Imagia 2: The Dome
In Imagia 1: The Tower, we were introduced to a world with lots of mysteries and no answers. Imagia 2: The Dome picks up right where Imagia 1 left us, pointing and clicking our way around a mysterious rooftop, gathering clues about just what we're trying to accomplish in the first place. If you were hoping for answers in this sequel from Kayzerfish (Ralf Hebecker and Nikita Tutubalin), I'm afraid we're still in questions without answers mode. You know, like the first season of Lost, only no smoke monster.
Using only your trusty pointing device, point-and-click to navigate about the dome to find hidden objects that yield clues, and thus gathering hints to solve the mystery of this latest Imagia chapter.
Imagia 2 improves over the original by actually having the cursor change over hotspots, although some hidden objects run on the small side and blend in with the scenery. Once you find an object and click on it, it will enter your inventory, either on the left or the right. Mouse over an object in the inventory to learn its name. If the object is a piece of paper, click on it to examine it for clues. Otherwise, objects can be picked up from the inventory and used in-game on certain hotspots. In addition to visual clues in scenery and clues in notes, there is one audio clue in the game. The last important thing to be aware of is the save button in the lower left, another big improvement over Imagia 1.
Analysis: As a beta tester, the most difficult part of the game for me was the audio clue. It's quite soft and liable to be mistaken for mere background noise. Since I generally turn the sound off entirely when playing these kinds of games, I never would have thought to pay attention to the sound without being told. So here I'm telling you: pay attention to the sound. Luckily, the audio clue is now paired with a visual clue. It's still a very subtle effect, but it's a much fairer clue now and observant players should be able to figure it out by themselves.
That said, the note clues in the game are outstanding. They manage to clearly give information without any words at all. Although the game offers multiple language options, they aren't really necessary. The puzzles in the game are visual/spatial logic problems, and thus are equally accessible to all gamers.
In comparison to the first game, the art in Imagia 2 is less cartoonish and more polished, but there's also a bleakness and starkness here. In the first game, there was plenty of evidence that someone else had recently been there, a certain human messiness, as well as the mysterious damage. It was also a much more material game, with lots of object combining and fussing about. In contrast, Imagia 2's inventory puzzles are very limited, and even to the extent that they are present, they are mostly being used in conjunction with the clues in the notes.
The myth-building in Imagia 2 is as restrained and subtle as the art, and a player could miss it all together. The observant player, however, should gather enough to seriously pique curiosity and build anticipation for subsequent chapters to soon follow. Hopefully we won't have to wait for Imagia season six to find out that actually we're all inside a little child's snowglobe. SPOILER ALERT.