For some gamers, it seems point and click games went out of vogue in 1989. Yet here we are in 2022 with a new love letter to the genre classics. Does The Dark Prophecy point to a revival or click the off button? Let’s gaze in our crystal ball and find out.
A Cursory Glance
It all begins with a boy, Jacob, sitting beside a lake when a wizard appears from the water and asks Jacob for his help finding the wizard Merlin. Jacob goes screen to screen looking for items to gain entry into the castle, where he can wake Merlin from his slumber, and save his village. We head to town to start, where we meet the local witch who gives us the keys to her house and the clicking begins. There isn’t a lot of extrapolation as far as the story goes. Just very quick simple conversations that move the story forward.
Click and click again
Click around the screen to move. Change the cursor and talk to the few characters that exist. Accordingly, a different cursor exists to interact with the objects, and a drag and drop menu to combine items. That’s the full of extent of The Dark Prophecy gameplay.
Additionally, as with all types of games in this genre, The Dark Prophecy is both relaxing and infuriating. There are many items that would seem obvious but aren’t available until you talk to the right person or click something else. Some of the solutions to the puzzles are puzzling to say the least. Admittedly, I spent a lot of time traversing back and forth between the screens, of which there are about 12 total in the game, trying desperately to figure out what they wanted from me. Most of the time it was some small thing in the background that I missed, or I hadn’t talked to the right person yet.
Point me to nostalgia
It’s a common occurrence. Confusing puzzles have been a staple of the genre since King’s Quest and Leisure Suit Larry. There is a real lack of differentiation between clickable and non-clickable items. Only adding to the confusion is having to cycle between a looking, moving, and interacting cursor. Oftentimes, I thought I was clicking on the right thing but I didn’t have the right cursor selected. The whole interaction could have been handled differently with all the available buttons on a PS5 controller.
Graphics wise, The Dark Prophecy is on par with PC games from the 1990s. The animation is very basic. I’m sure that was the look the developers were aiming for, but it all comes off as stilted and outdated. For lovers of early entries in the genre, maybe it will evoke fuzzy memories, but it did little for me.
Where do I click to make this stop?
The Dark Prophecy felt like a slog, overall. The whole affair lasts about an hour with lots of back tracking and head scratching. I can’t say I had much fun playing this. I’m sure fans will find something here to enjoy, but for me, it lacked the novelty and charm of the leaders of the category. I found the entire thing to be rudimentary. I guess the prophecy was darker than I expected.
The Dark Prophecy from Meridian4 and Rataliaka Games is available on Nintendo Switch, Xbox One, PS4/5 and Steam.
Review code provided by Rataliaka Games.