The Journey Down chapters 1+2 (2010-2014)

The Journey Down is one of those little adventure titles, that hasn't really gotten the attention it deserves.  I guess, at a part, it might be because it started out as a freeware low-resolution point&click game, that later on turned into higher resolution paid remake, and, at a part, it might b because it IS a point 'n' click adventure game. Or maybe it's because the games themselves aren't that long, there are 3 chapters in the story and the last chapter of it is just currently in the works. And that the game originally came out in 2010.

5 years is a long time to wait for a final chapter to a story. Hell, even the chapter 2 was only released in 2014.

Be it how it may though, I do think the Journey Down is criminally overlooked. Unlike many other modern adventure games, it has a charming style and a sense of humour as well as art direction, that just doesn't try to look as old school as possible. And the puzzles aren't that bad either.

Kito, Bwana and Lina. Bwana is the hero and the playable character of the story.

So, before jumping into chapter 2, a recap of chapter 1: Bwana and Kito are brothers, owning a run down plane and a gas and a charter business, left them by their foster father Kaonandodo. One day Lina, an assistant working at the university, comes to them looking for a diary called " the Journal of the Journey Down", a book written by Kaonandodo, which has instructions to a journey to a fabled land of Underland, a place off-limits and publicly announced to be just a fairy tale. It's needless to say at this point, that this all causes issues and soon Bwana and Kito need to run for their lives.

The second chapter starts just where the first one ends. Bwana, Kito and Lina end up in Port Artue, from where they need to find a way to get forward. The evil power corporation is tight on their heels, but this time they're not the only ones interested about the diary.  Not only are the corrupt city officials and cops of Port Artue at their heels, there's also an army of pirates, who wants to get their mitts on the treasures of the Underland.

Kito at the streets of Port Artue

As I said, I do think The Journey Down games are very underrated. While it has taken a long time for the series to get to the point where the third part is finally in the works, it was just recently Kickstarted, it's still a series that has a lot of charm and a lot to offer.

The art style alone is a great mix of African influenced aesthetics. The characters themselves are modelled after different kinds of tribal masks and the backgrounds are an interesting mix of film noir with a dash of tribal flair. And for clearly a budget title, it also has a superb soundtrack and an above average voice cast as well.

The gameplay of the Journey Down is also from the more simplistic school of design. You have only one smart cursor and the left click interacts with the selected hotspot, be it walking there, looking at something or using something.  Items you want to use are dragged over the hotspot you want to interact them with. So all in all pretty simple and easy to grasp.

Kito making friends at the mayor's office.

Puzzle design if mostly from the sensible part of adventure game design, with puzzles you can usually figure out pretty quickly without a need to use a walkthrough. There are some trial and error puzzles, but overall the puzzle design is more than fair, but not too easy either.

The Journey Down is also a surprisingly cinematic game. It has a fair amount of cut scenes, which even are fairly well directed and executed. All in all, the developer SkyGoblin has managed to pull off a relatively impressing game, which doesn't shame in comparison to some recent more expensive entries in the point & click genre.

Chapter 1 and Chapter 2 are both available on Steam. Either as a separate purchase or a bundle.