Disco Driscoll

Point and click, retro, music, meh...

Sunday, 1 July 2007

The Farm by Benedict Webb

The Farm is a curious, and frustratingly unfinished, enterprise that draws you in before ending abruptly. To be continued? Who knows.

In a world with Orwellian overtones, our main character is the victim of a midnight kidnapping by persons unknown. He awakes in a darkened room with no sense of where he is or what is happened. The initial puzzle which enables him to throw some light on his predicament is a tricksy one, and most satisfying once solved.

The navigation system is a little different to the norm, using the keyboard to access the usual look, use, speak functions, but otherwise it’s the standard fare. You gather items and information from the various rooms and characters you find once you have freed yourself from your cell.

Because the game is so short, the characters that you meet are sketched but not fully realised. They are an intriguing, if somewhat stereotyped, collection of oddballs, each with their own puzzle to solve that enables our hero to move onward in his quest. The game contains speech, with a pantheon of weird voices, some veering a little too near to Beavis and Butthead for credulity.

Ah yes, our hero. His incarceration seems to cause him a mixture of mild irritation and contempt, as if he has been inconvenienced terribly. He cuts a strange figure, almost like Alfred Hitchcock with his paunch and lazy diction. As the game progresses, and the full horror of what is facing him is uncovered, his tone becomes more urgent, yet it never really rises to the levels that you might expect.

The artwork is a weird mish-mash of styles, but it is never less than appropriately creepy. My main criticism of the game is that it is far too short, but then again my frustration is because what we have been shown is so promising (not to mention macabre) that you’re left wanting more.

The Farm is a free download. Follow the link at the top of the page and download the set-up file. It's 123MB but worth it.

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