There aren’t many games set in rural Wales, which is hard to understand given the area’s lore, but Arbeth Studios have decided this would be the best place to set their new supernatural adventure, Rhiannon: Curse of the Four Branches. Largely based in and around the farmhouse of Ty Pryderi, a lurking evil must be prevented from exacting a cruel and terrible revenge on those who have wronged it. Exciting stuff!
Well, yes and no. For a start, flick-screen adventures aren’t renowned for edge of the seat gameplay. Then there’s the excruciating mundanity of the early tasks you are forced to complete – feeding a cat, for example. The interface is a little bit fiddly and there can be some sense of disorientation when quickly trying to navigate around the farmstead and its environs.
Having said that, the three-strong development team at Arbeth has done reasonably well to create a relatively isolated and spooky atmosphere in the game. While things never get pant-soilingly scary, an unnerving sense of loneliness permeates long stretches of the game. Whether that appeals to you is a matter of personal choice – while we appreciated the atmosphere, the tedious nature of the actual gameplay spoilt things a little.
Still, things do pick up later on and there’s a relatively rich and varied amount of material to sift through as you progress, especially if you find Celtic myths and legends of interest. So, if you can get over the extremely slow pace of the gameplay, you might find a relaxing-yet-spooky adventure to immerse yourself in on a wet Sunday afternoon.
Dec 19, 2008