A monastery perched precariously in the Lombardy Alps (of northern Italy) has borne witness to mysterious events – a monk has vanished under suspicious conditions and a statue in the main square has started to weep blood. You are sent by a Vatican Cardinal to investigate the matter and hopefully unravel the mystery that plagues this holy sanctuary.
Cateia Games, a Croatian based developer have teamed up with Big Fish Games to bring to you a very different adventure. In Where Angels Cry, you thankfully will not get any hidden object scenes that are cluttered with objects. Instead, you get an investigative casual game that is more closer to a true adventure. Things start off looking promising and smooth, but the biggest shortfall is the length of the game.
In the game’s introduction cutscene (after having conversed with the Cardinal), you are shown a desolate landscape that is blanketed by white snow. You are the monk sitting atop a horse that is slowly trudging along towards its fated destiny. After this introduction, you are ushered into a short tutorial prologue that teaches you the bare basics of Where Angels Cry. Game play is mouse driven, and the cursor even changes based on the chosen context. You can inspect an area, pick up or use items, attempt a mini-game or speak to a non-player character.
The rest of the game takes you through 6 chapters. Most of the gameplay has you wandering around a few locations in the monastery or its environs. Your objective is to uncover items you can use later on in the game, like a key to unlock a door or a piece used in one of the fun mini-games. The game pieces however come in a bunch and you have to go pixel hunting for them all over the place, sometimes requiring to win a mini-game to uncover a game piece meant for another.
In my opinion the mini-games found in Where Angels Cry are nothing new – if you are a fan of logic puzzles, you would at least have played some of these before. You get the standard rotating tile puzzle, tile toggling puzzles, a Tower of Hanoi mini-game, a Toad and Frog style puzzle, an interesting Match Three duel mini-game, pic-a-pix puzzles, a labyrinth to “solve”, a music Concentration mini-game, a sliding block puzzle, and a river crossing puzzle.
You meet quite a number of characters in the game, who blurt out some rather unnecessary archaic English. That is, if you don’t mind phrases and words like “in good sooth”, “perchance”, “alack”, “hark”, “posthaste”, and “yonder”. The voice acting that accompanies the script ranges from good to cringeworthy; we think you could be better off turning down the volume. Moreover, the story in Where Angels Cry started off very promising, but the ending was kind of a letdown. You will meet your so-called antagonist for the first time and then get to end the game in a rather questionable manner not befitting a monk.
The graphics depicting the monastery and environs look pretty good with snowy weather effects thrown in to add some realism. Your inventory interface is simple to use, as is the journal and hint system. The only complaint we had is the lack of animation for the characters, they just stand in the scene looking like a stiff cardboard cutout. To make it worse, their skins are so fair and pasty white, they almost look like aliens from another world.
We would recommend Where Angels Cry because of the adventure gameplay elements as well as the extremely well-done music soundtrack. The mini-games are also not too bad either. The story however starts off strong but ends with a whimper, and we feel more could have been done to improve the script.
Unfortunately, the biggest problem with the game was that we finished it in around 2 hours. Even the achievements list a “Speed Run – Finish the game under 3 hours” category which we promptly won on our first attempt. You may be hoping to find some reason to replay the game and win for yourself an obscure achievement, but frankly there is no cause for it since all items can be found in the exact same places every time.
There’s a demo of Where Angels Cry available at Big Fish Games.