The CGG Inbetween Land review acquaints you with the plight of a missing childhood friend, possibly aboard a mysterious flying island hovering just above our world. Through mini-games and fragmented hidden object areas, you piece together the details of your friend's disappearance and how it ties into floating Sky Island.
The last Specialbit Studios game I played was Haunted Hotel: Charles Dexter Ward, which couldn’t be more different from Inbetween Land than The Godfather is from The Rocketeer. Where Haunted Hotel: Charles Dexter Ward was dark and gothic with Spanish moss-draped trees swaying in the bayou, Inbetween Land is bright and fanciful, with puffy white clouds dancing across a robin's egg blue sky.
The story begins with news that your childhood friend and fellow orphan, Mary, has gone missing. You return to the orphanage to ask kind caretaker Mrs. Lase about Mary's disappearance. Mrs. Lase welcomes you with open arms and invites you to explore the premises. Between searching for clues in her rooms and reading notes Mary left behind, you discover she's become obsessed with Sky Island, a strange land mass hovering above the town.
You find Mary's obsession has led her to purchase a curio from the island that, through a series of clues, becomes a portal to that world. In your search for Mary, you pass through the portal and discover the island is the abandoned spaceship home of an extraterrestrial civilization. To assist Mary, you must also help the alien race to find the crystals they need to restore their home.
Inbetween Land's graphics have a Roy Liechtenstein comic-book quality, but somehow it works with the theming. In fact, Sky Island's diaspora look amazingly like the Avengers long-lost siblings and that Sky Island may be a hop, skip, and a jump from Krypton.
Expect no voice acting, just voice over. And, the liberal use of static visual "shots" that drive the story almost look like a comic strip’s panels. The effect is quite captivating.
The mini-games tend toward the mechanical and mathematical. You'll find plenty of tasks that require attaching steam pipes or moving blocks through a series of obstacles. If you're willing to apply more than a little brain power, you can figure them out without hints, something I really appreciate. I want the games to be "doable," but challenging.
The fragmented object games are intriguing. You’ll find roughly five objects per scene. Two or three may be constructed from items at hand and the resulting "assembled objects" lead you to the remaining fragments required to make the other pieces.
I confess I can't remember whether there is any audio accompaniment. If so, it must be extremely subtle. I was so caught up in the story and the scenery that I simply never noticed.
I applaud Specialbit Studios for creating a fantastic cross between comic and game. My comic crazy friends call their passion "graphic novels," something I’ve always indulgently smirked at. But this non-comic, comic-themed game may make a believer out of me. I found Inbetween Land thoroughly enthralling.