Look at that screenshot above. It’s a little girl tied up inside some sugar factory, with a pile of dynamite to her side and a spinning saw blade of doom heading right towards her. This scene takes place almost immediately after starting Jamming with Grandma, another point-and-click adventure game from Carmel Games that I foolishly assumed was going to a light-hearted romp where a young child helps her elder make some fancy plum jam.
In one way, I was right, and then I was also completely wrong, as a creepy dude in black quickly showed up and kidnapped little Kaitlyn with the full intention to murder her. No, that’s not entirely true. Here comes a spoiler: all the threats in that room are completely fake. That dynamite? It’s just paper towel tubes painted red. That saw blade? It actually goes behind Kaitlyn and cuts her ropes off. He only wanted to make it seem like she was going to die so that Kaitlyn would give up her grandma’s secret, award-winning jam recipe. Yup, all that for jam.
After escaping the dastardly plans of the disturbing man dressed in black, it’s business as usual in Jamming with Grandma. You’ll travel to a limited number of scenes set in a small, suburban town, interact with a small mount of people, pick up items, and then use them on people and things to progress forward in your quest to get Grandma all the ingredients she needs. I believe this is sugar, lemon, sliced pears, and something else I am forgetting. I’m no jam chef, though I do enjoy putting some apple jam jelly on lightly toasted bread in the morning.
I know this won’t be shocking, but I continue to experience the same problems I did with other titles from Carmel Games like Smells like Art and Dakota Winchester’s Adventures. These include not being able to tell when you can explore more of a scene to the left or right, obtuse puzzles, and extremely forced voice acting. The latter isn’t a deal-killer, but I did eventually get stuck for a minute or two in Jamming with Grandma until I accidentally hovered my mouse over to the right inside Grandma’s house and discovered there was an entire second room to explore. The artwork didn’t really make it seem like there was more that way.
Speaking of artwork, I actually really like the direction Jamming with Grandma took. It’s more colorful and defined than previous titles, where everything in the foreground, meaning characters and items you could pick up, felt flat when placed against the more detailed backgrounds. Here, everything gels together a little more naturally. Though Grandma’s artwork kind of reminds me of the Hobbits in Return of the King by Rankin and Bass. Also, there’s a kid dressed up as Freddy Krueger and hanging out on a sidewalk, which was weird, though he did eventually make himself useful for a puzzle.
Once again, I continue to pop into these titles because I’m just so dang curious about them and their titles and plots and how high the male voice actors will pitch their voices this time to somewhat emulate a woman speaking. Can’t wait to see which one I try next, though I did see a comment on Carmel Games’ blog mentioning that a new title that explored more of this mysterious man in black was on its way. Let’s hope there’s less kidnapping of tiny children.