The point and click adventure game has undergone a rejuvenation within this last year. With the success of the latest season of Sam and Max, Telltale Games brought another point and click adventure game to the market recently with the Hector series, which we reviewed last month. Not wanting to be left out, Pendulo Studios has also hit the market with their very own point and click adventure game called The Next Big Thing. Will The Next Big Thing live up to it’s moniker, or will it just be a forgettable attempt at following in Telltale Games recent footsteps?
Pendulo Studios places the story for The Next Big Thing within an alternate Earth during the golden age of the movie studios. In this alternate Earth, the monsters that we see in the movies are played not by actors, but actual monsters. The head of the most successful monster movie studio, William A. Fitzrandolph, is preparing to announce “the next big thing” to hit Hollywood. Reporters Dan Murray and Liz Allaire have been assigned to report on this news, when they stumble into a more sinister story surround Fitzrandolph and his movie studio. It is up to the player to discover the mystery that surrounds Fitzrandolph’s next big thing!
Pendulo Studios put together a really engaging story for “The Next Big Thing” that takes the player back to the golden age of a Hollywood. The story feels familiar and moves along at a very nice pace, but also has that edge of silliness and strangeness that makes the Earth the story takes place in feel not like our own. The characters all have their very own quirks that set them apart from any other characters that I’ve played. The pair of Dan Murray and Liz Allaire play off of each other extremely well in this game, like another point and click adventure duo from Telltale Games. Dan and Liz are forced to cover this story since Dan was kicked off of his beloved sports beat, and from the beginning you can tell that these two do not like each other. However, when Liz disappears, Dan’s true colors come through and he scores Hollywood to find her, while discovering the sinister plot that permeates The Next Big Thing.
The Next Big Thing is a very humorous game. It isn’t funny in the slapstick way that the Sam and Max series is, though The Next Big Thing does have its share of slapstick. It’s funny in a much more biting, sarcastic way, especially when the player is playing as Dan Murray. The characters are fully voiced and voiced well. Each character is believable and has their own quirks and issues that they have to deal with throughout the game.
The game play of The Next Big Thing is standard point and click fair. You are forced to confront a series of clues and puzzles that, when solved, will allow you to continue through with the story. The game has a nice clue system that will help you when stuck, but only works properly on the easy level of difficulty and cannot be turned on mid-game. Most of the clues will be easy to figure out for a seasoned point and click player, however, you will run into a few clues that are extremely difficult to figure out. On a few puzzles, even after clicking on the hint button, I still had no clue on what I was expected to do. This can end up being frustrating to players who do not have the patience, but for most I think the challenge will be a nice change of pace.
If you have followed any of my reviews, you know that this is the place where I would discuss the graphics and sound of the game. In a recent discussion with a few people, I have come to realize that discussing the graphics and sound of a game isn’t really doing any justice to anyone. Graphics in today’s gaming world have become a given. All games should have nicely rendered graphics that are crisp and clear on my TV. There isn’t any reason for anything less. However, just because a game has crisp and clean graphics, doesn’t mean that the game looks good. So instead, I will be discussing the game’s aesthetic style. How does the game actually look? Does the style and sound help immerse the player into the world of the characters? How does the developer use color to help make the visuals pop? As reviewers, we should be focusing on aesthetics instead of graphics to help the reader to understand the world of the game that we are reviewing.
With that being said, the aesthetics of The Next Big Thing are fantastic. The scenery is completed in a stylized manner of the alternate Earth in which the story takes place. Each room and scene is filled with interesting items that the player will want to learn more about. The use of color throughout the game helps to bring the scenery to life. The voice acting is also top notch for The Next Big Thing, which helps immerse the player into this world. You believe in the characters and feel like each character has a distinct personality and a voice to match. The Next Big Thing feels unique and is extremely interesting to both look at and to hear.
The Next Big Thing by Pendulo Studios is a must purchase if you are a fan of the point and click adventure genre. In comparison to the other point and click adventure game out, Hector: Badge of Carnage, The Next Big Thing not only feels more polished and challenging, but is a much more complete game, with well acted and humorous characters, a very pleasing aesthetic style to the scenery and color, and a length of play that makes it worth your time.