The whole time I was playing Stains and the Giant, which, I’ll grant you, was no more than maybe fifteen minutes total, I couldn’t stop thinking about how Stains the dog got its name. When push comes to shove, there’s only so many possible scenarios for a puppy to deserve such a calling, especially when it is young and innocent and unable to do cool, heroic-like feats that could potentially get him dubbed something cool like Jumps or Digs. Nope. The dog’s name is Stains, and it is left up to your imagination as to why.
Instead, what one should be focusing on in Stains and the Giant from Esklavos is fixing the magical portal, which will help teleport Stains…um, to somewhere else. I don’t know how the dog arrived here or where Stains is off to next, but it is not too vital to getting things done. To fix this portal, the dog will need to travel from one island to another (there’s four in total) using his airship, gathering items, solving puzzles for a fisherman, a bird, and a giant, and memorizing a bunch of clue codes–or do as I did, and take a picture on your cell phone of things you might need to reference later when the time is right. Saves on the backtracking and mind-scrunching.
The point and click mechanics are of the usual sort, and you can combine a few items in your inventory to create new ones. The puzzles are more geared towards patterns and memorization. For example, on the first island, you might spot a sign of strange symbols. On the next island, you’ll find those symbols again and must click on them in the same order as previously observed. Stuff like that. In terms of audio, the few short songs are jauntily enough, almost something you’d hear at a carnival, but they don’t last very long, leaving you with just ambient noises, like birds chirping and the sound of the ocean. That’s fine, but when you are stuck on a single screen for some time, a longer song is more desirable. Strangely, there are no sound effects for items interacting with another, not even a sound to let you know that using a pick-axe on a cloud is beyond ineffective.
I really dig the cartoonish, colorful look in Stains and the Giant. Both items you can interact with and the background art live on equal ground, which makes it sometimes difficult to know what you can or can’t click on, but it also helps to keep everything meshing together realistically, even when we’re discussing fantasy elements like magic skulls and a talking bird. There’s little to no animation, which resulted in me getting stuck in one spot where I hadn’t realized I had solved a puzzle and a crystal had appeared on the screen since there was no action indicating something like that was happening. Also, Stains is really cute looking and reminds me fondly of Frasier‘s Eddie.
Also, as far as I can tell, Stains has a few more adventures in his future, with Stains and the Yeti and Stains and the Guru already up and ready to go. I’ll have to give these a try at some point, though I’ll continue to hold out hope for Stains and the Person that Named Him That.