Thanks to Circle Entertainment for the review code
Title: Parascientific Escape Cruise in the Distant Seas
System: 3DS (eShop)
Release date: 3/3/2016
The main game/story
In this point and click adventure game, you take control of a young girl named Hitomi Akeneno, who along with three other friends must work together to solve the mystery of why the cruise ship that they are on is sinking, while also trying to find a way to safely escape the boat. This one has a rather interesting story, so therefore I won’t be saying anything else about it to prevent spoilers.
The game contains your typical anime inspired character designs, which thankfully in this case seem to show that there was careful time and effort into making these characters look right, instead of just simply slapping a few generic anime designs in to call it a day. Each of the main characters have their own distinct personality and appearance, making it easy to tell the wide range of emotions depending on their facial expressions in story scenes. While there aren’t any cutscenes, (instead all story-related events take place in simple dialogue boxes with two or more characters talking with varying expressions depending on the situation) the game still does have a few nice still shots of artwork here and there to showcase key moments in the game.
Regarding the menus, the touch screen interface is very simple to use, thanks to how organized it is, making it incredibly easy to switch from room to room or to pull out an item. The backgrounds in each of the rooms look simple, yet contain just the right amount of detail to make pointing out key items incredibly easy.
Music and Sound
Most of the music in this game use soft, electronic instruments, usually during the story scenes. Of course, as the stakes get higher and things are more intense, the music changes to fit the mood, as it should. The main title theme is also a very lovely piano composition, setting the stage for the adventure.
Escape Cruise, as mentioned in the story section, is a point and click adventure title, where the main objective is to look for key items that could be used to help progress the story. Usually this is done by looking down at the touch screen and touching any item that may seem helpful, which will cause Hitomi to investigate it. Depending on what you find, you could either discover a very helpful key item, or pieces of Ether, balls of energy that can improve Hitomi’s Clairvoyance and Telekinesis skills.
Speaking of those skills, Hitomi will use them from time to time in order to open locked chests or doors, which causes the game to temporarily shift genres into a puzzle game. These puzzle sections start off with you using the stylus as a lens of sorts, letting you use Hitomi’s Clairvoyance to illuminate the insides of whatever object that you are examining. When your Clairvoyance runs out, you then shift to Telekinesis, where you must move and rotate objects around until the desired goal is met, with each turn being one point of Telekinesis. If you mess up, you have to restart from either the beginning of Telekinesis, or from the beginning of Clairvoyance if your current path is hard to see. These occasional puzzle scenes are quite fun, and the later ones will certainly make you think hard, but thankfully not to the point of frustration.
That being said, the main exploration mode can have a few frustrating moments. For example, you may pick up an item that you think is supposed to reveal a clue to the next area, but you haven’t found where to “set” it yet. Until you find where to set it, you’ll end up wandering around aimlessly for a good period of time. Thankfully, the game has a hint menu that you can pull up, where Hitomi will ask one of her friends for advice regarding the current scene at hand, which usually gives you a good idea on how to solve the next puzzle. Of course, the fun in these games come from solving things out on your own, so I only recommend doing this as a last resort.
In conclusion, Escape Cruise is a surprisingly enjoyable adventure game, despite its short length. During my time with the game, I managed to complete all five chapters in just over three hours, making this a fairly short game. Still, despite the lack of any major replay value, I had a blast with Escape Cruise, mainly due to the short yet mysterious story keeping me engaged in moving to the next chapter. If you like a good point and click adventure game, a well written story, or both, then Escape Cruise is the eShop game for you. At $4.99, it won’t really hurt your wallet, and I say it’s well worth the price for the quality of the story alone. I give Parascientific Escape Cruise in the Distant Seas an 8 out of 10,