Imagine this. You live out in the middle of nowhere. There is no electricity except what is provided by a generator. The generator breaks down and continually needs repair. Would you think of becoming a computer game developer? Well, these are the exact conditions under which Cheyenne wrote, developed, filmed, and created the fantastic and mysterious world of \'Derek\'. \'Derek\' is an adventure game with a clearly Christian theme. You become, in a sense, a missionary to a people whose Bible had been taken from them many long and forgotten years ago. It is up to you to bring their Bible back to these native people. The game is an interactive, puzzle-based adventure game. This means you will see a picture on the screen with which you can interact. You may need to push a button, pick up an item, talk with someone, or just point in the direction you want to move.


The focus of the game, as in most adventure games of this type, are the puzzles. As such, the puzzles must be well-done and well thought out. \'Derek\' will not disappoint here. The puzzles vary in difficulty and will sometimes have you thinking for awhile. I admit, there was one part I was completely stumped and had to read a walkthrough to figure out what to do next. As some readers may know, the atmosphere of a game is very important to me and \'Derek\' has it. I was immersed into the world. Even though it\'s just a series of images, the images are full of spice and include environmental sounds and some terrific music. I really enjoyed playing the game late at night when it was quiet all around and I was able to step into the land the developer had created. One issue though...during the game, I wasn\'t really finding myself moving towards any type of end goal. The puzzles themselves weren\'t pushing the story forward. I was more interested in getting to the next puzzle than I was in finding out the actual storyline. Perhaps something like a special note when each puzzle is solved, describing a backstory or history of the land and people will help.


There are many limitations to the graphics in the game, but these limitations are due to the tools used to develop the game. The grahpic issues are beyond the control of the developer, but will effect the final scoring of the graphics. The game runs only at 600x480. Even at the lower resolution, the scenes are quite involved and consist of some rather elaborate architecture and landscapes. There are shadows, shimmering water, moving flames and more. The scenery is very nice to look at. My favorite is probably the sunrise over the ocean. Part of the game includes quicktime movie sequences which help to give the game more movement. Hit a button, and you move up as if you are on an elevator. Look through a window and you might see someone walk by. There are even longer sequences used to drive the story forward. The bummer is, the development tool used is very limited to its movie quality. As such, the movies suffer in image quality. Even so, I was extremely amazed at what Cheyenne was able to do. In the \'Making of the Game\' documentary (a \'must see\'), you get a sneak peak into what went on to make these videos. He used a blue screen and all. This must have been a great learning experience for him.


I thought the audio was very well done. It doesn\'t use the latest and greatest technology, but for this game, it doesn\'t have to. Audio is meant to enhance the gameplay and, as I stated above, it does its job well. There are footsteps, ocean sounds, seagulls, creaking doors, just to name a few. I also thought the music is quite compelling. It is very well written and recorded, and quite enjoyable to listen to. I could easily listen to the music on its own. It is a mixture of both synthesizers and acoustic instruments.


The interface does take a bit to get used to. Moving around is quite simple. You point and click in the direction you want to move. The more difficult part is using an item from your inventory. At certain points in the game, your pointer turns into a toolchest, signifying you need to use an inventory item. You need to click on the item and drag it to the correct location. Sometimes this can be a tad clumsy.


In general, the puzzles will have you digging into your Bible to find the answers, or at least to lead you in the direction of the answer. Reading the scriptures in combination with the visual images has, personally, helped to enhance several Biblical passages. If any parents are concerned, I should mention at one point there is a skeleton lying on the ground.


I thought this game was very well done. Cheyenne (including family and friends) have done a good job on this game. It is a tad short, but I am already wanting to relive the game...but too many other games to get to at the moment. I would highly recommend this game for parent\'s to play with their younger school age children (6-12 or so). They will have a great time reading the Bible and figuring out the solutions together. And I think it will present a good amount of replayability for kids in that age range. They will want to solve each puzzle again and again. I sure hope Cheyenne will continue to develop games. This is a very promising start. With some more added puzzles, a tighter storyline, and better video quality, this game (or a future game) will probably make an \'A\' grade.

Final Ratings

Gameplay: B Grahpics: C+ Audio: A- Appropriateness: A+ Interface: B+

Overall 85% B

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Christ Centered Gamer looks at video games from two view points. We analyze games on a secular level which will break down a game based on its graphics, sound, stability and overall gaming experience. If you’re concerned about the family friendliness of a game, we have a separate moral score which looks at violence, language, sexual content, occult references and other ethical issues.

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