Secret of Adam (demo)
Secret of Adam is an old school JRPG-style game in the vein of SNES classics. Successfully Kickstarted way back in Jan, it looks filled with exactly the kind of stuff that makes a new retro game a new retro game.
It’s amazing how, even with my voracious appetite for hidden indie games, that I never heard a lick about it before. I dived into the public demo to see how it holds up.
From the story to the battles to the chubby chibi pixel characters falling into the typical archetypes, Adam is pretty heavy on the familiar. There’s strong male warrior lead, the fragile female caster with powerful spells and healing powers, and the mysterious stoic character who joins your party for reasons. Yes, it’s all very derivative. And turn-based battles, XP and levelling up… There isn’t really any surprises to be found here. It should come as no surprise that the game’s homepage proudly proclaims: “DO YOU REMEMBER YOUR FIRST RPG IN THE 90’S?”
Still, if you’re going to go full old school, then polish is where it counts and Adam has it in spades. Derivative as it is, Adam does it well: the pixel art is spot on, looking like an overlooked SNES game from the late 90’s, as is the sound and music, which even if somewhat generic, sounds the part. A personal bonus point: the beginning of the game drops you straight into the first dungeon right off the bat – no modern lengthy tutorials forcing you to demonstrate your mental prowess at opening the menu and equipping sword for half an hour before actually letting you play.
The dialog may be no Dickens, but it’s snappy enough and keeps things moving. Although it tends to come across a little blunt, with characters blurting out lore or exposition in an oddly matter-of-fact sentence, it reminds me of early Final Fantasy games quite a bit. The good side: things keep moving at a brisk pace and although your wizard might emote about feeling a tad uncomfortable harnessing dark energies from the underworld, you simply nod and move along without needing to deal with an emo-filled backstory about it.
As always with new offerings, there are at least some inevitable contemporary twists. Here, instead of traditional magic points you have AP which is percentage based. So, for example, magic user Asrael’s handy lightning bolt sets you back 25%, while swordsman Kellan’s ‘cleave’ move costs a hefty 45%. AP regenerates by 15% each combat turn, but a killing blow also nets a bonus 5% restoration.
The upside to the A system is that you’ll always be using your special abilities rather than the old ‘save it up for the boss’ lark, which is nice and makes trash mob battles go much faster. On the other hand, it does feel a little odd that AP doesn’t regenerate outside of battle, leaving you at an arbitrary disadvantage if you happen to end a battle with a team on low AP. For the most part, though, it’s not an issue, and if anything, the only real niggle I had was that the battle movement and animation could probably do with some speeding up.
How will it work as a full game, though? Adam clearly shows polish, but it’s hard to say yet how well its straight up derivative nostalgia trip will stretch into a full experience. Nonetheless, I’m looking forward to finding out.
The Secrets of Adam demo will probably last you around 2 hours and serves up a pretty decent nostalgia trip – but with the crucial added benefit of being a new experience.
Secret of Adam | Play Demo Online