Just as the shooter from Doom to Halo to Call of Duty has deepened and refined over the years, the point-and-click adventure gameplay of Darkside’s Detective: A Tumble in the Dark, available now on Xbox One and Xbox Series X | S, has also been deepened and refined. But in tracing the path of Monkey island at The Darkside Detective, what has changed in the design of point-and-click adventure systems over the past 25 years? More importantly, how does the challenge of thinking outside the box to find interesting solutions to complex puzzles develop all this time?
It’s that challenge at the heart of point-and-click adventures. You have a toy robot, a knife and a hot dog bun. Either way, it’ll help you revive a motorized elephant that’s blocking your way. You have to think about the options available and find a smart solution to this problem, otherwise you will never progress. And there is a line that is difficult to string together to create a satisfying puzzle in the modern age. In a blog on Gamasutra Of the game’s design, artist Paul Conway writes, “We watched people play and tried to keep the difficulty level so that solving something was a challenge, but not that hard that you jumped into it. a step-by-step procedure. ” You’re not just designing a point-and-click adventure title with no context. You design a point-and-click adventure title for the people who have been playing these games for twenty-five years just as much as you design for those who pick it up for a few laughs. How do you help players navigate spaces and instances where they might otherwise be blocked?
One answer is a smart writing trick that the game does: give hints when the player is on the right track. In game design, the noticeable consequence is when the game reacts to the decisions made by the player in such a way that it communicates useful information about the decision making to the players. In The Darkside Detective, if a player tries to use an item to solve a puzzle, they will get a small dialogue noting the failure. Usually this dialogue comes from a small subset of generic lines corresponding to the topic of the case. But if the item is useful for the puzzle, but not in the way the player is trying to use it, the failure dialogue will be rather unique, letting the player know that they are on the right track, but that they are must find another avenue. progress.
It’s a small design decision, but one that creates two clear categories for any item that goes into Detective McQueen’s inventory. An object with generic fail text is an object that you can ignore for this puzzle. An element with a unique failure text is a crucial element for this. And creating this category now lets you point players in the right direction. Maybe the failure text will mention something that triggers your memory and jump back to something they previously thought was irrelevant. It also allows puzzles to be more complex and interesting, as you have a better way to reinforce failed player decisions. If the failed decision points them in the right direction, you make it easier for players to make those failed decisions without getting stuck in the puzzle.
And this is just one example of a game design decision that marks the progression of the point-and-click adventure from its peak in the 90s. Paul writes: “We made a list of puzzles seen in adventure games and outlined the ones we didn’t like – the pixel hunt is over, no dialogue puzzles, that sort of thing. The mini-games were a way to break the mechanical rhythm and add the feeling of reaching a milestone. If you are new to the genre or are a die-hard alumnus, you can rest assured that The Darkside Detective will scratch that point-and-click itch for the first time on Xbox! The Darkside Detective and Darkside’s Detective: A Tumble in the Dark are both live on Xbox so you can play today!
Darkside’s Detective: A Tumble in the Dark
“Twin Lakes is a cursed town. Less cursed than saying, ‘demons tear it apart’ but more cursed than ‘always loses her keys’ or ‘often walks in puddles.’ It’s about in the middle of the cursed ladder, that’s what we’re trying to say. Cursed enough for it to be a nuisance. Cursed enough for someone to have to deal with … That’s where the Darkside sleuth comes in. once you hear a bump in the night, feel a tingling in the spine or smell Something fishy, Detective Francis McQueen isn’t far behind. No he doesn’t smell like fish – that’s a phrase , come on… Picking up after the events of The Darkside Detective https://news.xbox.com/en-us/2021/04/15/how-the-darkside-detective-honors-its-point-and-click-legacy/, McQueen must save his usually present sidekick (in body, if not in spirit), Officer Dooley of Darkside, so the two can get back to what they do best – investigating the many bizarre occurrences, often paranormal, always paradoxical of the city. . Join them on this spooky and fun point-and-click adventure as they investigate six other stand-alone cases leading them to a carnival, the local retirement home, an amateur wrestling circuit and even as far as Ireland. because they are doing what they can to keep the Darkside at bay. ”