A shorter review this time. The Prince of Landis is a pretty quickly wrapped up point & click adventure game with adult themes and a supernatural elements. You are a kid in their early teens dealing with a deadbeat dad and merciless bullies while just looking for your place in the world. The game sets off as this coming of age story of sorts, where your player character starts off very meek and disrespectful: a misfit. But an encounter with an alien suddenly empowers the MC as he figures out how to stand up for himself.
Sure, these themes are expressed, I just felt like the story wraps up so abruptly that it gave me whiplash honestly. The things I enjoyed about The Prince of Landis, and where its at its best, are some of the unsettling soundscapes and the creepy 2D set pieces. It doesn’t go full horror like Corpse Party, but there are some areas that are genuinely unnerving and some graphic scenes, not to the level of the Saw films, but still. I guess by the end of my couple hour long playthrough, I enjoyed a decent number of cool ideas in isolation, but I don’t feel like they ever came together by the end to really deliver a fulfilling and satisfying story. The arc was predictable and some of the early intrigue I had crumbled after I realized my chain of fetch quests just led to the end of the game.
I think I may have been suckered into expecting more out of the suddenly aliens motif, imagining leaving the planet or visiting other creatures, maybe even a bit of combat or stealth. I’m usually pretty hooked by puzzles, and some of the environmental puzzles were engaging, while other times I found myself spamming confirm over every nook and cranny just trying to figure out what I was able to interact with. There are moments where it’s very difficult to distinguish between foreground window dressing and plot relevant pieces you can interact with. I generally enjoyed the brooding atmosphere of how isolated and alone you can feel, surrounded mainly by heartless adults and your piece of shit classmates. There are times where the locals feel very boring and lifeless and as such it’s boring to traverse though the landscape as a result. Sometimes it just felt like a hassle booking it ALL the way to and from each side of town. I mean the game is short, but still considering how much of the game is just backtracking and deliveries, I would have preferred some fade to black teleports when I completed tasks just to keep things rolling.
Contrary to most other games in the genre, this one’s not nearly as cryptic or confusing as some of its predecessors. Although, as mentioned, you may have to pay extra attention to background details and you should never be afraid to check if something can be interacted with. Dialogue is nothing special to write home about, it’s mostly bleak, or characterizing very hostile and morally bankrupt individuals. I do enjoy the ruthless and blunt nature of the alien character, and his lines carry the storytelling in this game. The little comic book vignette “cutscenes” are okay. A lot of times, it appears like the same character poses are used, and still-frames have a harder time selling what’s going on rather than animations. The art itself does look pretty awesome though, I just expected a bit more and I think they could deliver.
Honestly, there’s not much more to write about here without outright spoiling the game. Everything present is serviceable, but I don’t think all of these pretty good elements end up coming together by the end of the game to form something truly great. In many ways, the game feels like it’s still a demo or incomplete, but I understand the amount of work game development can be. For a quick, potentially relatable story, especially if you dealt with bullying in the past, with some creepy vibes, you could do worse with 8 bucks. But I am certainly not going out of my way to sell this game that hard.
A review copy provided by the devs.
Hellfirebam has barely squeaked by the Indie Gamer Seal of Approval.