I will publicly hold my hands up and state, that I’m not a great fan of the adult themed games, that set out to be controversial with either adult humour,language or extreme violence.
It’s a huge task to ask, when over the top violent acts can get dull pretty quick,and sexual references/jokes/innuendo can quickly get stale and unfunny, when overused at the price of quality and overall entertainment value.
STONE literally jumps into the Leisure suit Larry theme,in a point and click noir adventure. That in similarity, requires players to endlessly search each area to find little points of interest(marked by colour spots) in order to push the narrative and progress the story. At least as far as LSL is concerned,and personally, rather tediously, there were objects to find and puzzles to solve. Yet here, there is little to do,other than constantly searching for clues,in what emerges to be very limited map areas with very little options.
The story starts, with you waking up on your bed after a heavy night out. It’s soon apparent, that your apartment has been trashed and your flatmate/partner Alex is missing. Cue panic, phone calls and coarse language as Stone tries to comprehend the situation and engage a plan of action. As a private investigator, the job should be easy and yet its quickly apparent that the world/community dislikes stone, just as much as he does them.
Players are then taken to various locations on a map. A lonely bar with a bird bartender, a moody nightclub with crocodile clientèle and a bowling centre.
Can our bear find and solve the clues needed to find his friend?
On the outside and visually it’s a mixed bag. Certain areas have blocks of pink and white that can affect the eyes as you move stone with the left stick and rotate the camera with the right stick. Our main character is fully fleshed (or haired! ) pretty well and the Npcs are adequately characterised, even if the bars and clubs of animal socialites seem to be somewhat cloned.
A nice touch is turning on the TV. Where you can watch black and white silent movies at your leisure and overall, the limited environments are visually pleasing, if not a little sparse.
(My favourite is the misty nightclub where you can press X to dance with the crowd)
What’s apparent from very early on, is that there’s a lot of ideas here that quickly fizzle out early and boredom very easily starts to set in.
Locations are limited, and the story requires you to revisit the same locations many times, with little changing. Combine this with the painfully slow pace in which stone walks, and things get tedious mightily quick!
There’s also a few things that don’t add up. Why is smoking allocated to the X button? Why is there a sauna location to just show Stone in a sauna? For what point or purpose with these?
Then there’s also times that the dialogue and interaction just doesn’t seem to click and feels rushed, incomprehensible.
That only leaves 2 big things going for this. Firstly, the fantastic soundtrack that contains hip hop,rock,dance,techno tunes in game, that can be selected on the extras menu and played as a switch mini music player as a bonus option.
Secondly, and most importantly, is the emotion, sadness, loss and despair that stone feels throughout the game, for his lost partner.Its that very essence and feel that really connects and compels the player to drive through this games short and too abrupt 5 chapters.
That dark and depressive mood can also seem overwhelming at times, that really dilutes the games attempts to spark humour and lift spirits.
Overall, its opportunities missed here. The game feels like an unfinished demo with lots of nice ideas seemingly cut short and lacked any kind of fruition.
At least you can watch the movies, if nothing else….
Thanks to Convict Games for the code.