion. Starting of in the noisy city known as St Armando, you quickly learn that something isn’t right here.
Chapter One was my least favourite episode due to the fact that it was very repetitive. You were constantly going backward and forward to the same places to pick up objects that you could’ve picked up earlier in the game had you have known (I guess that’s the point, but still). I’ll keep the story as basic as I can to avoid any spoilers but in chapter one you find yourself looking for a long lost journal that leads to uncovering forgotten secrets of the Underland and then solving various puzzles to try to rebuild a plane. You learn early on that Bwana and Kito’s father, Captain Kaonandodo, went missing years ago. Presumed to have just up and left, you uncover things in this episode that suggest otherwise.
Chapter Two is where things start to get a little more interesting. Starting off in a different setting completely in the town of Port Artue. A nasty place known for it’s Pirates. The team set off following in the footsteps of long lost, Kaonandodo and discover a dark conspiracy covering up his fate. All the time on the run from the law and those dreaded pirates.
Chapter Three was my favourite episode of all, which seems to be an unlikely opinion. Many people who had played The Journey Down thought that the final chapter was the worse of the three due to it’s much shorter length and weaker story. Those people are right, it is much shorter and it’s story does drop off a little, but I absolutely loved the massive upgrade this chapter seemed to have in terms of gameplay and graphics. But we will get onto that later. I’d like to point out that throughout each chapter you could see and feel it progressively getting better and better each time. Which was great. Chapter three sees you enter the much anticipated Underworld, *minor spoilers* in a nice twist, the Underworld is a beautiful place. Unexpected due to the fact that up above, it is spoken about as a very horrible and dark place. Bwana, Kito and Lina explore the gigantic reaches of the Underland and unravel its long-forgotten past. Their adventure comes to a bombastic conclusion when they learn the true essence of the Great Asili tree and the Armando Power Company.
There are many secrets to be uncovered in The Journey Down and these are just a few of them. Though it isn’t the strongest story it’s still enough to leave you wanting more after each chapter.
Graphics & Sound
The Journey Down’s stunning hand-painted environments are enough to blow anyone away. Every environment you enter is as breath-taking as the last. The only part of it that just didn’t look right for me were the characters themselves. They almost don’t look like they belonged there. They didn’t fit in with the rest of the alluring backgrounds, which was a massive shame. Even when you click somewhere for your character to walk towards, it just didn’t look right. I can’t really explain it, you will see what I mean if/when you play this game. The style in which the characters were designed is certainly an interesting one too, the character faces look almost not human, and the eyes are scary. Each character eyes are just black holes. Completely dead. I’d be very interested to know why this was. Every other part is fantastic, the backgrounds, the objects even the NPC’s. It is just literally the playable characters that look out of place.
The Journey Down is very afro-Caribbean themed although a lot of the music throughout is very jazzy, and it’s beautiful. So, so relaxing. I actually often found myself just sat on the title screen listening to the music whilst doing something else. The soundtrack is great, what isn’t great though is the voice acting. It’s very hit and miss. Sometimes a certain character sounds great, other times it just doesn’t fit in. For example, a lot of the things Bwana says sounds fine, other times it just sounds like a white guy trying so very hard to do a afro-Caribbean accent. It did make me cringe at times.
One thing that never sat right with me was that whenever a character spoke, the sound levels never matched up. So, it would either be really loud or too quiet. Also, the volume of the background music would be lowered when a character spoke but in a really obvious way and in-between that character taking a breath the volume would shoot back up and then down again when they continued speaking. Maybe that’s just me being picky though.
The Journey Down was a fun adventure that I embarked on. Although it’s not the type of game that I would usually play, I did enjoy the time I spent with it. It doesn’t have the greatest of stories but if you are into classic point & click adventure games this is certainly one you have to play. If you aren’t into that sort of thing I cannot recommend you buy this unless it goes on a really good sale. The quirky characters and odd humour can be a little cringy at times but I often found myself giggling at the silliest of jokes.