The Silver Lining Episode 4 PC Review
King’s Quest was one of my favourite point and click series, on par with Monkey Island and Full Throttle. So when The Silver Lining appeared as a series revival, I was excited. King’s Quest, back? Fantastic! We’re now celebrating the release of the fourth episode in the series, “Tis In My Memory Locked, And You Yourself Shall Keep The Key Of It”. It continues the journey of a father in search of a way to save his children, protect his wife, and rid his kingdom of foul magics and those who use them.
Episode four continues where three left off: the King is still on the hunt for more ingredients to lift the curse on his children, he just found out his wife is of druid blood, and the bad guy in the robes is still a giant douche and is causing mo’ problems. The narrative takes a lot of cliche fantasy/fairy tale ideas, and gives them a slightly dark spin, which is weirdly refreshing in a genre full of the outright weird or insane.
I spent half of the time during the cinematics in awe of the great quality of the visuals, and the other half trying to make my eyes stop bleeding while I pondered why the lip animations of the characters were so horrendous. The models were pretty decent quality, considering TSL is a free game, developed by volunteers. But the lips! Oh lordy, the lips. I was frightened at first. I’m still having nightmares now, of loose-lipped princesses and Mick Jaggers chasing me around a garden maze, while the King just stared and laughed. They’re very cartoony, goofy even, with exaggerated proportions. There are even anthropomorphic npc’s, mostly dog-men. There was some weirdness with the models as well. On a couple of occasions, a death and retry resulted in my face down body sliding along the floor. Sure, I laughed and merriment was had by all, but that sort of thing shouldn’t happen, and is the result of lazy programming.
The voice acting is impeccable, and the music is fairly immersive. It’s also nice that there is some familiar King’s Quest music early on. It’s the kind of music that you can relax to, but I found it really counter-productive to the gameplay. I kept stopping just to listen to the music; that’s all fine and dandy, but it killed the immersive qualities of the music when I would have to pull myself out of a relaxed lull to get back to playing. The music is too catchy, too soothing; it pulls you in and makes you forget about the rest of the game.
TSL is a point-and-click adventure game, but turns the whole thing on its head by going the 3D environment route. It actually makes finding interactable objects easier, since anything that is a prop model is likely interactable in some way. Its a generally new-ish experience (having it in 3D), especially given the art style. That’s not to say the 3D point-and-click hasn’t been done before (Sam and Max, Grim Fandango, Myst), but it does do it rather well. The flow of gameplay is decent, if a little bit tedious with running back and forth. The mechanic of having the selection tools interchangeable via the right click is genius. It’s one of the most user-friendly control schemes ever in a point-and-click game. This alone, I think, is the shining beacon of hope for all future point-and-click games. That, and the inclusion of some rarely-seen mechanics makes it a pretty fun game, despite the tediousness. To talk about the secret mechanics would give away some very cool surprises in the game, so trust me when I say, you’ll be shocked, surprised, and have loads of extra fun.
Episode four itself isn’t that long; it felt slightly shorter than episode three, but longer than the first two games. Despite this, TSL is an episodic series, so overall there is a fair amount of replayability. You’ll likely play through each episode a couple of times at least, if you want to find all of the secrets and experience all of the content. It would be interesting to someone attempt speed runs of both the individual episodes and the entire series.
We all know and love King’s Quest, so the fact that TSL is now on it’s fourth episode is pretty amazing. There are a few glitches that really take away from the quality of the game, but otherwise it manages to maintain the fun and excitement of the previous episodes, while continuing the narrative is a meaningful way. Solid point-and-click adventure gameplay, really good music (almost too good), and simplifying the point-and-click mechanics make TSL some of the most fun you can have with a point-and-click game. It’s also very free, so if you loved King’s Quest, or you enjoy point-and-click adventure games, take a gander at TSL. Episode Four might not make much sense, so I’d suggest playing from the first episode. If you’ve played King’s Quest all the way through the series before, TSL will probably make more sense and be that much more enjoyable.