Perils of Man
Perils of Man is a 3D point-and-click adventure from Switzerland’s IF Games, which is headed by Bill Tiller and Gene Mocsy, a pair of industry veterans who have had a hand in games like The Curse of Monkey Island, Full Throttle, and A Vampyre Story. Perils of Man was originally released for iOS systems about a year ago, but now it’s available on the PC. This review is for the PC version of the game.
In Perils of Man, you control a teenage girl named Ana Eberling. Ana’s family has a “curse” on it, or at least so it seems. All of the male members of the family have either disappeared without a trace or have died young, and after receiving a strange purple cylinder as a gift on her 16th birthday, Ana decides to solve the mystery herself. This leads her to a device called a “risk atlas,” which can show her all of the possible consequences of her actions. But is the risk atlas the cause of her family’s problems, or could it be the solution?
The storyline of the game is interesting because it gives you things to think about. If you could see your future, would you want to? Is a life without risk worth living? If you could save people from one disaster, only to have more people die in a later disaster, would you be able to leave things be? Unfortunately, for all of the questions, you don’t get to make any decisions as you play. The game is linear, and there’s only one path you can take through it.
Perils of Man is a 3D game where you control a single character by using your mouse. Left clicking moves your character and allows you to interact with hotspots, the I key brings up your inventory, and that’s about it. There isn’t a key for showing hotspots, there isn’t a way to make your character run, and you can’t use the keyboard to move your character (which is sort of unfortunate, because some of the scenes are difficult to navigate with just clicking). So the interface isn’t as helpful as it could be, but the game is easy to control, and anybody who has played any adventure games recently should be able to jump right in without any problems.
Most of the puzzles in Perils of Man are inventory-based, where you pick up everything not nailed down and then figure out how items can be combined together or otherwise used. IF Games hides a few objects to add difficulty, but otherwise the puzzles are not too tricky to solve. As an example, early in the game when you click on a battery-powered clock you get a pair of batteries, and then when you combine a battery with a flashlight, you get a light source that allows you to explore a dark hallway. Perils of Man has relatively few locations, and because the puzzles are straightforward, the game is surprisingly short. I completed it in about 6 hours.
Continuing the trend, the graphics for Perils of Man are on the clunky side. None of the 3D models look good, and the characters are about as expressive as mannequins. Interestingly, when characters speak, a 2D icon appears next to their subtitles, and the icons look great. I suspect that if IF Games had used a 2D engine (like Double Fine Productions just did with Broken Age) then the game would have looked much better, and it might have been easier to identify with the characters involved. Luckily though, the voice actors do a nice job with their roles, especially Ana, who gets the majority of the dialogue.
Overall, Perils of Man is a budget adventure that sort of looks and plays like a budget adventure. The game is definitely bare-bones, but it has some interesting concepts, and the puzzles work well enough, so I’d say that it’s worth its $10 asking price. Hopefully if Perils of Man is successful, then IF Games will get a chance to make more of a full adventure and really dazzle us.
Reviewed By: Steven Carter
Publisher: IF Games
This review is based on a digital copy of Perils of Man for the PC provided by IF Games.