First Impressions — The Hand of Glory
The adventure game genre, and point-and-clicks specifically, are low budget affairs by today’s AAA market standards. They may have good stories or intriguing hooks, but you can usually poke holes in the writing, voice acting, graphics, polish etc. The Hand of Glory from Italian indie team Madit Entertainment is a title whose gameplay completely shreds this idea — and we’ve been playing it.
Upon first glance, its marketing doesn’t do much to set itself apart from the burgeoning crowd of other indie adventures; so much so that it wasn’t even on our radar until its June release. But after playing through and completing the first part of The Hand of Glory, we’re pleased to say that it’s a game you should be paying attention to. We mentioned the game’s June release — at the moment, only part one is available to play, with part two coming in September according to the Steam page. It is going to be free DLC, though, and part one alone will give you around six hours of playtime, so it is worth picking up now if you’re interested. We’re here to give you a little preview of what we’ve played so far ahead of our full review in September. Let’s get to it.
Lazarus Bundy, one of two controllable protagonists, is a cheeky, lovable rogue, who also happens to be a detective in the Miami Police Department. The other main character is Alice, a new police intern. They play off each other extremely well; Lazarus is a technophobe, while Alice is a technophile. This is reflected in the gameplay, where you have to consult with the other based on their strengths, weaknesses, and abilities. The Hand of Glory is quite progressive in its character representations, and Alice is a strong, female lead who defies her patriarchal, conservative family. It’s really nice to see.
Our characters get wrapped up in crime and conspiracy, and there is an overarching plot of international intrigue. The unpredictable story manages to conjure genuine interest from the player. There is also a lot of enjoyable and actually funny humour at play, too. The Hand of Glory manages to walk the fine tightrope of being both comical and mature in tone. It will have you chuckling along with Lazarus’ silly antics one second, then reeling from a mature story beat the next — drawing you in with its light-hearted charm like a succubus, then delivering a right hook with all the force of Mike Tyson. Part one leaves off on a cliffhanger, and it’s one that isn’t telegraphed.
Gorgeous hand-drawn art, nice sound design, and generally satisfying puzzles are all pluses in the game’s favour, but it’s still a little rough around the edges. The voice acting can be hit or miss, some puzzles can be awkward, and aspects of the gameplay can cause minor frustration. All of this will, however, be covered in further detail in our full September review.
The takeaway? If The Hand of Glory’s second part is as compelling as its first, then it could very well be one of the year’s best point-and-click adventure games — it’s shaping up to be an under-rated gem, which came out of nowhere and defied our expectations.
Check back with Jump Dash Roll in September for our full review!
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