Adam’s Venture: Origins (PC Review)
Games based around Christian theology aren’t exactly rare. Biblical texts have acted as an idea bargain bin for Western media for around 1500 years and it’s unlikely that’ll trail off any time soon. Games that could be referred to as “Christian” are substantially less common, and those tend to be edutainment of a kind.
Adam’s Venture: Origins is a bit of a mix of the two, drawing inspiration from Christian scriptures with less of the usual dramatic edge, and some obvious reverence. It’s a game that plays it straight with the story of a man using arithmetic and logic puzzles to get into the Garden of Eden. Why? Because adventure!
The most obvious comparison to draw at a very shallow level would be with Uncharted. Spunky white everyman seeks mythical thing/place isn’t the most original of story layouts but at least it’s universally understandable. In place of steering Nathan Drake through exotic ruins we pilot the arguably titular Adam Venture through caves, libraries and minuscule French towns.
Where Nathan Drake climbed ancient ruins and shot guns at minorities, Adam Venture fiddles with fuse boxes and ancient security devices, occasionally using a grappling hook to swing between them. While they may look very similar at first glance, the gameplay and atmospheres couldn’t be any more different.
Adam’s Venture: Origins is actually a remake of an episodic title called Adam’s Venture that released its first episode back in 2009, and has been substantially action-ified given its original ponderous pace. What was once a fixed camera angle is now in full control of the player, and Adam now has the aforementioned grappling hook with which to swing gracefully around ancient ruins.
On top of that Adam and pals have received an expensive facelift and now they look even better than they did before (and in some cases completely different). The visuals are a bit of a strange mix of good and bad with nice looking post-processing effects and detailed environments packaged with awkward, dead eyed character models.
All these changes serve to make the game feel like a very different experience at first glance, but clunky controls and buggy environments betray the title’s adventure game roots. Flying through the air with the greatest of ease is all well and good until you try to land and phase straight through the ground and into the abyss.
Unfortunately, this wasn’t an isolated incident. Problems with the environment become a bit of theme during extended climbing/traversal sessions. At one point my time with Adam was cut short when he fused with a wall and ceased to be. Another time we discovered that part of a platform in a swinging section hadn’t been fully furnished with collision so Adam would just fall straight through it and break every bone in his body.
In defence Adam’s Venture: Origins, the people who pick up the game won’t be picking it up to fill the void between now and Uncharted 4’s release. Just like its original incarnation, Adam’s Venture is a puzzle-based adventure game through and through, and the platforming sections simply connect the puzzles up.
Thankfully the movement and presentation aren’t the only things that have been given a once over in this little update. Puzzles in Adam’s Venture: Origins are typically less obtuse versions of the puzzles found in the original titles. You’ll use simple arithmetic to repair electrical wiring, then you’ll use careful timing to line up rotating discs, and just occasionally you’ll get really frustrated and just mash the keyboard until the puzzle resolves itself (but not often).
Adam’s Venture’s puzzles are just varied enough to keep you guessing throughout your short time with it, and it’s a game that could never be accused of overstaying its welcome. Thanks to a forgettable score, stilted (and occasionally awful) voice acting and a story that even the characters themselves seem to barely care about, Adam’s Venture will likely go in one ear and out the other.
So who would I recommend Adam’s Venture: Origins to? Primarily younger gamers who might want a little light-hearted puzzling that doesn’t require any parental oversight. Avid gamers will be let down by the clunky controls and abundance of bugs, while people who are looking for deep complicated puzzles may be disappointed by the brain teaser offerings. Ultimately Adam’s Venture Origins is an okay title. It’s not excessively bad, and it’s not excessively good, and I’d almost say that’s worse than being either.
Editor’s Note: This review was provided by Johnny who happily stepped in to cover Adam’s Venture: Origins as a guest writer. All his musings can be found on twitter @DelTorro and he has previously written for sites like Ready-Up.net. So why not hit him up and pick his brain!