The epic story of Iris and her attempt to escape from the evil king continues in Drawn: Dark Flight. Guided by a broken spirit, you have to escape the rubble of a destroyed tower and try to get to Iris before the evil king. You will also need to light the 3 beacons surrounding the kingdom of Stonebriar. Fail to do so, and the land will be forever shrouded in darkness and Iris will not be able to take her place as the prophesied queen of the kingdom!
This game continues directly from its hit predecessor Drawn: The Painted Tower, one of Big Fish Studios’ best adventure games. Drawn: Dark Flight features the same stunning artwork, +team +building intricate puzzles and strong story concept, and is a fitting sequel to a classic in the adventure and puzzle game genres. It also continues the story of the little girl Iris who has the ability to bring her art to life. She is destined to become the queen of the Kingdom of Stonebriar, and is being pursued by an evil king and his minions.
The story in Dark Flight picks up from where the last game left off, with the destruction of the fabled Painted Tower. Fortunately, Iris managed to escape and is holed up in a library in the nearby town. One of the casualties from the tower’s destruction is the faithful guide Franklin, but his spirit lives on and is able to guide you on your quest. He reveals that there are 3 beacons surrounding the kingdom, and they have to be lit in order to restore order to the kingdom and place Iris on the throne. Unfortunately, the evil king and his minions will be trying to foil that plan and keep the kingdom shrouded in darkness.
The game begins with you trapped under the rubble of the destroyed tower, and you have to escape and find Iris in order to protect her from the dark king. Thus your adventure begins in a stunning world where paintings come to life and every scene is a work of art. The art in this game is nothing short of gorgeous. The imagery is truly breathtaking as you travel through the kingdom of Stonebriar and enter Iris’ paintings. The artwork in each of these settings also draws from a variety of different artistic styles, from grand imagery as seen in roleplaying games like Dragon Age, through to bright and colorful depictions that would fit very well in a Disney movie, and even a funny cardboard-cutout style ala the South Park TV series.
The gameplay in Dark Flight is primarily a scene-by-scene adventure game format, with liberal doses of puzzles and interactive hidden object games thrown in. You will explore the Kingdom of Stonebriar and Iris’ magical paintings in an elegant interface that showcases their beauty and detail. Progress is made in the game by solving the many puzzles that inhabit this world. The game has also succeeded in ensuring that the transition between the adventure screen and the puzzles is seamless and doesn’t interrupt the story and adventure.
The main type of interaction in the game is to manipulate objects in order to obtain required items or to proceed to a new location. An example would be to manipulate a lever mechanism in order to free a scroll from a stone lion’s mouth, or to correctly insert 3 discs into an interactive pedestal in order to shatter a wall blocking your path. Most of the time, these will require you to find the required items (such as the handle for the lever mechanism, or the 3 discs) which will be hidden in various locations nearby.
What interested me the most was the ingenuity behind the puzzles in the game. These puzzles aren’t the typical jigsaws or cogs or memory games, but are really unique and intricate problems that will give your brain a workout. An example is a puzzle resembling a popup book, where you have to manipulate the objects to reenact the prophecized story of the phoenix and the 3 beacons. There is even a little bit of arcade action in some of the puzzles, such as the captain of a cardboard pirate ship asking you to aim and fire cannons at cardboard sharks! Needless to say, these puzzles aren’t just a mental challenge, but are also very entertaining.
Hidden object games usually fall into the trap of looking and feeling static, but Dark Flight manages to avoid that by adding lots of animated effects throughout the game. Almost every click will trigger an effect such as a torch bursting into flame or a dying cardboard shark making a cardboard splash in the cardboard ocean. Shattering a wall also triggers an impressive animation that is almost movie-like in quality. There are also plenty of ambient effects such as bats flying around and water dripping on cobblestone.
Drawn: Dark Flight is indeed a worthy successor to the amazing Drawn: The Painted Tower (which you should play if you haven’t already). Superb production quality, an engaging storyline and intricate puzzles all combine to make this one of the best adventure puzzle games of the year. The basic version of the game is not out yet, but you can get the Collector’s Edition of the PC game which includes extras such as bonus gameplay, unique achievements, and integrated guide and concept art.