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The Next Big Thing: Pendulo's New Adventure

Company: Pendulo Studios

The Next Big Thing is the latest game from Pendulo Studios, that while looks a lot like their previous series, Runaway, takes an even stranger path with a great new set of characters and puzzles.

Those already familiar with Pendulo's previous works are probably already chomping at the bit for their newest hand-drawn and nearly cinematically beautiful game, and adventure gamers out there who haven't at least tried one of the Runaway titles should go look for a copy or demo or something now; you won't be disapointed. Quite frankly, from the looks of the hands-on demo I recently tried of the latest title from the company, The Next Big Thing looks to be just as fun as their other works.

The Next Big Thing takes place in the 1940's and in Hollywood, just not exactly the Hollywood we all know and love. Much like Who Framed Roger Rabbit and the much-underrated Greg the Bunny, The Next Big Thing takes place in a world where characters seen on TV and in movies that shouldn't be real actually are. In this case, it's monsters. That's right, in this world, monsters aren't played by men in suits, they are played by actual monsters, and this game kicks off at a ball at a fairly prestigious movie monster studio.

You control two humans, Liz and Dan. Both are reporters for The Quill, and while Liz is new to the job, she is overly-enthusiastic and well, a bit naive. Liz is partnered with, quite frankly, her polar opposite, Dan. He is a veteran of the job and unfortunately, for both him and Liz, recently transferred out of his preferred department, Sports, and into the Social Section to teach Liz the ropes. This sarcastic and egotistical character does a pretty good job of complementing Liz's ... unusual ... quirks, but they aren't quite George and Gina of the Runaway games, at least not in the bit of the game I was able to play.

When the two attend a ball put on by RKO Studios' head honcho, monster William A. FitzRandolph, Liz stumbles upon an odd mystery when she spies famous monster movie star, Big Albert, messing around in FitzRandolph's office. This bit of mystery kicks the game off, and so far, its a fun time full of crazy puzzles that would only really make sense in this game's context... or maybe a Sam & Max adventure.

As we've come to expect, Pendulo continues to show off its spectacular visuals. Not only has the engine used in Runaway 3: A Twist of Fate been improved upon, but the art itself, both the background imagery and the character models, look fantastic. While I've always enjoyed the look that Pendulo has put out, The Next Big Thing takes it up another notch.

Some of these crazy character models include a half-scientist/half-fly character who experiments in teleportation, as well as a monster who isn't very scary, but dreams about being put on the big screen. I also enjoyed the large brutish and somewhat slow-looking character called Poet of Pain, and then, of course, there is the somewhat dashing looking creature that is FitzRandolph himself. While there are obvious parallels between some of these characters and classic movie monsters we all know and love, the creatures in The Next Big Thing definitely stand on their own two feet.

Adventure gamers, even those that haven't followed Pendulo's other games, will want to keep an eye out for The Next Big Thing. It packs in a lot of puzzles, an amusing storyline and what looks like a nice, lengthy gameplay experience. I can't wait to play the full game when it comes out in April.

-J.R. Nip, GameVortex Communications
AKA Chris Meyer

Related Links:

Windows Remnant Knights Microsoft Xbox 360 Lego Pirates of the Caribbean

Game Vortex :: PSIllustrated