Skygoblin's lovingly handcrafted point-and-click adventure The Journey Down hasn't been ported to the iPad, iPhone and iPod Touch. No, it just sort of wandered in, bobbing its head to some sexy jazzy reggae, and made itself right at home.
With its exquisite hand painted graphics and its singular Afro-Caribbean setting, The Journey Down is one of the most original adventure games I've played in ages. The PC version (coming to Steam on January 9) has been kicking around since the summer, garnering all sorts of praise from adventure fans craving something different from the average white contemporary hero or the fantasy setting. Consider this a palate cleanser for the genre, something fresh to remind players why they love hunting about scenes for items to use on other items to solve puzzles and move on to the next scene.
The Journey Down follows the standard formula, but does so with a style and self-awareness that sets it apart from the rest of the point-and-click crowd. Lead characters Bwana and Kito, managers at a fueling station / boat chartering service, handle the absurd tasks required of adventure characters in stride, be it replacing the missing rungs of a ladder with stale breadsticks or getting wrapped up in a dramatic plot that could lead them to a revelation about their long-lost father, Captain Kaonandodo. They're just having a good time with whatever life (or the game developers) happens to throw at them. I kind of wish I lived like that.
With point-and-click gameplay that feels like it was conceived with a tablet in mind, fully-voiced, fully-ridiculous characters and some incredibly fine music, the $.99 introductory price for the first chapter of this episodic adventure is so low it's almost criminal. Maybe you should wait until it goes up to $2.99 to buy it.
The Journey Down [iTunes]