Scarlett and the Spark of Life is a great start to a new adventure series
Waking up drugged and tied to a horse is never a good way to start your morning, but that’s exactly what’s happened to Princess Scarlett. You see, Scarlett’s been kidnapped by the villain Woolfe and his halfwitted henchman Ernie, and she’s going to need your help if she wants to get home in one piece.
The first in a series of episodic point-and-click adventure games in the burgeoning Scarlett Adventures series, Scarlett and the Spark of Life manages to tell a tight and funny story while avoiding many of the pitfalls that earlier adventure games on the iPhone suffered.
The Spark of Life tells the story of a young princess who escapes the slippery grasp of her captors and must find a horse in order to make her escape. Just her luck, the town she stumbles into is the home of creatures known as Polcalcos – a llama-like species celebrated by the townsfolk for its ability to strike fear into the hearts of filthy horses everywhere. Through a series of events, Scarlett must find the pieces needed to assemble a mean-spirited mechanical horse with delusions of grandeur and ride away to freedom.
In case you couldn’t tell by now, Scarlett and the Spark of Life is a game filled with off-kilter humor and a slight spark of silliness. It’s the sort of adventure that should tickle old school LucasArts fans in their very soul, offering puzzles and characters filled with wit rather than wackiness.
The interface too is something to be celebrated. Scarlett‘s design offers the sort of sublimely simple touch controls that we wish all mobile point-and-click adventure games would embrace. Moving Scarlett is as simple as tapping where you want her to go. Tapping on an object will pick it up or give you details. Tapping on a person will start up a dialogue tree. It all feels very natural and intuitive, and never requires more than a single tap.
If you’re at a loss for what to do next, there’s even a helpful star button that can be held to show off all of the different items players can interact with.
The only real complaint we had with the game was the length. Clocking in at a little over an hour and offering no real replayability, Scarlett and the Spark of Life is an experience that’s as brief as it is enjoyable. Though I suppose ‘complaint’ isn’t really the right word. In terms of episodic adventure gaming, Scarlett and the Spark of Life feels like a complete experience with a solid beginning, middle and end, and just enough left dangling to get you excited for the next episode. It’s exactly what it needed to be, but there’s no denying that what it needed to be is short. That’s a fact that may not appeal to every gamer in the marketplace.
With an intriguing story, witty dialogue, and fun puzzles, Scarlett and the Spark of Life is an excellent first episode to kick off this new point-and-click adventure series. If you’re a fan of the genre and love a game that doesn’t take itself too seriously, Scarlett is most definitely your type of girl. We’re just hoping we won’t have to wait too long for the second instalment.