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The Act

For:   Also on: iPhoneiPad
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Acting up

Product: The Act | Developer: React Entertainment | Publisher: Chillingo | Format: iPhone | Genre: Adventure | Players: 1 | File size: 693MB | Version: Europe | App version: 1.0
The Act iPhone, thumbnail 1
The Act isn't really a game - it's a piece of interactive entertainment. But the actions you perform are so scripted, and the parameters for success and failure so specific, that it's difficult to shake the feeling that the product as a whole would be better off without them.

It takes its cues from Dragon's Lair, painting its scenes in lush, Disney-style brushstrokes and building its characters from archetypes that we all recognise, but its experiments with storytelling fall just short of the mark.

The mime artist

That story is all about Edgar, a hapless but loveable window cleaner who sets out to snare the girl of his dreams, save his brother from getting a lobotomy, and make sure he still has a job at the end of the day.

The cartoon visuals are absolutely gorgeous, the animation is smooth, and the whole package creates an atmosphere that few other iOS titles can hope to achieve. The narrative plays out like a silent movie, developing its characters through expression and body language.

At certain points you take over control of Edgar, and have to guide him towards the correct action by sliding your finger left or right across the screen. In one example, sliding to the left will make him more timid and sliding to the right will make him more flirtatious.

It's up to you to find the right balance in these situations, watching how the other characters react and changing your behaviour accordingly. There's also a slightly ill-advised chase section, which sees you swiping to avoid obstacles as you sprint away from your pursuers.

Telling tales

The problem is, The Act requires you to get your actions just right or you'll fail and have to start over. And while the little scene that plays out when you get things wrong is always funny, it loses its appeal after the second or third time.

In a way, your mistakes spoil the sweet-natured, entertaining story that the developers are trying to spin, and the fact that there's only one way to succeed means there's no reason to go back and play through again.

The Act is an interesting experiment, and it's an absolute treat to look at, but there's not enough to actually do to recommend it to anyone looking for a new game.
The Act
Reviewer photo
Harry Slater | 21 June 2012
A beautifully made attempt at an interactive narrative, The Act never quite manages to successfully blend its story and the player's inputs
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Jun 2012
Post count:
deathrowghost | 11:45 - 27 June 2012
I thought the game was really good it was something different to what else is on the market at the moment it has a great story that's also pretty funny. I'm just disappointed that i paid £1.99 and it was over in half an hour.