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The Search (2017) Game Review

Point and Click adventure game is a thought-provoking experience.

The Search is a 2017 point and click adventure puzzle game narrated by 2017 BAFTA award winner for voice acting for Firewatch, Cissy Jones.

The Search is a first-person experience, which as us finding items to solve puzzles and notes. There is a camera to take pictures of certain items and portals to travel through different landscape. The narrator takes us on a psychological journey talking about ‘the voice within’ as we follow the notes and symbols left by The Invisible. The Search strives to be an emotive walking simulator with puzzle elements and focuses heavily on delivering an uplifting message to embrace creativity, birth of ideas and inner self.

There is undeniably some charm to The Search. Visually, the scenes are filled with a variety of environments with darker tones to more vivid and bright ones. Accompanying these scenes is simple sound design and background noise and works well to elevate the immersiveness. In various parts, there are enchanting soundtracks as well. Not to mention, Cissy Jones does a fine job at narrating the journey of an artist finding their inner voice. The writing here uses clues and links them to psychology ideas from Jung and other famous thinkers. The message here, while trying a little too hard at times to create mystery and depth, is encouraging and positive.

The Search, 2017 © Jason Godbey

In terms of its gameplay, The Search is heavily focused on a rather linear format that repeats itself with certain variations and complexity as the game progresses further into the story. The formula usually amounts to finding notes, taking pictures of objects and finding objects such as a paint brush, a bucket of paint and a canvas to create a photo to move through the worlds and finally finding a ticket that will teleport to another world to progress. After a note, our character will spew a deep conversation to interpret it. There are two downfalls of this design. The most important is that during a long narration, our character is stopped on the screen to listen to the entire conversation. The option to keep moving while listening would be more engaging. The second downfall is truly that an extended interpretation for everything makes it a little over the top. Some notes are rather direct and while it seeks to educate with various psychology thoughts, there should be a space to interpret the simpler messages ourselves. Part of the fun in game experiences is to truly experience and interpret for ourselves and it helps make the experience a more thought- provoking journey.

The Search, 2017 © Jason Godbey

Overall, The Search is a decent journey. Its constantly changing environment keeps the experience refreshing. The message is positive and encouraging for its audience. The visuals and music are done beautifully to help add its immersiveness. The puzzles are repetitive though do have slight variations, however never too hard to figure out. Whats does remove from the experience are long narrative pieces that halt the progression completely and the overinterpretation of its message, which leaves no room to provoke further thought. Overall, this short story-driven experience is still worth a try despite its minor issues.

The Search (2017) Game Review

Game description: The Search is a 2017 point and click adventure puzzle game narrated by 2017 BAFTA award winner for voice acting for Firewatch, Cissy Jones.

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