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Loophole - Nieder mit den Spaßdieben
(= Down with the Fun Snatchers)


Release date: 09/2004
Developer: Hidden Dinosaur (now Idol FX)
Publisher: Tivola


Game language: German


Boxshots

USK: for all ages


 

A review by   André   20th December 2004

(translated by slydos 03/05)

The game is at least unique. Because the gameplay mode of an adventure game meets the graphics of classic RPGs or Jump&Runs for consoles. The 3D-adventure has a third-person-view and should appeal - according to the box blurb - to children from eight to hundred-and-two. I'm in between somewhere, but the game hasn't actually bumped me out of my seat. It's more of a nice game for in-between.

 

Story and object of the game

The peaceful inhabitants on the Asteroid Loophole are in danger, because the evil Bugibu, Prince of Ghosts, transforms them into much less peaceful Ghost Nibblings one after the other. We slip into the role of the sorcerer's apprentice Jumi and must save the inhabitants.

Fact is, the above described story only exists in theory. The important basics are however only given in detail in the description and stay detained from the actual game. We hardly learn anything from the ultra-brief intro and there were also no explaining sequences at all. There's also little talking in Loophole.

In any case the whole time we're running hectically back and forth and look for objects, which we must hand over to the correct folks as fast as possible, so that these no longer grouch and besides don't turn into mentioned evil "Ghost Nibblings", while we must reconvert already bewitched inhabitants. If a certain number of inhabitants was transformed into Nibblings, the game is lost. The first games I played were not very productive and ended very fast. In this case you have to restart the game from the beginning every time and redo everything you've done before!

 

Graphics

Let's get to the best of Loophole - the graphics. The graphics style has fairly been inspired by RPG or Jump&Run games for consoles. The scenes of Loophole remind me more likely of Zelda, lets say of the ninth part Wind Waker, but without even reaching its class or perhaps also of Wallace & Gromit either. And Jumi reminds a lot of Link. The varied environment has resources to please and also the partial nice character design, like that of the funny music band lets arise such a thing as atmosphere.

There are however a few cutscenes which look a bit blurry. The seawater isn't animated at all in most takes and if you really can recognize waves in some scenes, they don't look very thrilling. And after all the strains there are not even credits as reward.

 

Down with Fun

Loophole is really no self-describing game. A lot of signs and symbols show up and I would have wished me a printed booklet. But it looks as if the 'fun snatchers' climbed into the game box, ripped the manual off and changed it instead against a demo CD as well as one of Tivola's promotional brochures. However, we find a detailed description following the help link of the options menu. Unfortunately the small font on the flashy background does not entice necessarily for reading. So I first had to enquire about it laboriously, what's the actual sense of the game. Because not only this remains unclear after the much too short intro as already said before.

Why does this little dragon e.g. permanently cirlces around us? What are the characters communicating to us through the symbols in the bubbles? And what is the meaning of the numerous other symbols? Why is there again and again the sequence of a strange bird landing? What about the shamrock in the left bottom corner and the "purple octopus" in the right top corner of the screen? So many questions, that are only partly answered in the description. There are no sub-titles and also no text blocks with explanations e.g. about controls or characters, who appear from time to time and disappear again just as fast, as they came sometimes, without letting us read the whole texts.

 

Handling

The handling actually is quite comfortable. There is a classic point+click control. But I really wonder, why we still have to press the Shift-key for running fast and so always must involve the keyboard instead of icluding all necessary functions in the mouse control. Double clicking on the left mouse button would have also sufficed to let Jumi run.

A right-click opens the inventory. Unfortunately there's only space for nine objects and if it is full, we must leave behind important objects. That makes the game not necessarily easier, passing out the little presents under time pressure to the crotchety folks.

There are no sub-titles and I won't get tired to point out that so a great hobby or at least an interesting pastime is refused to hearing-impaired people. By the way I think that sub-titles simply belong to an adventure game.

At the beginning one can choose between three difficulty levels. In the options menu one can load a game but not save, because this is done automatically.

 

Sound

Very little is spoken in Loophole. But if the characters speak, they explain in a rather nerving and strident babytalk, which object they miss. Invented infantile to hair-raising names such as Ghost Nibblings, Bugibu, Mummybunny, gurgling Gawakis or Dondenpupsi don't really contribute to the well-being of adult players with only halfway clear mind, particularly since the game doesn't have the charm of the amazing "Little Big Adventure", which ostensible also aroused the first impression, as if it wants to serve the clientele of Sesame Street. Likewise rather mediocre because quite monotonous is the electronic music. The sound per se is actually okay. But hey, isn't that always the same track tootling?

 


Result

If I wouldn't have been "assigned", to write a review about this game, I would have put it away confused after one hour and would have spent my time on another game. Because starting Loophole is not very easy for lack of explanations. Thus I had to struggle through it and when I got to the point that I understood the game's principle, I had to satisfy my ambition and so finished at least the easy level successfully.

The game is at least in this level very short, because after perhaps 2 hours I had fulfilled apparently all tasks and the game was suddenly and unexpectedly over. The graphics are beautiful and you can discover some really interesting places. We go dipping into a mine, different small villages and even dive into the sea in between. And meanwhile we meet some scurrile characters with which we hardly can communicate. Who has the leisure, to learn the cryptic rules at the beginning and likes to play adventure games with permanent time limit, may enjoy this short game.



Rating: 58 %

 

Adventure-Archiv rating system:

  • 80% - 100%  excellent game, very recommendable
  • 70% - 79%    good game, recommendable
  • 60% - 69%    satisfactory, restricted recommendable
  • 50% - 59%    sufficient (not very recommendable)
  • 40% - 49%    rather deficient (not to be recommended - for hardcore-adventure-freaks and collectors only)
  • 0%  -  39%    worst (don't put your fingers on it)

 

System requirements:

  • Windows 98/2000/ME/XP
  • Pentium III 500 Mhz
  • 128 MB RAM
  • 475 MB free space on hard disk
  • 8x CDROM drive
  • 3D graphic card of 2nd generation

Played with:

  • WIN 98
  • AMD Athlon XP 1800
  • 256 MB RAM
  • Graphic card Radeon 9200 series
  • 16x CDROM-drive
  • Hard disk 60 GB

 

 

Copyright © André for Adventure-Archiv, 20th December 2004

 

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