Adventure games, most specifically Click-Adventure titles are generally suited for gamers that like puzzles, story and in the case of Varenje, beautifully crafted virtual scenery. Play Cute in conjunction with publisher JoyBits ltd., has put together a world of mini-games and puzzles that, at first glance, is seemingly apropos for all ages, but behind the colorful scenery and mild gameplay mechanics lies a dark undertone. Is Varenje the click-adventure you’ve been waiting for? Here is our Varenje Review.
For starters, the story behind Varenje isn’t abundantly clear from the jump. Essentially, you purportedly play from the perspective of a man that has eaten a berry and shrank to the size of a bug, where you then embark on a very Alice in Wonderland kind of adventure, rife with spiders and caterpillars and all the berries you can find. Unlike Alice in Wonderland, the game play is more akin to putting together pieces of a puzzle than a steady unraveling of mind bending circumstances.
To be more precise, if you’ve ever thought to yourself, after spending 10 minutes looking for your house keys, “Boy, I wish I had to find each of these keys individually across several different rooms of my home,” you basically have the gist of what you’ll experience in Varenje. For any particular level, you have several different sceneries to look through, each hiding extra nooks and crannies that you’ll need to open by collecting items or completing puzzles if you wish to advance.
The puzzles and mini-games can range from the simple to the frustrating, and the items you must collect are so well painted into the scenery that I often found myself combing over areas looking hopelessly for a single bobble or curio. Luckily in all cases, including the mini-games, if you have trouble finding something, you can simply pass a short berry related mini-game which will then show you clues as to what you must collect or accomplish to continue on your journey. This way, players won’t truly be stuck behind a wall indefinitely, meaning that the game is very friendly to casual players.
What strikes me as odd as I completed each level was the cutscenes and conversations your character has as you continue along on your journey. While I won’t get too heavily into spoilers of the “late game”, Varenje’s brightly colored exterior houses a stranger, darker interior that I felt broke the game up, didn’t make much sense and left me with a mild distaste to further my progress. With abundant localization issues aside, the first cutscene, for example, has to do with the “hero” explaining to a doctor the insanity they are going through, having to collect trivial items for an anthropomorphic caterpillar. At first, I found it kind of funny, almost as if it was making a joke of itself in a self-deprecating way.
As the game progresses though, whether meant humorously or not, one conversation revolves around an inmate in the “insane asylum” that you find yourself in, killing 5 people, and blaming video games as the culprit. This turn of events does manage to stain a game that originally appears to have all the trappings as a fun-for-all-ages type of title. It is also worth considering that this story as it unfolds is largely incoherent. The cutscenes don’t make much sense in the grand scheme of things, as they explain very little in terms of storytelling and only appear to topically express the hysteria the hero is experiencing.