The Nintendo Switch is the perfect platform for point and click adventure games. This was proven with Bulbboy and Thimbleweed Park, and now we get another port of a recent entry to the genre, 2015’s Dead Synchronicity. Is this a good port?
In this game… you are Michael, a man with no memories, awakening in a ruined world caused by a catastrophe called the “Great Wave”. The great wave has destroyed the civilized world, and also brought with it a disease that turns people into what they call “the dissolved”. People who suffer from the disease are regarded as highly contagious, and the military cart off anyone who is sick never to return. A man and his family claim to have saved you, and ask you to help them get your hands on a cure for their sick son who has become one of these dissolved. Along the way you have visions whilst hearing the disembodied voice of a woman. What is going on? Who are you? These are the main questions that keep you going through the roughly 5 hour long story.
Dead Synchronicity is a classic point and click adventure game in the style of the old Lucasarts and Sierra titles. You move the story along by finding items, using them with the environment and talking to characters that you meet. This is a tried and true gameplay style that this game doesn’t innovate on. Thankfully the puzzles in this game aren’t as convoluted and nonsensical as point and click adventure titles are known for. You won’t be putting logs in a fireplace, eating chilies to spew forth fire, or even collecting ashes and using them as printer ink (looking at you Thimbleweed Park). What you need to do to move on is generally logical, which means the annoying trial and error is mostly done away with, leaving you with a tighter experience overall.
There is an assumed knowledge this game expects you to have, and thus there is no real tutorial. This was a little frustrating at the start, as I had to refer to the control scheme a few times to remember the buttons. It also doesn’t explain how to interact and use items, which is something you have to work out for yourself pretty much right out of the gate. It didn’t take too long at all, but I could see this being quite a hurdle for people who have never played a game in this genre before.
What an odd comparison
Unlike most games under the point and click adventure banner, the game’s story isn’t filled with humor. Instead, we get a story that takes itself very seriously. I found this to be somewhat refreshing, as the genre has become somewhat of a joke competition, barring a few outliers here and there. That said, this could also be a turnoff for some people, as the quirky fun nature of point and click adventures is what brings a lot of people to the genre (myself included).
The game has a hand drawn look to its art style, making it feel like an interactive comic book. The color palette is bland, giving you a real sense of how bleak the world has become. Everything looks like it belongs, which really helps immerse you in this world they have created. The music does a great job of setting up the atmosphere, and contrasts beautifully with the art style. It is fully voice acted which is welcomed, although the acting can be a bit hit and miss at times.
The art is bleak, yet beautiful
Overall, I had a great time with Dead Synchronicity. It has an intriguing story, an interesting setting, and beautiful art and sound design. If you are a classic point and click adventure fan then this is an easy recommendation.
A code for the game was supplied for review purposes.