Penny Arcade Episode 1 Review

Platform: Xbox Live Arcade
ERSB: M for Mature
Genre: Adventure
Number of Players: 1
Publisher: Microsoft
Release Date: 5/21/2008
Official Website
Writer: Smatchiemo

Rating: 8.5

Penny Arcade Adventures: On the Rain-Slick Precipice of Darkness – Episode One

Many other reviews have criticized the environments of this game, and that, frankly, is a baseless criticism. The backgrounds in this game are the perfect blend of style and realism, and one of the first things about the game that draws you in. While there are only four “areas” to explore (and one is a little girl’s room; not much exploring there), they are filled with seemingly limitless hidden treasures of text and trinket.

This game suffers from a plague that has afflicted most 360 games; most of the text and button cues are too small to read on a normal, human-sized television. The turn-based battle system relies on pushing one of the colored buttons when the bar is full to inflict an attack. The buttons are so small, that for the first few conflicts I was pushing buttons wildly, hoping for a reaction. Other than that small hiccup in the beginning (and complete lack of a “run” option), the rest of the controlling is intuitive and manageable.

Episode One is completely linear, but there are a few side missions worth doing. As mentioned, there are only four environments, which you have to cycle through in order to finish quests, but it really isn’t as bothersome as it may sound. There are a few areas where you may find yourself screaming, What do you want from me?!?, but if you sit back and use your brain, it all comes together.

Fun Factor:
Very. Even if turn-based fighting doesn’t really appeal to your general taste in gaming, give it a chance. The combat is a large part of the experience, but there is enough Penny Arcadian dialogue and style to keep even the most avid First Person Shooter or Platformer enthralled by their charm.

Female aspect:
Before beginning your game, you are given the reigns on a modest character customizer. While there may not be as many options that we have come to expect from customization these days (keep in mind, it’s a downloadable game…), there is a female option. The sweet part is that the character fits seamlessly into each cut scene, and fights alongside Gabe and Tycho in every battle. It probably isn’t as magical as it seems, but it sure is neat. Plus, Tycho’s young niece Anne Claire is the brains driving the whole adventure.

Replay Value:
The replay value may not be high, but keep in mind that this is Episode One of… several, and only $20. It’s well worth it.

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