The Average Gamer

The Next BIG Thing Review (PC)

The Next Big Thing is the latest creation from Pendulo Studios, a Spanish developer who specialise in point-and-click adventures. After 16 years in the business they certainly know how to make a good game. Here’s the thing; as a gamer I am not usually into point-and-click adventures. They lack challenge, are usually badly scripted and above all are generally boring. I am happy to say that The Next BIG Thing passes all that and rushes straight for your fun gland.

Set in an alternate world to our own, where monsters from Hollywood films are actual monsters instead of special effects and are highly praised in society, The Next BIG Thing shows off a beautiful cel-shaded art style that really is amazing at higher resolutions. The story follows Dan Murray, an arrogant ex sports writer, and Liz Allaire, a young reporter who seems to be quite mad. They get embroiled together in a tale that takes them through classic locations hailing back to the golden age of cinema.

Standard point and click controls are used – after all, if it ain’t broke then don’t fix it. Left-click moves the character around the room and selects items to interact with while right-click cycles through interaction types: hold, drop, etc. It is actually worth exploring everything you can just to hear the characters thoughts, particularly during the sections when you are playing as Liz. Although her dialog will leave you confused sometimes it will make you smile more than once.

In comparison Dan is rather straight-laced. His puzzle sections show off this attitude, often lacking the fun and personality that Liz brought to the story. Dan was obviously intended as a baseline to show how crazy Liz is in comparison but he just feels out of place in this zany world.

The puzzles aren’t fiendishly difficult for anyone with experience at point-and-click games. If you don’t have experience then don’t fret. There are a number of helpful tricks added to the game to help settle you in. Hotspots can be activated to highlight interactive objects and if you ask for help, a narrator all but explains what to do to give you that helpful nudge. Once you get into the habit of using every object on every other object, the puzzles get easier. It is just a matter of trial and error as the difficulty is set at the beginning of the game and can’t be changed. If you choose to launch in hard mode the only way to change the difficulty down is by starting a new game.

As with all adventure games of this style the replay factor is an issue once you have finished it. Once you know the plot, the script and most importantly you know how to solve the puzzles, there’s not much else to do. If the game crashes on you like it did with me, it’s easy to make up for a few hours work in a sliver of the time. This isn’t something I think can be avoided in the genre but doesn’t stop it from being a downer.

If you like cinema, adventure games, comedic scripting and beautiful animation then it is far too easy to recommend The Next BIG Thing. Whilst a few of the puzzles are on the higher end of the hair-pulling scale, the majority of them are light-hearted and fun to solve. If you haven’t played a point and click game before then The Next BIG Thing is a great place to start and for £18.50 provides enough laughs and game time to be worth the price.

You can buy The Next BIG Thing online for US$29.99 (approximately £18.50)

This was a guest post from Lewis Rayne. Lewis thrives on pressure and life just isn’t exciting enough for him. That might be why he games so much. Despite being an avid gamer and writer he has never finished a Sonic game past the first world and has accepted the fact he probably never will. Lewis writes words for those that want them.

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