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Game Info:

AR-K 
Developed by: Gato Salvaje S.L.
Published by:  Gato Salvaje S.L.
Release Date: July 21, 2014
Available on: PC, Mac, Steam
Genre: Adventure
Number of players: Single-player
ESRB Rating: Not rated
Price: $12.99 for three episodes

Thank you MMPR for sending us this game to review!

AR-K was successfully Kickstarted in May of 2013 by raising $101,500 of its $100K goal.  The tagline for the campaign is "an old-school adventure game with a new twist"; even though the game is a bit dated visually, it shines in other areas. The studio behind the game is relatively small with six employees. To add some flair to the game they have outsourced the voice acting talent from Ash Sroka (Mass Effect) and the story is partially written by DC Comics veteran, Greg Rucka. 

In total there will be four episodes and as of this review, three of them are available with the first one being free on mobile platforms.  The most recent episode, The Great Escape arrived on Steam on July 14th, 2015.   The third installment sells for $7.99, but it's $12.99 for all three.  There is no word on the release date of the story's finale.

AR-K
Highlights:

Strong Points: Interesting story and good voice acting
Weak Points: Typos in the dialogue; dated visuals with animation inconsistencies and bad lip syncing; clunky interface; illogical puzzles
Moral Warnings: Lots of language; drunkenness; rebellion and vandalism; skimpy outfits and one night stands

The first episode, Gone With The Sphere, takes place on a space station where humans and various alien species cohabit peacefully.  The main character, Alicia, is the daughter of a decorated police chief that she disgraced when she came into contact with a mysterious sphere that was placed in her locker at the police academy.  She was kicked out of the academy, and she decided to pursue a career in journalism instead to expose the truth at all costs.  Because of this unexpected career change, she's back in college and that's where this game begins.  

It's a school day and Alicia stumbles out of bed with a massive hangover and evidence thrown around her room that she did not go to bed alone the night prior.  She doesn't recall much about that night or the guy that she hooked up with.  All that she does know is that she's late for her journalism class and that her teacher is looking for any excuse to fail her.

From there the player gets full control of Alicia and her dog.  By clicking on items, Alicia will mention any significance they have or magically stuff them in her fanny pack that can hold items much bigger than its size.  Talking to people is important for gathering key information on topics that will be required later on in the game.  However talking to characters about others  is a little clunky with the drag and drop interface.  Interacting with objects is often hit or miss as well and requires aligning up items in small hit boxes to trigger correctly.  

AR-K
Score Breakdown:
Higher is better
(10/10 is perfect)

Game Score - 62%
Gameplay - 12/20
Graphics - 6/10
Sound - 7/10
Stability - 4/5
Controls - 2/5

Morality Score - 44%
Violence - 7.5/10
Language - 0/10
Sexual Content - 3.5/10
Occult/Supernatural - 7/10
Cultural/Moral/Ethical - 4/10

To make matters worse, the puzzles in AR-K are illogical and often immoral.  At the university there are two vending machines and getting three different types of Skunk cola is easy to do.  However, in order to get coffee from the coffee vending machine, Alicia has to smash it with a brick.  Why couldn't she just buy it?   Other forms of vandalism include destroying a cleaning robot and breaking into her professor's office to get an assignment idea.  What takes the cake on the lack of ethics, is startling a suicidal student to fall out of the window by having Ambar bark at them.  Why not talk them out of suicide instead?  

Discussions in AR-K are painful to watch with the poorly timed lip syncing and the typos and/or mismatches in the text.  The voice acting on the other hand is well done.  The second episode introduces a narrator that upsets Alicia and she cusses him out.   Sadly, there is a ton of language including the f-bomb.  

Because of the technical, logical, and moral issues, I recommend checking out the free mobile version before taking the plunge and buying it.  While AR-K's interface has improved in The Great Escape, you still have to stumble through the first two episodes  in order to comprehend the mediocre story.  The foul language is less frequent and the puzzles are a little bit easier to solve in it as well.  It's getting better, but it's definitely not one of my top five adventure games.