Monday, September 17, 2012

Steampunk Game Review: "Azada: In Libro"

It is one of the great travesties of the world that Steampunk themed games are few and far between (and it's hard to find the good ones).  So we at the Lonely Alchemist are committed to testing and reviewing every Steampunk-ish MMORPG and casual game we can find, just for you!

Today we review a fabulous casual game by the name of "Azada: In Libro."  Another beautiful and fun-to-play creation from ERS Game Studios, this is a sequel to the other Azada games but, at least in our opinion, it is more worth the price than the others.

The game begins in an industrialized Edwardian Europe where you, the player, are informed that a distant relative in Prague has left you an inheritance.  After traveling there, you are cast into an enchanted world from which you cannot escape until you defeat the evil magician who wishes to destroy the magical world and then your own.

"Azada" takes place in three very different and equally beautiful worlds all contained within the magical book of Azada.  The first world is an Art Deco Steampunk town where sentient machines and men live together in harmony.  This realm is deserted: the life force has been sucked out of the inhabitants by Cthulu-esque monsters controlled by the evil magician.  The town is populated by only a few skeletons, giving this world a bleak lonely feel.  The magical protector of the Steampunk world is a delicate half-human half-mechanical fairy child whom you must rescue from the demon octopi.

The second realm is a place of imagination and fantasy where fairytale creatures like gnomes, centaurs, and fairies cohabitate.  This lush scenery is also desolate and quiet: the magician's deadly mist has turned the creatures into bronze statues.  Elegant as this world is, it is perhaps the most depressing.  The beautiful protector of the fantasy realm, a deer-horned nature Goddess, is destroyed by the mist before you can save her.

The third world has been completely destroyed by the evil sorcerer.  This realm seems to be straight out of a page in Dante's Inferno with flames and lava everywhere.  The only living creatures here are a tiny red devil and a giant sewer rat.  Skeletons of enormous dragons litter the roads.  This world is beyond hope: you can only try to defeat the magician before he escapes into your own world.

As with all of ERS's games, the artwork in "Azada" is beautiful and detailed, and the puzzles range in difficulty from painfully easy to nearly impossible.  We had to use the hint button quite a few times.  The search-and-find aspect of the game is sometimes not intuitive and the hints also come in handy here (hints are unlimited, thank goodness).  For those people who are bored by hidden object scenes, "Azada" is perfect: it has none.  Each world takes about 50-90 minutes to complete (depending on how good you are at guessing what you should do next, since the sequence of events is often illogical.  Though the process of getting through the game is enjoyable time after time, the ending is a little abrupt.  We would have liked to see more denouement (though I guess there will be a sequel to this game, so the adventure will continue).

Here are a few screenshots to give you a taste for the game:

 The Steampunk Realm with one of it's creepy Cthulhu monsters.

The waterfall in the Fantasy Realm.

The "Inferno"-esque entrance to the labyrinth in the Third Realm.

If you're someone who likes to follow a story exactly from beginning to end, we suggest you play the other Azada games before playing this one because, while the plots are not inextricably connected, the first two games to inform your understanding of the third.  However, if you are interested in just taking a magical journey, we recommend skipping the other Azada games and playing "Azada: In Libro!"  You won't regret it!  Remember to try the free trial first.


The Lonely Alchemist

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