There are always going to be stories about Alcatraz in media. Hell, there will always be prison stories. It can be clever and witty like Shawshank Redemption, upbeat like Orange is the New Black, and then there is dark and realistic like The Green Mile. There will always be something told while people are incarcerated for their crimes. 1954 Alcatraz is a new adventure game from Daedelic Entertainment. This is a bold step for the company considering it is a brand new IP and it brings quite a bit of sketchy topics about prison. The California based supermax prison may be retired, but that will not stop people from talking about it.
Joe is no innocent man, he has made plenty of mistakes in life, but the heist job that landed him in Alcatraz was done for the right reasons. Joe is a black man, and in 1954 times were very different than they are now. He is married to a young woman named Christine. Joe is planning on busting out of the supermax prison known as Alcatraz. He will soon learn that one man is going going to be able to break out, he will need a team. Joe has to get out, so he can protect his wife from sleazy mobsters who are looking for the money Joe stole. Christine is his woman on the outside and while Joe is busy in prison, Christine is in charge of finding Joe's old accomplices to uncover the location of the money. This can go many different ways. Joe can get life in prison and Christine can leave Joe for someone else.
This is a pretty standard prison break story. While it is not bad, many of the plot points can be predicted. I guess what makes this story unique in terms of adventure titles, is the ability to seemlessly switch between Joe and Christine. While the two people do not know what the other is doing, you do and the actions Christine takes will affect Joe and vice-versa. This sort of mechanic is what makes me like adventure games. Despite them being almost identical to one another, there will always be something that sets one apart from another.
Other aspects of the game are pretty standard. You will collect random stuff and listen to people's comments about said items. You never really know what works with what, so you will just hold down the space bar (to see what is interactive) and use all the items until something works and you progress the story. In Daedelic Entertainment fashion there is more to this game than just a solid adventure title. The art and music are very unique.
1954 Alcatraz has 3D models on a 2D backdrop and it works very well. It all blends together nicely. While some of the character designs are a bit odd, as you progress through the game you will find that their design is a direct reflection of what kind of person they are. I found this to be a clever way to develop characters. After all, all the prisoners are in the same outfits, so facial diversity is certainly something a game like this needs. The music is also top notch and it always sets the mood.
1954 Alcatraz has a lot of heart and it clearly has some messages to tell people. However, the game is hindered by arbitrary puzzles that seem too far out there to come up with the answer on the fly. It hurts the pacing of the game. In addition, this is a point-click adventure game, if you are looking for a game with plenty of gameplay variety, you need to look elsewhere. This is a great addition to your library if you like this genre of video game that is slowly making it's way into the mainstream. I give 1954 Alcatraz a 7/10. You can pick it up on Steam now.