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Game Over Online ~ Lost Horizon

GameOver Game Reviews - Lost Horizon (c) Deep Silver, Reviewed by - Steven Carter

Game & Publisher Lost Horizon (c) Deep Silver
System Requirements Windows XP/Vista/7, 2 GHz processor, 512 MB RAM, 64 MB DirectX 9 compatible video card, 4.5 GB HDD
Overall Rating 80%
Date Published Tuesday, October 12th, 2010 at 01:40 PM


Divider Left By: Steven Carter Divider Right

Lost Horizon is the third point-and-click adventure from Animation Arts, the development house behind the Secret Files adventure game series. The game takes place in 1936, and you control a "hapless" smuggler named Fenton Paddock. Early on, you learn that a friend of yours disappeared in Tibet while searching for the fabled city of Shambala, and then quickly you find yourself paired with Kim, the niece of a former business partner, as you race to Shambala to try and prevent the Nazis from using its ancient power to take over the world. This jaunt sends you all over the world, including stops in Morocco, Hong Kong, and Germany.

The dialogue is the best part of Lost Horizon. Fenton and Kim share a nice banter while they're in the game together (which is about half the time), and Fenton's comments are almost always funny, with many of them poking fun at adventure game cliches ("when in doubt, break it"). Plus, the voice actors do a fine job delivering their lines, and that makes the game enjoyable just to listen to. But unfortunately, the story gets bogged down as it goes into excruciating detail about the power contained in Shambala, and there are places where you have to sit through 15-minute conversations while characters go to great lengths to make sure you understand what the power is and what it would mean for the Nazis to capture it. After a while, I began the understand why movies frequently use "macguffins." Sometimes it's just better to leave things to the audience's imagination.

The interface for Lost Horizon makes it very easy to play (which isn't surprising given that Lost Horizon uses the same engine as the Secret Files games, which also had friendly interfaces). Everything is controlled by the mouse, where left clicking moves Fenton (or Kim) around and allows you to perform actions on objects, and right clicking allows you to examine objects. The cursor changes its appearance to show you what you can do, and there's also a search button that displays all of the hotspots at your current location, and so there's never any doubt about what actions are available to you.

The puzzles in the game also work out pretty well. They're all reasonable (especially by adventure game standards), and there are a few clever sequences, such as when you control characters at two different time periods, and you get to watch how their actions influence each other. Most of the puzzles are inventory-based, where you pick up objects and then have to figure out how to use them, but there are also a handful of standalone puzzles, like when you have to figure out the wiring of a generator. If the puzzles have a downside, it's that they're a little too easy to complete, and so Lost Horizon might work best for somebody who is new to adventure games rather than a veteran of the genre.

Nicely, once you've completed the game, you get a couple of bonuses, including a prototype version of the game from 2008. The prototype is a kick, especially if you're interested in how games progress, because it shows a few early scenes in the adventure -- but told from Kim's perspective, because apparently when Animation Arts first started working on the game, she was going to be the main character instead of Fenton.

Overall, I found Lost Horizon to be a pleasant experience. The game engine works well, the sights and sounds are fun to watch and listen to, and the dialogue is well-written and entertaining -- and while I found the puzzles in the game to be a little easy (Lost Horizon is one of the rare adventures where I never had to consult a walkthrough), that might or might not be a detraction depending on what you're looking for. Plus, the game is bargain priced, and you can't go wrong with that. So if you're looking for an adventure to keep your mind occupied during some rainy, wintery weekend, you could do far worse than Lost Horizon.

Ratings:
[31/40] Gameplay
[12/15] Graphics
[12/15] Sound
[09/10] Interface
[08/10] Writing
[08/10] Technical

 

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Rating
80%
 

 

 
 

 

 

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