The Journey Down - Chapter Three

"Now that it's complete, I can definitely recommend this series to fans of point & click adventure games."

Author's note: the Editor's Choice award I'm giving this chapter is intended as an award for the game as a whole.

When I wrote my review for The Journey Down: Chapter Two, I lamented the fact that 18 months had passed between chapters — I didn't think it would ever arrive. Little did I know that it would take three more years for the game to reach its conclusion in Chapter Three. Thankfully, the wait was worth it.

Chapter Three sees main character Bwana, his brother Kito, and their friend and erstwhile employer Lina finally arriving in Underland, the place they've been trying to reach since their adventure began. They quickly learn the basics of what is happening in Underland and why it has been causing the trouble we saw in the cities of St. Armando and Port Artue in the previous chapters. This final chapter is dedicated to their attempts to foil that evil plot. By the end, they've resolved lingering plot threads, answered some questions that have been with us since Chapter One, and done so in a way that doesn't require players to go back and remind themselves of every detail of what happened before. I felt satisfied with the way everything wrapped up — exactly what you'd hope to see in the final chapter of a game that has left you waiting for years.

This chapter doesn't make any big changes in the formula we saw in Chapter Two, but that's not a bad thing by any means. The puzzles all make sense, even though in the case of one puzzle, I might argue that electricity doesn't work that way. I was always able to figure out what I should do and why, though, and that's really the crucial question. In fact, one of the puzzles in this chapter gave me one of my new favorite moments of realization in a game. It didn't take me too long to figure out what to do, but I got a huge grin when I did.

Likewise, the presentation I've come to expect from The Journey Down is still here and still great to experience. Chapter Three seems to move away from the oil painting look of the backgrounds in the previous chapters without deserting it entirely, and I think it's a nice middle ground. Characters both old and new still feature looks based on African masks sculpted out of clay. The look still fits the game like a glove, and it's still done very well. The music and voices are also still excellent. I'd absolutely buy a soundtrack for this game — and Chapter Two's improvement in audio fidelity carries over.

In my review of Chapter Two, I praised the developers for learning from what wasn't great in Chapter One, and I'm happy to see that they followed through in the final chapter. It took a long time for this story to finally see its conclusion, but I'm really glad that it did. Now that it's complete, I can definitely recommend this series to fans of point & click adventure games. If you haven't played Chapters One and Two, make sure to do so before you play Chapter Three; as of this writing, you can get all three for just $30, and that feels pretty fair to me.

This review is based on a free review copy provided to RPGFan by the developer. This relationship in no way influenced the reviewer's opinion of the game or its final score.

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