Richard and Alice is a point and click adventure game with a pretty confusing back story. Imagine a world where it started snowing one day and never stopped, that’s kind of what has happened here. It is inferred that in this wintry hell hole society has broken down leaving people struggling to survive and gangs have taken over the wintry wasteland. The first stumbling block that I encountered in the game was right at the start. The game will begin with Richard watching television in his prison cell that looks more like a crummy hotel than a prison. The entire prison story is somewhat convoluted and unbelievable. Richard and Alice, both prisoners, get emails regarding fire alarm tests, memos about tidying their cells and have a “Submit a Ticket” function if they have any complaints. As it turns out the prison isn’t actually a prison but a bunker for wealthy people to wait out the roving gangs and that horrible “end of the world” thing. The Bunker is being used as a prison to test it before the rich and famous arrive. That is my first, but by no means last, complaint. There were too many inconsistencies to pull me into the game.

The game will boil down to you (Richard) talking to Alice through the bars of your cell and finding out about their past. After half an hour of reading the dialogue boxes the game will teleport you to a flashback style of gameplay where you will play as Alice trying to look after her sick son Barney. I personally felt that the whole thing was a mess. The interaction between the characters didn’t have any kind of natural flow and I found myself sighing throughout these sections reading phrases like “Man, it sure is boring when you’re cold”. There was not a single moment when I was playing through Richard and Alice that I felt for any of the characters or even really cared what happened to them.

You will spend most of the game reading text that will show up on the screen to illustrate conversations, for the rest of the time you will be looking around the world for items to help you survive and escape dangerous situations. These moments can be frustrating as the developer has clearly had a set way that they want you to progress through the game, you will need that one specific item, let’s call it item A, to perform action B to allow you to get into door C. It’s all very linear but in such a slow moving game I was always just a little bit stifled by the restraints.

The plot itself is one that has been told many times and the “plot twists” were clearly visible almost from the outset. The story was so obvious to me that I figured out the ending within forty minutes of starting the game. By the time the game was drawing to a close I was predicting, almost word for word, what would be said next and I felt the whole game was too “on the nose” for me. There were obviously some very good ideas in the game and there was clearly a point that Owl Cave were trying to make, I just think they were trying too hard to make it.

Richard and Alice isn’t about the graphics. It is a story based game that has a focus on the narrative. That being said the simple style of the game talks to the simplicity of Owl Cave’s vision. It’s slightly bland in some cases but never looks bad and I think that it is a fitting look and feel for the game as a whole. There isn’t a great deal of audio in the game but hearing eerie music and raging winds did convey a sense of unease and foreboding that added a much needed layer to the game, something above reading endless reels of text while waiting for the chance to solve the puzzles.

Richard and Alice has multiple endings so it is worth playing through a couple of times however once you know where to use item A all of the challenge has gone from the game. Richard and Alice is available on Steam for £4.79, if you are a fan of point and click adventures then it would be value for money, unfortunately with no real replayability past the couple of endings and there’s not much else to expect from this game for anyone other than hardcore point and click fans.