Reviewed: June 10, 2011
Released: June 10, 2011
Emily the Strange: Strangerous; the name does it justice for it is one very strange game. You are Emily Strange and you wake up from a terrible nightmare where someone came in and has cat-napped your four cats named Mystery, Sabbath, Miles and NeeChee, which turns out to be true and all you have is pink footsteps you must follow to your first stolen kitty. The rest of the game is you solving puzzles and riddles in the search for your precious cats. Emily’s adventure takes her to secret labs and even parallel dimensions with some odd inhabitants at a fair to a lost island.|
Emily the Strange: Strangerous uses comic book style art for the cut-scenes and gameplay with overuse of the color black but I suppose that’s expected with such a gothic character. When you complete puzzles you see a black vine turn into an amazingly colored and detailed flower oddly in the shades of pink which our beloved Emily is certainly no fan of, as she mentions a few times throughout the game. I did notice while playing on the Nintendo DS that I had a few issues with solving a few of the puzzles due to the colors all being the same, especially on the “Find the differences between these pictures” puzzles but it surely didn’t break the game for me.
I also attempted to make of use of my DSI XL to access a special level that makes use of the camera and also to create my own “zonstar” using Qr codes but unfortunately the game was region coded for Europe and it seems only the DS Lite is region free, so I was unable to make use of the extra goodies and see what the rest of the puzzles were like. I have been told it adds over 30 new puzzles to solve and a new level to explore, but we’ll have to wait for a domestic release to try those features.
While searching for your feline companions you must solve over 65 puzzles in 6 different locations to get clues and open doors and advance conversations with certain characters you meet. The difficulties ranged from simple connect the dots; find the difference, to my least favorite, mathematical puzzles and memory games to riddles. As in any puzzle game you are given hint tokens and if you use them up you must find them or earn more by completing more puzzles, At times I used one or two tokens a puzzle depending how much in a hurry I was or how hard it seemed from just looking at it once and deeming it impossible only to see the solution being no harder than moving a block or word one space. Any puzzle game lover that plays this game is never go to want to put it back down just from the sheer number of mini games it has to offer.
Of course being such a dark young lady I had expected even a simple country fair to have ominous sounding background music but throughout the whole game eve at max volume I could barely hear any music or sound effects unless I was in a completely empty room with no ambient noise as such I can only guess that this game was meant to be played with headphones to fix that problem or at least should be.
Overall I found that if you aren’t already a fan Emily Strange then this game isn’t going to be for you. The lack of a backstory on Emily and her cats doesn’t give us any feeling of joy when finding her cats and I believe one would have helped us connect a bit more with the character and given us a reason to spend the 40+ hours it takes to solve all the puzzles and retrieve your kitties.
While the game is rated for children 12 and up I had an incredibly hard time on some puzzles and had to ask my younger sister to assist me in figuring them out, something I was sad I had to resort to, which may say something about the myself or the difficulty of the game itself being a tad too challenging and somewhat repetitive. The lackluster sound effects and low game volume really didn’t help with the longer puzzles, as sometimes I just stared at the screen for five minutes trying to solve something in what seemed empty silence.
All in all Emily the Strange: Strangerous was interesting to play and it sparked an interest in my sister about her series of books but not something I see myself doing any second playthroughs.