There are beautiful and interesting indie games and there are “needs more work” indie games and this is the latter.
Earthworms is a creative point and click game. You play as detective Daniel White, commissioned to find a girl on an island called Dar. Eventually, you find out that you’ve been brought to somewhere like Dunwich of the Lovecraft mythos. There are tentacle creatures, mysterious earthworms, and several death threats.
Platform Reviewed: PC
Platforms Available: PC
Developer: All Those Moments
Publisher: Big Flat Potato S.A., Ultimate Games S.A.
Release Date: February 23, 2018
This review is based on a review code provided by the publisher/developer.
When I first started the game, it was in Polish. I restarted the client, thinking I must have skipped something during the initial startup and accidentally set the language in Polish. Unfortunately, that wasn’t the case.
I had to check the Steam page forums and found out that someone else had the same problem. Luckily, they had a fix for it. The second Polish term which is “Opcje” was to set language, and you needed to click Jezyk to change it to “English”. Once that was done, the whole game was in English.
The story starts with you, Daniel White in your office. There are several interactable items. I easily noticed the nice touch of texture, like watercolor which they used. If anything, that was one of the best things about the game. The music is good, each time I interacted with an object, there is that sound effect. I like small touches like that, especially for a point and click game.
During this time, you will notice that you have an inventory, which is at the lower right side of the screen. The “Things To Do” notepad also lights up. This is an indicator of what you need to progress the game. There is also an icon that has a star and there is no explanation of what this is; I believe that this is a wasted opportunity for the game developer.
In this short segment, the developer would have been able to do a walkthrough on what these icons mean. What they could have done better was to have Daniel White talk to himself about going outside when clicking on various objects. The comments are nice but most of the time very random.
Also, they need to get a better English translator. I was a bit more tolerant because the game was in Polish in the first place. However, if they want to sell this to an English market, they need to at least spell the words right and be careful of their grammar. After all, this is a point and click game where they are selling the story first and then the puzzle second.
The client comes in, looking like a monster. I didn’t mind. I was ready for the quirky side that this game threw at me. The client said a sentence about giving me a photo and off you went. The interaction was very short.
Another wasted moment. What they could have done better was to at least show the photo of the girl, emphasize that he is a parapsychic and that he gets visions of seeing the photo. After much time spent on the game, that is what the star icon means. They are Daniel White’s “visions” when he touches objects. I’m sure there are many ways this can be delivered. They can even be very obvious and just put that in letters. Anyone who will play this game will read. I hope the development team comes up with something.
I arrive at an island named Dar, and the game slightly gets better. They probably prepared for the game itself, trusting that whoever will play will trudge on the story. The only thing that kept me going was why was it named Earthworms in the first place?
I went through this game haphazardly, not in the right order. I was able to uncover the secret passage in the bar first, then talked to the barmaid after. Looking back, they should have stopped me from opening that passage.
The game had to force me to do specific things before I could progress. I understand it’s a puzzle but the translation was so confusing that it added to the difficulty. I reached a point where a fisherman didn’t want to give me a key to the next puzzle. You are required to combine items. There was no tutorial that it was possible to combine items. I can only imagine new players to the genre drop this game because of that.
It’s a fairly easy puzzle game. One last thing I like about it is the development team hasn’t given up on the game. They are prompt in responding to Steam comments and keep updating the game for bug fixes. It’s not expensive either. So if you’re looking for a 2-3 hour game for an afternoon that you don’t have to spend much money on, then it’s okay.