A simple and sweet point-and-click game, Scarlett and the Spark of Life is a straight-up old-school adventure. Although a mere scrap of a game that can be gobbled down in about an hour, Scarlett bears a minor resemblance to the recently ported and quite excellent Broken Sword series. Although the puzzles are a little lightweight, the cartoonish, but beautifully done graphics and saucy sense of humor make Scarlett a very worthwhile morsel for adventure game lovers.
This lighthearted fantasy romp puts you in the role of Scarlett, a headstrong princess who has just been kidnapped by a pair of bumbling goons. A stereotypically fiery redhead, Scarlett tromps around the game in a mud-spattered gown and a pair of steampunk goggles, while hefting her favorite crowbar. At this point, the “badass princess” trope is almost as tired as the “damsel in distress” one, but the consistently witty writing keeps the characters from ever becoming stale.
Although all the dialogue is delivered through text, the characters you encounter are brimming over with personality thanks to lots of snappy one-liners and clean art design. The environments also benefit from the same simple, but attractive visuals, and the overall effect is beautifully suited to the iPhone.
The controls are also very simple, never requiring more than a tap to navigate the screen or negotiate the dialogue trees. A handy star button in the corner reveals all interactive hotspots, so you are never left pixel hunting. It’s a supremely elegant interface that makes the game that much more enjoyable.
The puzzles take a similarly elegant and simple approach, and while they shouldn’t take you very long to unravel, they’re really quite pleasant to solve. Hardcore adventure gamers may find them a tad too much on the easy side, but they do require a little thought.
Unfortunately, the jaunty story and cute puzzles mean the game has little if any replay value, and it’s also very short. I actually came out of it rather disappointed there wasn’t more, but I took that as a sign that I genuinely enjoyed myself. There’s a lot to like about this little game: excellent writing, nice graphics, and puzzles that are actually fun to solve. Truthfully, the only complaint I had was the length of the game, and even then, it wasn’t that I felt cheated in any way; I was just eager for more.
LucasArts lovers pining for the glory days should take note: Scarlett and the Spark of Life is a worthy addition to the genre, and I sincerely look forward to future installments.
Here is a video demo of the Scarlett and the Spark of Life: Scarlett Adve app on the iPhone
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