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Shivah Review

By Dave Flodine, on November 25, 2013
Last modified 4 months, 3 weeks ago


Shivah
Download on the AppStore
Rating

PROS

  • Decent voiceover performances.
  • A unique premise with some interesting puzzles.

CONS

  • Progress hinges on small snippets of dialogue which can be easy to overlook.
  • A lot of backtracking involved,

VERDICT

The  Shivah was an early adventure title for Wadjet Eye, and it shows. It has its charms, but outside of adventure game fans, this old-fashion adventure will have trouble reaching a wider audience.


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Earlier in the year, Wadjet Eye Games brought their critically acclaimed sci-fi adventure Gemini Rue to the App Store. Before Gemini Rue, however, Dave Gilbert created The Shivah, a game which won him an adventure game competition and led to the formation of his company. Now all these years later, he's decided to upgrade the visuals to create the Kosher Edition. The question, of course, is whether the game holds up all these years later, and if it has made the transition to iOS unscathed.

Rabbi Stone is in charge of a synagogue that has fallen on hard times. The years of dwindling attendance has made him more cynical and bitter than a rabbi probably should be, and he is just about ready to give up when a detective knocks at his door. It turns out that an old attendee, Jack Lauder, has died and bequeathed the rabbi ten thousand dollars. Given that they had a falling out eight years prior, and Jack died by unnatural causes, rabbi Stone senses that something is amiss and decides to investigate.

Like the early Blackwell titles from Wadget Eye, a lot of the puzzles revolve around dialogue, backtracking, and combining clues in your inventory. This is par for the course for point-and-click adventures, but if you miss a key piece of dialogue or fail to examine the right object, things can quickly come to a standstill.

This is a shame, as the tale itself is very unique. THe characters are entertaining and unusual,and the voice acting really brings the game to life. The upgraded visuals certainly help, too, but its the writing and performances that sell The Shivah as worthwhile experience. Casting a rabbi as a main character also gives the game a unique flavour, and Stone's habit of answers all questions with another question raises more than a few smiles.

However, despite the varied dialogue options and multiple ending, the experience is somewhat marred by antiquated gameplay. Even as adventure game fans, we found lot of the procedure a little tedious. Unless you become really invested in the story (which, we admit, isn't that difficult), you may not see this one through to the end.

Screenshots

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