If Scarlett and the Spark of Life has only one achievement, it's that it's the only positive experience we've ever had that begins with a tied up woman, bent over on a horse yelling, “you bastards! How did you manage to drug me?”
But fortunately that's far from Scarlett's only achievement. Though we – rightfully – expected another ho-hum iPhone adventure game, what we found was a competent adventure game that also happens to be really funny. The humor isn't just in dialogue (though we did get a chuckle out of the aforementioned bound babe threatening to punch her captors in the kidneys) the game's fantastic art also helps convey some of the laughs.
Witty dialogue is great, but the subtlety of the art is a far bigger strength for this game. It's hard to describe, but certain sights just have an air of hilarity to them. For instance, the disgustingly ugly, (nearly) hairless llamas that roam part of the game would be gross if it wasn't for the amazing dignity with which they stand -- like stallions in a windswept field. That is until they're angered and their eyes turn bloodshot and faces contort before bashing the crap out of us.
If you're a veteran of adventure games you'll find a lot to love in this small package. It's not quite the epic that the old Lucasarts adventures were, but the humor is almost at that level. At $2.99 adventure fans will find it tough to find a deal that matches this.
First-timers in the genre could also enjoy this though. The puzzles aren't extremely difficulty, and there's a hint system that will get you through the tough segments. There are even segments that include Mass Effect-esque dialogue trees that you can experiment with.
With its great sense of humor and high quality art design, Scarlett and the Spark of Life is a very good deal and a great way to spend some time during the morning commute. Especially if you happen to take a hairless llama to work.
Dec 7, 2010