Doctor Who the Adventure Game isn’t really that good but it’s not terrible, it’s also free. At it’s best it does feel like an episode of the TV show and at the price of nothing it’s worth a look for super-fans.
I am a huge Doctor Who fan. My Dad had dozens of the old episodes on tape and we used to watch them all the time when I was little so when Doctor Who came back a few years ago I was very happy. It was bigger and better than ever and I looked forward to every new episode. I thought a few times during Tennant’s reign as the Doctor that a Doctor Who adventure game would be amazingly fun if done right but I thought we’d never see it. Now Matt Smith is the Doctor and we finally have a modern Doctor Who adventure game and what makes this better is that it’s FREE (to us Brits anyway), but is it any good? And does it do the Doctor and his TARDIS justice?
If there’s one thing this game does right, it’s capturing the feel of the TV show. The developers, Sumo Digital, have done an excellent job of making the game feel like a Doctor Who episode, it even has the opening titles and thanks to the BBC being so involved in this project the game features the voices of Matt Smith (The Doctor) and Karen Gillan (Amy Pond) and the writing talent of Phil Ford (Doctor Who Special ‘The Waters of Mars’) and James Moran (Torchwood: Children of Earth).
The first episode, City of the Daleks, has the Doctor finding the world taken over by Daleks in the 1960s. I personally love the Daleks but feel that maybe they should have been saved for a finale, either way it’s a good move to have the enemy of the first episode be such a well known enemy of the Doctor. It’s also the first time we’ve seen the Doctor encounter these new Daleks since ‘Victory of the Daleks’.
In order to defeat the Daleks and return the time line back to normal the Doctor must sneak, explore and solve puzzles. My ideal Doctor Who game would have been a point and click adventure, much like the classic Lucas Arts adventure games or Sierra’s King’s Quest games. The Doctor Who games (or at least this episode) is a mix of Metal Gear Solid, old point and clicks and dime a dozen internet flash games.
The sneaking sections are fine and it’s actually pretty fun dodging the Dalek’s patrol routes and staying out of their sights (which is shown with a big vision triangle). The adventuring is fine too. There are plenty of collectibles to collect and facts to find and you never feel lost. The puzzles however are pretty basic. Usually you start one by Sonic Screwdrivering a computer or something and then play what amounts to a basic puzzle game you could find on newgrounds or countless other flash portals.
I fully understand though that the puzzles need to be relatively simple and easy so that the masses of Doctor Who fans who don’t play games can still enjoy the game episodes but it would have been nice if there were more complex puzzles for us gamers who prefer a level of challenge above ‘my first flash game’. It is nice though how they’ve given the game pretty good graphics if you run it on high at a high resolution but made it simple enough to run fine on older hardware.
All in all not a bad game for free if a bit simple, pretty much a new episode of Doctor Who but more interactive. I’d say definitely try it out if you’re a fan of Doctor Who and living in the UK. It’s about 330MB and can be downloaded here http://www.bbc.co.uk/doctorwho/dw/theadventuregames. You’ll need a UK IP to download and sorry Mac users, but you’ll have to wait until the 15th. I’m personally looking forward to the next one and hopefully it’ll release early like this one.