Top Critic Average
High Strangeness might be a brief adventure that feels a bit shallow at times, but it's very easy to digest. Because of the short nature of the game it doesn't waste your time, and it's very easy for anyone -- retro enthusiast or not -- to pick up and play.
High Strangeness is a well constructed game which does a lot of things right with regards to its core mechanics and presentation. Unfortunately the implementation of its main hook is somewhat lackluster, and the game is really a bit short given the asking price. However, a great deal of love has gone into crafting this retro homage. Players who love good old fashioned adventure games won't be disappointed if they give High Strangeness a chance.
High Strangeness was a game I wanted to love, but I ended up just liking it. The fantastic score and solid visuals can't make up for the short experience and that is quite the shame because what is there is really solid. If a sequel is ever considered, I would hope the developers would consider making a longer voyage. Fans of retro RPGs and Action-RPGs will find enjoyment here, but just don't expect it to last very long.
As it stands though, High Strangeness feels like a game that was built around a novel idea and hurried to completion.
There is so much potential with this game, but it just needs work. It feels like a first draft of something that, if taken further, will be something less irritating and more awesome.
Why have simple videogames like Pac-Man and Tetris stood the test of time, while other, more innovating titles have been disappointing at best? The answer is because the potential of these otherwise great ideas has been thrown out of the window and High Strangeness is such a failure. The notion of mixing Zelda-esque puzzle-solving, with the ability to go from an 8-bit world to a 16-bit one could rock the indie community if it was used correctly, but, unfortunately, it wasn't.
All of these factors leave High Strangeness in a place that I find, quite appropriately, strange. Nothing about the game feels incomplete but many aspects of it feel like they weren't fully realized. The game starts off with plenty of compelling story and gameplay ideas, but halfway through the game it feels like the developers stopped developing these ideas and then created a flat line to the end. I don't want to make the second half of the game sound bad, because it really isn't, but I can't deny that it isn't really isn't all that good either.
Anyone trying this will find that the time spent with High Strangeness is indeed interesting, but not for the price-point and it is lacking considering it took five years to make. Games of this ilk, back in the day, were more commonplace and tended to last around 12-15 hours, maybe more depending on the title at hand, and in the case of High Strangeness, which is a game that is set up to be a long and epic quest of discovery, is resolved suddenly, just when things are getting interesting. It is a massive tease of ideas and possibilities that are sadly wasted, never properly fulfilled, likely leaving gamers feeling very hungry. Steven Jenkins does have some interesting ideas and he really should continue developing more because High Strangeness does show promise. Perhaps with a bit more careful planning and more focused management, he can deliver a game that satisfies all his narrative goals, since this seems surprisingly rushed.