Adam’s Venture Chronicles Review – A Kinder, Gentler Nathan Drake
If you’ve ever played any of the Uncharted games and thought to yourself, ‘This would be really great if there were more puzzles and none of these pesky action scenes and gunplay,” then I’ve got some great news! Adam’s Venture Chronicles may just be exactly what you’re looking for. By taking the gruff explorer trope and putting it into a heavy Christian theme, this game delivers a puzzle-rich dive into biblical landmarks, with present but not remarkably oppressive religious overtones that permeate the experience without completely dominating it. The story is one that’s pretty straightforward; our intrepid explorer, Adam Venture, is seeking out the Garden of Eden on an excavation funded by the mysterious Clairvaux Corporation. Right out of the gate, we jump into a math-heavy puzzle to mix some explosives to blast our way into part of the cave.This sets the tone going forward for the first chapter. Some basic math becomes a constant in the title’s numerous puzzles, with some of the puzzle types repeating throughout each area you explore. There are some sentence-reconstruction items as well, and these tend to lean on some basic knowledge of scriptural passages – fortunately for me, I’m actually pretty well-versed (ha, bible pun) in that area, so they presented little challenge.
So we’ve established the setting, story, and a good deal of gameplay. These things are only a part of the recipe for a game, though. Graphically, Adam’s Venture Chronicles is nothing to write home about, but taken with the fact that we’re talking about an indie game released in three episodes from 2009-2012, it’s certainly a cut above many indie titles I’ve braved in the past. The writing and voice acting leave quite a bit to be desired, with the dialog coming off a bit forced and “hammy” much of the time. Even the game’s apparently requisite casual sexism comes off as a thing thrown in because someone decided that our hero should be a stereotypical macho-man, despite his obviously not fitting the role. The controls have some lapses here and there, but generally there’s not a lot of mechanical issues with the game on that level.
I think the downfall of Adam’s Venture Chronicles is that it doesn’t really present anything that’s unique and new, but what it’s got, it does well. One thing I really liked is that, as you rely on your torch for a number of puzzles and areas, passing through water will actually put your torch out, requiring you to find another spot to light it from. The puzzles that dominate play are varied, and there weren’t many that ended up leaning on guesswork or trial-and-error to get through. All told, if you don’t mind religious trappings and some less-than-stellar dialogue, there’s worse ways to spend $12 – especially given that the game promises 10 hours or so of play time, which is a pretty solid chunk for an indie outing of any genre.