Arya is a shareware adventure game from Skullsoft. The full game is available for £6.50, comes in three versions due to the size of the graphics:
- 640x480, 32,000 colours - Needs RPC with 1MB VRAM and 4MB RAM (version reviewed)
- 640x480, 256 colours - Needs 4MB RAM (Screenshot)
- 640x256, 256 colours - Any machine (Screenshot)
Arya may seem like 'just another text adventure game', but as soon as you load it in you know that it is more than that. A 32,000 colour title screen is very pleasing to see, and it does begin to set the scene. Unfortunately this effect is short-lived as the next thing you see is a 'loading' image, which has one of the standard RISC OS backdrops as a background.
The lines of text are very close together which is a little off-putting at first, but they are still perfectly readable. Along the bottom of the screen is a button bar, which allows you to click on commands such as 'take', and 'examine' instead of having to type them out repeatedly. The compass style-image on the right hand side of the bar means that you don't have to keep typing out the direction which you wish to travel in.
Although this does save you some typing, allowing the game to move faster, you still have to type in the name of the object which you wish to 'take', or 'examine', which disappointed me a little. If you had been able to click on the objects (displayed in green text), you could have played the whole game using the mouse!
You play Andor, nominated 'Lord of the Village Feast' after winning the cross country race, and you have to win the hand of the local barmaid Melyssa whilst avoiding the group of village thugs who wish to burn you at the stake for sorcery. There are also several other 'sub-plots'. The population of the village (including the animals!) can move around, which is something you don't see in many adventure games.
The text is broken up by some very nice digitised images, which look especially good in 32,000 colours.
One thing which would be nice to see in a text-adventure game is CD player controls so that the user can listen to an audio CD whilst playing the game. -Ed
Overall, arya is definitely more than 'just another text adventure game', and clearly a lot of work has gone into it. The appearance of the button bar icons could have been improved (perhaps using a font other than the standard system font?), but for £6.50 it's certainly worth getting.
Update: In response to this review, Skullsoft made some modifications to Arya. The button bar icons have been changed to use Trinity, instead of the system font, which is a vast improvement. A screenshot of this can be found here. You can also now listen to audio CD whilst playing. These modifications make this possibly the best adventure game to date on the Acorn platform, so if you're a fan, get it now!
To sum up
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