A thrilling spy adventure that could have used just a little bit more espionage.
From James Bond to Mission Impossible, I enjoy tales detailing the escapades of spies. They are so enjoyable that I overlooked my usual revulsion to the point-and-click adventure genre and picked up The Low Road, a story about corporate espionage in the 1970s. Though the story was a bit goofier than I was expecting, the beautiful animation and well-written script were enough to overcome some of the short falls that ultimately hold it back from being a must-play experience.
The main protagonist is Noomi Kovacs, a spy who is fresh out of the academy and eager to put her skills to the test. Life as a spy starts off on a high note with a fantastic puzzle to solve. Armed with a file containing personal info about a new mark, the goal is to extract 3 pieces of information without the target discovering you’re actually a spy. The result has a bearing on the story going forward, and highlights one of many branching story paths.
Unfortunately, the remainder of the gameplay just doesn’t feel as enjoyable as the introductory mission. Most of the puzzles rely on finding items in the local environment and utilizing them in the proper sequence in order to proceed. The story is told through these sequences so it doesn’t feel like a waste of time, but being able to manipulate a target through interrogation only comes one other time much later on, in spite of these being the most entertaining puzzles.
The visuals are very well done, coming off as bright and colorful. The animation style suits the motif perfectly, while the rare miss of the facial expressions comes off as a bit soulless. The audio deserves high marks as well; the voice acting is top notch and the soundtrack wonderfully compliments the ‘70s spy movie aesthetic. A few variations on the ending attempt to add to the replayability, but it’s not enough to compel me to play again.
The Low Road is a fun, albeit brief point-and-click spy adventure. My playthrough was complete in two sittings over the span of a few hours and left me wanting more. If you’re looking for a good title from the genre, I can definitely recommend it, just be prepared to have that same yearning for a sequel that focuses more on interactions with characters and less on the environment.