When the author announced La Croix Pan‘s completion on the AGS forums, Vince Twelve remarked this is what new designers should aim for their first game. “Short, but with a high degree of polish, and trying out some complex scripting to add in some non-standard adventure gameplay.”
And how. The plot is nothing new: the player is cast as the only (apparent) survivor of a squad tasked to take over a small town called La Croix Pan and defend it from the Germans. Since you’re alone and you don’t have a lot of ammo, you decide to hole up in the nearby tower and wait for reinforcements.
The game’s other qualities, however, more than make up for the lackluster plot.
La Croix Pan‘s art is particularly polished as far as most new AGS games are. Though most of the structures were painted in grayscale with dabs of brown here and there, the background art helps a lot in establishing the atmosphere of the game. The sniper view was also quite realistically implemented – not too shaky but not too steady either – which should not provide any player too much frustration. Given the storyline, there’s also not a lot of objects to interact with, making the game very minimalistic, but then I’ve personally never really favored games with several red herrings, so this is fine by me.
The music is as somber as the game’s theme, further enhancing the general mood of the story.
There really isn’t a lot of puzzles to solve in La Croix Pan, since the player basically has only one goal in mind. The last “puzzle” was certainly a bit difficult, or perhaps my reaction time was slower that time (I played at around 3 to 4 am while waiting for my damned dial-up to work), but I wouldn’t rate them as cruel. The autosave feature definitely helps a lot here, as well as the quicksave/-load features.
Overall, the game is very good, and Twelve’s comment is well-justified. If you’re looking for 15 minutes of wartime action, La Croix Pan is well worth your time.