Broken Sword V: The Serpent’s Curse (iOS)

Broken Sword cover

Point and click adventures were always one of my favourite types of games and it was sad to see them fall out of fashion. New platforms and Kickstarter campaigns have seen them make a comeback, and few are as welcome as a new Broken Sword game from Revolution Software.

Broken Sword V: The Serpent’s Curse kicks off with the theft of a painting and the murder of the gallery owner where it was being displayed. American George Stobbart once again happens to be on the scene and, with his reporter friend Nicole Collard, investigates the murder, uncovering a deadly and ancient secret along the way.

Broken Sword continues the excellent storytelling we have come to expect from Revolution Software, setting up a tale that grabs your interest from the off and keeps you entertained. There are times when it feels a little dialogue heavy, since much of the dialogue is amusing, this is no bad thing and amidst the dialogue, the well-structured plot with its fiendish puzzles prove a fun challenge. Episode one is particularly strong, although Episode 2 (unlocked via an in-app purchase) occasionally feels a little rushed.

Puzzles are well-integrated into the storyline and don’t feel bolted on (although a couple feel a little artificial). They are reasonably imaginative and mostly logical (within a given sense of logic!). Broken Sword V is perhaps a little easier than its predecessors and, particularly in Part one, I found myself making progress quite quickly. Things do get tougher as you progress and the game offers a decent challenge. Seasoned adventurers will reach the end sooner rather than later, though.

As with any adventure game, it is somewhat linear and there are times when you hit a brick wall and are at a loss what to do next. This can lead to the old adventure game cliché of trying every object in your inventory with everything screen. This can be frustrating, but is a weakness of the genre in general, rather than this title in particular. And if you get really stuck, there are already plenty of walkthroughs on the internet.

Visually, the BS5 looks great. The cartoon-like graphics are full of detail, character animations are generally excellent (although the odd glitch creeps in) and the backgrounds prove suitably atmospheric. At the risk of descending into cliché, it really does feel like an interactive cartoon. There are times when on-screen items can be missed due to their small size, but this just makes you look harder and check everything.

Broken Sword Goat

George meets an old friend

Voice acting is also good. Series veteran Rolf Saxon is on top form as George Stobbart and his droll, dry delivery is perfect for the character and the game. Emma Tate also does an excellent job bringing the sultry Nico Collard to life. You might wonder why Paris is so full of English and American people (and there are a few ‘Allo ‘Allo style French accents too) but this doesn’t detract from the game. Ambient sound is a little more limited (but effective), whilst the swelling orchestral score is as good as ever (and often acts an aural clue that you might be onto something)

The control system has well adapted to a touch-screen environment, providing a control system that is easy for newcomers to grasp but instantly familiar to fans. It’s immediately clear what you can interact with and what is just background and moving around the screen and interacting with objects is simple and intuitive. There can sometimes be a short lag between tapping a command and it being carried out, but this is something you t get used to.

Episode 1 costs £2.99 to download, with Episode 2 available as an in-app purchase for £3.99. By the standards of iOS games, that might be a little pricey side but the game proves well worth the money and will keep most players going for a good few hours before they reach the end. Broken Sword V might not quite be up there with the very best titles in the series, but it’s still a worthwhile purchase for existing fans and newcomers to the series.

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