Old school style games are not dead; they’re just waiting for the right moment. The Act waited through one studio closure and five years before it became a reality. It's time for me to act my part and review it.
The Act is a simple love story. Edgar is a window washer. He works with his sleepy brother, Wally. As they are washing the windows on a hospital, Edgar sees a nurse, Sylvia, and falls in love. While Edgar is side tracked, Wally spies an empty bed. Wally crawls in through the window and goes to sleep in the bed. When Edgar finally realizes Wally is missing he sees him being taken away for surgery.
Unable to get into the hospital Edgar disguises himself as a doctor to save Wally. Along the way he will try to impress Sylvia, act like a doctor, and keep his boss happy. All Edgar has to do is keep up the act.
Controls and Gameplay
The Act's gameplay harkens back to Dragon's Lair with a simple left or right selection. When prompted, the player slides their finger left or right across the screen to provide Edgar's reaction to a situation. For example in an early dream sequence Edgar is attempting to seduce Sylvia. The more you slide your finger to the right, the more aggressive Edgar is. Sliding to the left makes Edgar meeker. It's a simple mechanic that works effectively. In some situations it can be touchy.
Graphics and Sound
The gameplay of The Act isn't the only thing that harkens back to Dragon's Lair. The artwork in The Act is all hand drawn 2-D animation, something that is a bit of rarity in this day and age of computer graphic 3-D animation. It makes The Act really stand out for its artwork alone.
There is no voice acting. The story and emotion is all conveyed through the animation. The music is a great jazz soundtrack that helps to carry story and emotion.
The Act may be the most unique game I've seen in a long time. Everything about it is retro, but in a good way. The animation and sound track give it a feeling of something between Disney and The Peanuts cartoons. My comparison to Don Bluth's Dragon's Lair isn't too far off either. Whereas Don was a former Disney animator, so too were the people behind The Act.
The one complaint I do have with The Act is the length. I finished the game in under an hour. The only replay value it has is to go back and try to finish it sooner with fewer mistakes. Even with the short length, it was a satisfying game.
Short, but simple. Fun, and sure to bring a smile to classic animation fans. The Act delivers. I give it a 5 out of 5.
The Act is rated 12+ on the iTunes store for Infrequent/Mild Alcohol, Tobacco, or Drug Use or References.
The Act is available now exclusively for iOS devices (iPhone and iPad). For more information visit The Act web site.