When the Mac App Store was announced I knew computer gaming was about to evolve. Almost everyone around me (mainly made up of Mac geeks) scoffed at the notion declaring it a mac-ified version of Steam. Over the first weeks my dreams got crushed by being proven wrong over and over again. Then I played 1112 episodes 1-2 and I see where computer gaming is headed and more importantly that I was right– I’m always right… but don’t tell my fiance that.
What separates 1112 from the pack is not the story, or art style, but how you play the game and interact with objects. It takes the control scheme from the iPad (and iPhone) and assigns the gestures onto the touchpad on your laptop. Swiping three fingers down the touchpad will bring down the menu while pinching you fingers will zoom into your environment. Gestures can solve puzzles as well, early on you will need to take your fingers and rotate them on the touchpad in order to spin the dial on a safe. It took me awhile to get a strong grasp of using these new controls but after a couple of gaming hours my hands were swiping in every direction and the controls were embedded in my mind.
The plot of 1112 is stretched out into 6 episodes (episode 3 is being worked on as I write- no release date as of yet). The protagonist is Louis an antiques dealer who BTW is a Johnny Depp impersonator on the side. When first introduced we witness one of his strange re-occurring dreams that he is trying to figure out made all the more difficult because he suffers from amnesia. Cliched just a little bit huh. With the first two episodes there is no clear ending or particular story dedicated to its own contained episode making it feel more like watching a movie and pausing it to finish later. Smaller stories per episode outlining a larger arch that expands all episodes would make playing far more interesting not to mention satisfying. As long as finishing an episode without a solid ending doesn’t bother you then you’ll be set.
The puzzles that progress the story vary from types and interactions. These range from complexity to reassembling a piece of torn paper to figuring out how to activate a boiler. Some puzzles are predictable while others involve multi-touch gestures.
Finding what to interact with can be rather cumbersome. Almost everything in the game can be clicked on and receive some type of comment (most are amusing). Trying to figure out what to interact with becomes more of a fruitless guessing game since most don’t allow you to do anything. This distracted me from the gameplay but, may be more of a personal preference then anything else. The more hardcore adventure gamers may enjoy reading all the comments.
The art style and sound is top notch. Visually it has a realistic, nicely hand drawn look. I wouldn’t be surprised if it was all real photographs and photoshoped to look like artwork– not that it matters. The ability to select items is very easy and creates fun gameplay. So, no gaudy, cheap 3d models that usually infest this market. The sounds were inviting and had me turning up my computer and delving into the story.
At the end of the day playing 1112 is a great adventure game that has very innovative controls. I’m definitely coming back for the rest of the episodes and you should do the same.