The Journey Down: Chapter Three (2017)

The Journey Down: Chapter Three (2017), developed and published by SkyGoblin

Some games are left unfinished, some take time to get there. The Journey Down took its time to get to the final 3rd episode after its first chapter was originally released in 2012. Five years and one Kickstarter later, the tale of Bwana, Kito and Lina gets to its finale. And what a finale it is.

On the second chapter, the adventurous trio finally ended up at the Underland, a place of secrets and mysteries and which many people consider being only a myth.  But that's only because the powers that be, including an evil power corporation, want it to stay as a myth for their own exploitation.  During the openings strides, we finally learn what is going on in the Underlands and how the corporation is drilling the sacred tree in order to get valuable energy crystals from its core. This must be stopped.

Bwana and Kito head back above the ground whereas Lina stays under to lay spokes on the company's wheels. So while the brothers are trying to gather up resistance above, Lina needs to figure out how to stop the business at her own end. This separation paves the way for a story, where you have two playable characters, Lina and Bwana, you can guide through their own respective adventures.

The Journey Down: Chapter Three is not only a love letter to adventure games in general, it's also a good game in its own right. It's not a long game, it took me a bit over 3 hours to finish it, but at the same time, the developer SkyGoblin has managed to create an adventure game that does a lot right. The puzzles, the world, the story, the music and the voice acting all are mostly top notch. I say mostly, as there's some little quality mismatched on the audio quality of the voices, as some them have been clearly recorded with a different equipment or just post-processed differently. That's not a big deal in itself, but it was something that caught my ear.

But what really makes the game is the strong 80's and 90's action movie vibe it has going on. This manifests itself not only in the music, which is fantastic BTW, but in the story as well, especially during the game cinematics, that gives more than a slight nod towards more harebrained plot twists of the era. There's been a lot of nostalgia-infused movies and games lately, but rarely even the big budget projects manage to get so much right as SkyGoblin manages to do here with a relatively small budget.

Besides the audio-visual presentation and story, what really makes this kind of old-school adventures work are the puzzles. And luckily enough, I found that TJD3 is just at the right level for me, in terms of logic and absurdity. At times the puzzles feel like they are on the level of the unfathomable moon logic many older titles in the genre were, but in the end, it manages to teeter on the boundary of it, but never really plunges in into it, as there's a constant sense of logical continuation in everything.  And by logic, I mean something a regular person can think without resorting in a Séance with the dead.

The Journey Down as a whole is a series I can higly recommed, espeically if you like unique art style mixed with strong comedic elements. It's not a game for those who are looking for serious, brooding titles, but for those who want to spend a couple of hours chucklig with the absurdity of the world SkyGoblin has created.

If you are new to the games, I'd suggest you head to GOG, from where you can get the all three games bundled in one. If you do, however, have the rest of the titles already, I'd recommend Steam from where you can get the games seperately.

Other than that, go get them. There's a lot worse games out there.