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Gaming Review

Downloadable games round-up: The Bridge, Depression Quest, more

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Released on Wednesday, Feb 20 2013

Each week, Digital Spy rounds up the biggest downloadable gaming releases with reviews and trailers. This week's games include a stylish monochrome puzzler, an adventure taking place in a harsh post-apocalyptic world, and an affecting choose-your-own-adventure title that hopes to raise awareness of depression.

> This week's biggest mobile games reviewed

The Bridge

Developer: Ty Taylor, Mario Castañeda
Platforms: PC (Steam)
Price: £11.99 / $14.99

The Bridge is a puzzle-platformer that is almost immediately easy to warm to as a result of its excellent pencil-drawn visuals. It plays pretty well too, with the puzzles centering around the concept of gravity.

Not only are you controlling your character, but you're also rotating the level - which is essential to obtain keys to unlock doors and avoid 'menaces' - large boulders that instantly kill you. Your objective is always to reach the exit, and while opening levels are extremely simple, it gets a lot more interesting and satisfying as various twists are introduced.

For example, one set of levels features vortexes which, if you get caught in them, trap you. But maybe there's a switch that - if you rotate the room and roll a boulder onto it - will deactivate the vortex.

The Bridge


Later on, the game fiendishly introduces veils, which make you immune to gravity when you rotate. As the puzzles get more complex, it's handy that you have the ability to rewind time - similar to the classic puzzler Pitman/Catrap and more recently Braid.

It's at this point that the less patient will grow tired of having to resort to the trial-and-error approach in order to reach some of the more obtuse solutions. Particularly the later levels, it often felt like pure luck when we happened to get to the exit.

The Bridge is also relatively short, but at the same time it doesn't outstay its welcome. It's for the most part enjoyable while it lasts, and provides a decent thought-provoking time. For those looking for more, an extra and challenging 'mirror' world doubles the number of puzzles available.


> Download 'The Bridge' from the Steam store



Richard & Alice

Developer: Denby / Raze
Platforms: PC (GOG, Desura, IndieCity)
Price: £3.99 / $5.99

From Lewis Denby and Ashton Raze comes Richard & Alice, a straightforward adventure game but with a strong mystery narrative.

The titular characters are locked up in a prison facility in a post-apocalyptic world which is ruined by an abnormal amount of snowfall. On the outside, the phenomenon has caused chaos, leaving everyone to fend for themselves.

But stuck underground, Richard and Alice get to know each other, sharing how they came to be prisoners. Much of the story centres on Alice, as her struggles to survive and keep her son Barney safe are told via flashbacks.

Learning about Alice's past is the standout part of the game. Her plight is intriguing and easy to invest in, especially since Barney is written like a young kid and not someone annoyingly wise beyond their years.

Richard & Alice


On the flipside, the present day scenes are less interesting, in part because Richard isn't as immediately fleshed out as Alice. However, there is decent payoff in the way the present day and flashbacks come together by the game's conclusion.

The puzzles are logical and mostly fairly simple, rarely hampering the pace of the game - a wise design choice as it's clear that Richard & Alice is more concerned with telling a good story.

The story beats don't hit the gripping or emotional heights achieved by something like Kan Gao's To the Moon (another plot-driven past-focused adventure), but Richard & Alice presents the bleak setting in an absorbing manner through a real sense of loneliness. A number of optional emails and notes you pick up along the way also add more colour to the world.

There is plenty to like and the plot takes some riveting turns towards the end, but make sure you can look past its minimalistic visual presentation first.


> Buy 'Richard & Alice' for the PC



Depression Quest

Developer: Zoe Quinn, Patrick Lindsey, Isaac Schankler
Platforms: Browser-based
Price: Free

Depression Quest is a stellar example of how games don't need to be fun to make a powerful and lasting impression. It is a brave and ultimately effective approach on tackling the serious topic of depression.

Developed by Zoe Quinn, Patrick Lindsay and Isaac Schankler, Depression Quest is a text-based interactive fiction that has the trappings of a choose-your-own-adventure title. In it, you assume control of a despondent university student who struggles to motivate himself through life.

Throughout the story, you're presented with numerous multiple-choice scenarios but the clever part is the fact that several 'healthy' options (such as socialising at a party) are displayed but clearly unavailable and crossed out.

Depression Quest


It doesn't take long to reach the end, but it manages to be hard-hitting and communicates the mindset of a depressed person extremely well.

Eventually, your character can potentially open up, seek help and go to therapy - but not without a lot of self-doubt, and even then it feels like a struggle to admit you have a problem and work on it.

Depression Quest is an admirable project and should succeed in educating people about the illness. It's worth your time - as long as you don't mind the constant wallop of negativity.

(No score given)

> Play 'Depression Quest' for free



What downloadable releases have you been playing recently? Add a comment in the space below!

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