The Act Review
- Presentation is phenomenal with great art & animation combined with a finger snapping soundtrack.
- Inventive control scheme.
- Feedback on your actions should be made clearer.
- Suffers from lack of gameplay.
The Act could easily be compared to Dragon's Lair. Both are superbly animated experiences, but are quite low on the gameplay side of things. This will amuse, but don't expect any lasting enjoyment or replayability.
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Most everyone has played Dragon's Lair by now, or is at least familiar with it. If not, go YouTube a clip. It's OK, we'll be here when you get back. Now you might ask yourself how a game with so little actual gameplay became such a phenomenon. Well partly because at the time of release, people had never seen anything like it before, but even today there's something enticing about having control over what appears to be an animated feature. The Act has taken the same approach, plonking the player down inside an animated world, and using an inventive swipe method, allows the player to influence the outcomes of the story. Oh sure, just like Dragon's Lair, there's only one right way to do things but getting there can be an amusing and enjoyable experience.
In each gameplay scene you control Edgar, a lowly window washer with dreams of grandeur. Whether its wooing his dream girl, placating his boss, or fitting in with a group of doctors, you have to control Edgar's actions to advance the story. Each side of the screen will be the extremes of an emotional state or an action, and swiping your finger left and right will change the degrees between these. You have to gauge the reactions of everyone else in the scene and adjust your demeanor accordingly. For example in the first scene you are trying to attract the attention of a girl at a bar. Swiping to the right will result in bold advances, while swiping to the left will make Edgar more shy and timid. Coming on too strong will scare her off, but being too shy will disgust her so you have to keep changing your tactics. It's a novel approach, but more feedback from the scene would be nice as sometimes it feels that you're stuck in a loop of non-progression, and other times the scene advances with you wondering exactly why.
Now the actual animation is fantastic. The backgrounds are rich, and even though characters never speak, you understand everything that's happening through their facial expressions and movement. The soundtrack is also a highlight with lots of groovy piano music that should keep a smile on your face, even when the scenes aren't exactly going the way you want them to.
While a short experience, The Act is a very amusing one. Some may not like the lack of gameplay and will be put off by the slider bar mechanics, but even in failure, the animation is delightful, and the game is worth at least a play, especially for the low price.