Some game styles never fade. We have always needed adventure video games, and we always want mystery. Adam Wolfe is a mystery adventure for PC and iOS, and it’s like a lot of adventure games I’ve played. Let’s see how different it is from its gaming ancestors, and if it’s worth journeying through.
Adam Wolfe is broken into 4 episodes. To play further, you would have to purchase the complete game as part of the season pass. In the first episode, paranormal investigator Adam Wolfe is trying to solve a mystery revolving around an ancient weapon. His personal mystery is also introduced: Wolfe is looking for his sister Alison. Does her disappearance have anything to do with what he’s trying to investigate?
Since strange and amazing things can happen in the world of Adam Wolfe, Adam Wolfe can also solve puzzles and find clues in extraordinary ways. Adam’s first ability is intense focus. This is the “detective mode” vision, which you might have seen in games like the Batman Arkham or Assassin’s Creed series. In intense focus mode, you have to use the mouse to collect clues a person of interest has left. Once you’re done, you rearrange these clues in chronological order, allowing Adam Wolfe to “see” the person walk around the scene. This isn’t a supernatural ability, but one of those cool visual representations of a detective’s thought process.
Then there is the time travel mechanic. Early in episode 1, Wolfe has been mysteriously gifted a watch, which he can use to travel to certain times in the past. I expected this ability to be boring, but it became a little more interesting as new wrinkles were introduced. You have to recreate the scene in the past, which means that you need all the objects that were present at that time. Sometimes, you have to take objects from your present, and bring them into the past. This is still a simple task, though, and it still involves you simply clicking around the scene until you get what you need.
There are a few types of puzzles you play within the game. One type is simple object identification. You’ll be asked to find an object out of a jumble of several objects. This is the most boring type of puzzle. Then there are puzzles where you have to complete a scene by restoring the misplaced pieces. Again, this is simple, and not engaging.
The simple adventure game puzzle types are also present. You’ll find objects, and you’ll have to figure out when an object will be useful to you. Adventure games still haven’t made it easy to figure out when you need to use an item. What is the glass cork of a liquor bottle going to be useful for? I will not reveal it, but in reality no one would ever figure out that they needed to hold onto this specific piece of glasswork for more than a minute. An earlier example is when I picked up a plastic water bottle. What would I need this bottle for? To open up a door? Of course! That makes total sense.
Adam Wolfe‘s puzzles are at their best when you are actually trying to figure out sequence puzzles; what’s the code to open a lock, or disable this ancient security system? When I play a game full of puzzles, I want to feel smart, and I want to feel like the developers are smart as well. I really wish there was more brain-wracking challenge to Adam Wolfe episode 1.
There is more that makes up Adam Wolfe than just puzzles. I respect the voice work put into the game. Adam Wolfe looks like a stereotype, down to his black goatee and t-shirt, but he sounds pretty much like a normal guy. The same goes for the major characters, who could’ve easily been embarrassing racial stereotypes, but were well-acted and voiced. I appreciated the voice cast, but my thumb waggles up and down when it comes to the art choices. The characters don’t look bad, and neither do the artwork for the locations and objects. My bias is against the style many smaller game productions uses: motion comic. This style, if you are not familiar, is when you take an image, and move parts of the image to make it look as if a still has animation. Maybe doing a motion comic style is cheaper, but I don’t enjoy watching this type of puppetry, especially in video games. It’s funny, but I might’ve enjoyed the cut scenes more if they had been stills, another presentation style Adam Wolfe uses, I would’ve preferred that.
Speaking of presentation and style, I have a nitpick about the audio. When you click on parts of a scene to look for clues or to move around, the sounds you hear have a negative tone to them. Am I doing something wrong? No, but it sounds that way. Like I said, nitpick. What I will praise is that if I want to leave the game and do something else (I play the game windowed, instead of full screen) it automatically pauses the action. That’s a feature that I can appreciate. Since I’m talking about video, let’s see what’s under the hood. The video settings are sparse. Since I’m a “window” gamer, only having the option of playing in a window that cannot be maximized to fill up the screen is disappointing. There are no resolution settings, either.
I have 3 more episodes I can play, and I will play them to tell you how they pan out. On its own, Adam Wolfe episode 1 is alright, but does not challenge its players as well as it could. Adam Wolfe goes for £3.11 ($3.89) on Steam, which is a very respectable price for the 4 hours of game time I spent on it. The season pass DLC, if you dare, is £7.79 for the other episodes. The game is available on Windows and Mac computers, and is also on iOS.