“You mean this thing is ALIVE?”

Imagine receiving a live fish as a prize for throwing darts. Not much to expect right? But then imagine doing so in a world populated with a beer-guzzling demon, a fallen angel, a fortune-reading eyeball, a talking scarecrow holding a floating ship *and* a three-headed invisible, um, ash vendor.

You can’t help having a real attitude. So what will you do with the fish?

Welcome to Spooks, Erin Robinson’s debut game and the second title to be featured in XII Games’ website. The game was developed using the popular Adventure Game Studio engine, with the help of Vince Twelve (scripting) and The Scorposer (music).

Spooks title screen

The game starts off with the player assuming the role of a sardonic ghoul named Mortia, who decides to pay the Carnage-Val a visit to see the sights. Not seeing anything interesting to do, she agrees to play a game of darts…and wins a live creature, in the form of an orange fish – an anomaly in the Land of the Dead.

Spooks came to my attention after having played Vince Twelve’s solo effort Anna. Encouraged by my (minor) success in finishing an AGS game without resorting to a walkthrough, I downloaded Spooks thinking that I could handle this just as easily.

To Play or Not to Play

I wasn’t disappointed. Apart from having asked help once in the AGS forums (where I even misspelled Erin’s surname – my apologies), I was able to complete the game without hooking up and Googling for “Spooks walkthrough.” Cool.

The graphics are well-drawn, and, given the game’s setting, is appropriately in grayscale. Both the backdrops and the animations ran smoothly. The middle part of the game showcases an underground cave filled with water which the author deftly rendered in various shades of blue.

Puzzles were generally easy to handle, not to mention almost seamlessly integrated into the whole plot. However, there were moments where I had to follow a certain line of actions first just to be able to perform what I wanted to do, since I thought it was pretty obvious. But everything else worked well for me.

The game’s humor somehow reminds me of another AGS game, Cirque De Zale – the sardonic, off-the-wall banter among the characters was very amusing, to say the least, but I think the goals were slightly different. Spooks‘ humor doesn’t seem to be intended as a send-up of any kind.

Spooks‘ length was not much of a consideration for me, since at the time I was looking for something bite-sized to finish. However, anyone searching for something longer or more deeply implemented might have to look elsewhere.

In the end, Spooks is an adventure game I won’t hesitate recommending to those who are new to adventure games and those looking for a few hours’ worth of entertainment. If you need something short, funny, and memorable, give Spooks a whirl. You’ll definitely like it.

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