We all know what you're thinking as you look at this and view the screenshots: Another point-and-click game released several years after they've been an anachronism amongst the gaming market. Well that might be true but snubbing an entire genre based upon the fact that it can be somewhat slow is a really silly thing to do. One of the greatest things about the point-and-click adventure games is that they've usually got some very colorful characters and a story that really pulls you into it. Obviously some do this better than others which is why the old Sierra and LucasArts titles are the most well known of the bunch.
Brought to you by The Adventure Company, the same guys that have released the recent Agatha Christie games, Everlight of Magic and Power continues their tradition of good game music, surprisingly good voice actors and fantastic art design for the backgrounds. However it's hard to argue with the fact that some aspects of the point-and-click genre have become quite overly dated and a few hours with Everlight will show you just why that is.
Everlight of Magic and Power follows a young boy named Melvin. Seeking shelter from a rainstorm he ends up in a candle shop. This isn't just any candle shop, oh no, this is a magic candle shop. After some banter with the owner Melvin finds himself teleported to a strange fantasy world in a town named Tallen on a quest to become a wizard. It seems that Tallen is under some sort of curse wherein at night all of the inhabitants embrace their darker sides. Town councilors torturing each other, postal workers brandishing a sword and a rather… worldly old grandma in a dominatrix outfit, it's clear that there's definitely something wrong here.
Luckily for Melvin he isn't alone in all of this mess. Keeping him company is his spirit guide, a small, flying, Elf by the name of Fiona. This smart mouthed little nuisance is invisible to everyone except those she allows to see her and is the only real assistance you have on your quest. She can be asked questions about the people and places in the game, giving you generally helpful advice although she can be really snarky about it at times.
In addition she has a notebook where she keeps all your quests straight. Should you find yourself really in a pinch you can even resort to an in-game hint system where she slowly points you more and more in the right direction. These hints are limited by what difficulty you're playing on but they're a lifesaver at times.
The game is played in the pseudo-3D that the genre is known for. The beautiful backgrounds look like they were painted by an artist and the character models move through this. When first playing the game, things seem to stand out a bit, such as the models standing out from the background too much, but as you play more it becomes less noticeable and things mesh quite well. It can be a bit hard to figure out what items you can pick up for later use but it ends up looking less silly than games with the "Scooby-Doo effect", that odd anomaly in old cartoons and games that shows what is part of the background and what can be interacted with all too clearly due to their color scheme being off.
All of this works quite well, coming together in a fairly good game. However, much like most other point-and-click type games, Everlight is marred by a few problems that end up dragging the product down.
As any who has played these sorts of adventure games can probably guess the puzzles, while mostly logical and fairly simple to solve, slowly fall off into the deep end. Puzzle solutions slowly get more and more obtuse in ways that just don't make any logical sense or require you to search for a single interactive pixel on the screen. All of this tends to ensure that you end up spending thirty minutes to an hour on a puzzle you know how to complete, you're just missing a single object required to do so.
Doubling the frustration of this is just how useless the in-game hint system is most of the time. If you find yourself stuck it can be useful every once in a while but more often than not it is just plain useless. There are a number of puzzles where it will tell you how to get something but not how to properly use it or information on the other items you need to use it properly. Even "better" than that there are puzzles where you actually can't use the hint system at all. While I guess they wanted you to do the most plot relevant puzzles on your own it kind of defeats the purpose of a hint system if they don't let you use it when you need it.
Luckily the music in this game is perfectly fitting to the setting and rather calming. There were times when stopping for a moment and listening to the music was the only thing that saved the game disk from switching hobbies to a Frisbee disk. Listening to the characters can be a bit annoying though since most of the voice actors don't really do things like emotion or interest. Melvin and Fiona are pretty good most of the time but the rest of them are very hit or miss.
Everlight of Magic and Power is a pretty good point-and-click that just so happens to still be burdened by the limitations of the genre. Pretty much every one of these adventure games has the same, really annoying, obsession with making you hunt down obscure clues. While Everlights' story isn't interesting enough to drive you onward, like the Monkey Island games did, the characters are more than strong enough to push you forward. That, and the constant humor, is more than enough reason to play this game especially at the bargain price it's at.