I was not in the mood to go out for lunch today, and so I stayed in, gobbling up my turkey-and-cheese spinach wrap in record time and washing it all down with a bottle of Arizona green tea. No, really–I ate super fast today, and so I had some free time during my lunchbreak, and what better way to fill free time with than freeware. In this scenario, I’m speaking specifically about a little point-and-click darling called Shapik: The Quest, which you can play totally for free in your browser over at NewGrounds.
Now, there are countless little adventure freeware games out there, but Shapik stood out mainly on its visuals. It’s fantastic art is like a criss-cross of Samorost 2 and Botanicula/The Tiny Bang Story (both owned, but not yet played), with colorful, kooky critters standing out in a cutesy way against detailed and other worldly backgrounds. You start out in a magical forest and end in more modern locations, like a building’s interior and roof, but those places still retain a unique look to set them apart from what one might deem traditional. All along, there’s ambient music that is evocative, but not distracting, and no voiced dialogue, just grunts and sound effects and pictures in word balloons a la Machinarium, which helps keep the magic self-contained.
But what is Shapik’s quest? Why am I playing this freeware point-and-clicker? I’m glad you asked. Allow me to copy/paste the game’s description and control scheme, bad grammar left as is, as presented on its NewGrounds site:
This is a story of Shapik, traveling through magic forest in search of his missing sister. Explore a beautiful world, full of mystery, magic and danger and find your missing sister, solving puzzles on your way.
Use your mouse.
Right. You are Shapik, a kind creature of the forest, your sister was stolen by bug-like things for unknown reasons, and you are off to rescue her. That doesn’t take very long, spanning nine individual screens, each of which has maybe two or three puzzles to solve. I ended up finishing it all in around twenty minutes, road-blocked only in two cases: once for a cryptic doorlock code, and the second for figuring out how to overload a furnace. There is no inventory; you just click on things, and either Shapik interacts with it or his bee friend will, and the puzzles themselves are very straightforward, such as using a crane to lift a hatch open.
So that was pretty enjoyable. Really, if you’ve got twenty to thirty minutes to kill, give Shapik: The Quest a go. Oh, and since it’s my blog and my gaming history, I’m counting it as one more done for 2013.