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Pondrew Reviews... Return To Mysterious Island

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#1
Pondrew

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Return To Mysterious Island
for QVGA Windows Mobile 2003/Windows Mobile 5 Smartphones
(also available for Pocket PC)

Attached File  tetraedge.JPG   6.24KB   70 downloads

From developer Tetraedge comes an epic adventure game that seems to combine so many of the things Smartphone users have been crying out for. On first run the user is greeted by superb graphics (including an impressive 3D animated intro sequence), atmospheric music, voiceover narration and an intriguing storylineÖ

On a round-the-world sailing expedition, adventurous Mina, (sic) becomes stranded on the shores of a wild and apparently uninhabited island. Travel beyond the Jules Verne classic... Your quest for survival begins...

Attached File  intro___sky.JPG   6.06KB   61 downloads

This game sets out to provide the kind of puzzle-solving adventure that can keep a player coming back time and again in their quest finally to complete the game. Indeed, the Pocket PC version was nominated for Best Adventure Game 2005 by PDAGround.com. So does the QVGA Smartphone version live up to the initial promise? Read on to find outÖ
[main]

Attached File  intro___closeup.JPG   7.78KB   59 downloads

Return To Mysterious Island (or RTMI as Iíll refer to it from now on) is an adventure game that focuses on object/inventory manipulation. At the beginning of the game the main character that the user controls, Mina, awakes shipwrecked on the beach and you must set about catering for her needs: the first task being to regain her strength. How do you do this? By gathering food of course! Problem is, most of the items youíll gather on the beach, be they birdsí eggs, turtle eggs, crabs, coconuts and oysters arenít readily edible. They either need cooking, peeling, breaking open or similar. And so the object-oriented fun begins!

Attached File  oyster.JPG   20.63KB   60 downloads

The game is viewed in first-person perspective, with the user controlling the view using a central cursor which changes to indicate where it is possible to interact with an object or move (think of the Myst/Riven games of old). Control of the game is by means of the joystick and left and right soft keys. The keypad buttons meanwhile provide shortcuts to objects and, for those who want a little help along the way, button Ď0í activates highlighting of all objects and scenery in the area that can be interacted with (very useful when you canít work out what youíve missed in a location!).

Attached File  seeing_things.JPG   21.9KB   68 downloads

As you explore the varied scenes of the game you have the opportunity to pick up items which are added to your inventory. Once in your inventory you are able to combine items to create new items or alternatively use items together to achieve a goal. A perfect example of this is using a stone to break open a coconut so you can provide much-needed sustenance for our main character. In this case use of two objects together removes one of the objects (the coconut) from your inventory for good (itís been eaten so is unlikely to make a reappearance!). Where using two objects together has created another object, for example using a stick and a knife to create a spear, the option is still there to separate the object into its original components, should the need arise.

Attached File  coconut.JPG   21.45KB   60 downloads

At the start of the game you will need to light a fire in order to cook some of the aforementioned food items you have gathered. No problem! Take the knife you earlier constructed (I canít do it all for you, you know!) and combine it with the silex and youíve got an instant lighter. Now whereís that kindlingÖ

Attached File  ranch.JPG   19.64KB   61 downloads

Interestingly it is also the case in RTMI that there is more then one way of skinning a cat! What I mean is that there is often a duplication of objects to the extent that should you need to achieve a goal you may have a choice of objects you can use or combine to achieve the goal. An example is at one point in the game you need to incapacitate a snake in order to progress and this can be done EITHER using a forked stick or a pitchfork, both of which you might have in your inventory depending on where you have been and what you have picked up. This more flexible, non linear approach is commendable BUT one result of this is that it is possible to have a very large number of items in your inventory!

Attached File  stick___string__.JPG   24.17KB   64 downloads

Which brings me on to my main criticism of what is undoubtedly a superior game. As you progress through the game it is possible to become too focused on an increasingly large inventory and on combining objects. The inventory screen displays formulae to represent combined items (coconut + stone = food + stone). This is fine until you find formulae requiring more then two objects which makes you frustrated at being unable to work out what the missing item is: for example stick + worms + ? + string - the missing item is hook, right? Great but where is it!!! Then you might find youíre no longer focused on solving tasks in the locations of the game itself but instead trying to remember which objects youíve already attempted to combine...

Attached File  inventory.JPG   22.5KB   72 downloads

The game features a wide variety of graphically-detailed locations. Indeed the mid stage of the game is sprawling enough to be disorientating which requires spending some time before youíre able to remember what lies down which path. This does of course bode well for the longevity of the game. Itís quite telling that after days of playing the game I suspect Iím only half way through!

Attached File  scenery.JPG   22.12KB   74 downloads

Those that like to put some thought into a game will find RTMI well meets their needs. The graphics are polished, music good, sound effects crisp and clear and the atmosphere involving. Those who are after lighter entertainment, however, may find it a little too involving. This isnít really a game which you can just pick up and play for the odd five minutes here or there.

To conclude, Iíd definitely recommend RTMI to all hardened adventure-game players and those people seeking more involving and time consuming software for their QVGA Smartphone.


English and French versions available from www.tetraedge.com
Cost is $14.99

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#2
Pondrew

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A quick note for owners of Windows Mobile 2003 QVGA devices such as Orange SPV C550 (HTC Hurricane):

Some SPV C550 owners, myself included, have experienced problems installing onto this device. This is apparently due to the way memory is handled on this handset. Should you have any difficulty installing RTMI contact Tetraedge support who will be able to assist you.

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#3
jasnewt

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A quick note for owners of Windows Mobile 2003 QVGA devices such as Orange SPV C550 (HTC Hurricane):

Some SPV C550 owners, myself included, have experienced problems installing onto this device. This is apparently due to the way memory is handled on this handset. Should you have any difficulty installing RTMI contact Tetraedge support who will be able to assist you.


Before I upgraded to my C600, I had these problems installing to a C550. Tetraedge provided excellent and speedy assistance to get me up and running.

Haven't had an opportunity to play the game too much but from what I have seen so far it is a very nice game, certainly one of the best looking I have seen on a Smartphone.

Jason.

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#4
Pondrew

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Must admit I too was impressed with the contact I had with Tetraedge. Sounds like their customers can expect real support. :)

It's certainly a good looking game. Funny that you were never really able to put time into playing it. If you ever do you'll find it's pretty big and will keep you occupied for some time!

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#5
jasnewt

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Must admit I too was impressed with the contact I had with Tetraedge. Sounds like their customers can expect real support. :)

It's certainly a good looking game. Funny that you were never really able to put time into playing it. If you ever do you'll find it's pretty big and will keep you occupied for some time!


Yeah. Tetraedge were very good. Sadly a rare thing with customer support these days!

I seem to spend most of my phone usage time reading ebooks etc. I should get round to putting in some serious game time soon though. I have heard the game is quite big!

Jason.

Edited by jasnewt, 27 June 2006 - 05:49 PM.

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#6
alansnoog

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Return to Mysterious Island is aimed directly at the cult audience still addicted to traditional adventure games. As such, it probably isn't going to convert anybody, but it's a good game that adventure fans will probably enjoy.

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