Reviewed: October 5, 2006
Released: September 13, 2006
In a word, “hilarious”. How else do you explain Egyptian partiers forgetting the bottle openers when they sneak off to have a quick beer and a singing, dancing, overweight slave master rocking out during the opening credits. All this joviality happens in the first couple of minutes as Ankh gets into the story that starts off your Egyptian adventure starring Assil and Thara.
Ankh is a new puzzle adventure from BHV Software and Deck 13 that may be a little short on the brain taxing puzzles but is packed with laughs. From the Camel-O-Wash that you need to entice a camel into, to the overweight cook swinging cats by their tails when they get too close to the Fish Burger grill, the game is loaded with moments that will have you bursting out in laughter.
Ankh has you starring as Assil, the son of an Egyptian architect that works for the Pharaoh. You steal the keys to the car, wait wrong time period. You steal the keys to the pyramid and you and some friends sneak off to have a few beers. But alas no one brought a bottle opener and in the ensuing mourning you knock over some canopic jars and awaken a mummy who curses you.
In your search to have the Pharaoh release you from your curse you have to solve some simple puzzles that follow along mostly with the question and answer dialog between your characters and the other characters in the game. And there are some pretty crazy characters here; hippy Israelites, croc-o-phobic guards, near-blind vendors and others are all a part of your mission to remove your curse.
The puzzles are pretty simple but the main focus of the game was not in the puzzle-solving but more in the story and all the funny and fun things that happen. Using simple point and click mouse movements and some object-combining you solve the puzzles that move you along in your quest. Clues are given out but more often it is pretty obvious what you need to do, just a matter of getting it done with some legwork like having to run back to the bazaar for something when you’re out in the desert or vice versa.
During the game you not only have puzzles to work through but in some parts you use two characters at once to solve them. Switching back and forth you control not only Assil but also Thara to solve a few puzzles and get the curse removed before it kills you.
The controls and object combining worked well enough with the mouse doing all the work. The cursor would change for various control situations depending on what you could do in any particular scene. Like many puzzle adventure games you only have to move the cursor around to find various objects that are moveable or useable.
Ankh has some really great writers and the humor is in every part of the story with references to many movies, music and other things not exactly around in ancient Egypt. Listening to some of the characters will not only give clues but also show a different take on life back then.
Ankh uses some cartoon like graphics reminiscent of Worms 4 that works well with the storyline. The dance routines that play in the opening and closing credits tell the whole story as far as how well the game looks and sounds.
The whole game is a cartoon with you controlling the characters and the cutscenes play with dialogue using better graphics to help the story along.
The graphics look very good with no obvious problems, especially with the useable objects. I say this because in some of the adventure games I have played you could tell right off the bat what objects in any given scene were useable. Not here in Ankh, you had to actually cruise each scene with the cursor to find the things you are supposed to use.
Using what I would term hip hop Egyptian, two songs were made for the opening and closing scenes that are fun and entertaining to watch and hear. The music throughout the game plays very well and the voice acting was superb. They had some very good talent in all the parts with some very hilarious and fitting choices for many of the characters.
Not only did they take the time to find voice actors with talent, they gave certain characters more flair and style by giving them a particular dialect. The background sounds played well and added nicely to the overall feel of the game. The sound was an exceptional part of this fine game.
Normally I give high value for a game in how much replay value the game has and how much time it takes to go through a game such as adventure ones. This adventure is so fun that replaying would be worthwhile and just watching the opening and end credits would be fun. Going through Ankh will take some time but solving it is not impossible, merely time consuming.
It took me about ten hours but I had the walkthrough. Having to actually figure out all the things you do will of course take longer and be that much more fun. I really thoroughly enjoyed going through this game and will probably go through some more just to see the credits, either that or figure out to get at them from the files.
Ankh is a thoroughly enjoyable game and well worth the cost. Take a really funny cartoon with all kinds of pop culture references and interesting characters. Add in several jokes that adults will understand and get a belly laugh from but is not too risqué for the kiddies. Throw in some really entertaining scenes like a camel getting the scrub through a car type wash or watching Assil rappel out the nose of a sphinx and you have Ankh.