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Swiss Family Robinson (pc game)
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  • Courtesy of My Abandonware.
  • Courtesy of My Abandonware.
  • Courtesy of My Abandonware.

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Classic adaptation of a classic novel

If you're looking for a piece of interactive fiction to while away the time, but want something a little different from the usual fantasy or sci-fi games like Zork, The Tracer Sanction or Countdown to Doom, then Swiss Family Robinson makes for an intriguing choice. It is very much a classic slice of graphic adventuring but which is based on the 18th century novel which tells the tale of a family shipwrecked in the East Indies on their way to Australia. The adventure unfolds through the eyes of the oldest son, controlled by the player, and requires him to complete numerous tasks, like getting safely off the wrecked ship to a nearby island, building a shelter and generally surviving everything the island throws at you and which includes storms, wild animals and your annoying younger brother. The game plays out in traditional graphic adventure fashion, with instructions entered via a simple parser system and which allows you to talk to your fellow family members, solve puzzles and complete various other tasks. While Swiss Family Robinson might be passed over by the hardcore adventure fan, simply due to its nature and source material, to do so would be a mistake, for it is actually an enjoyable and charming little game. It mixes classic puzzling with survival elements to add something extra to the genre, while the interface is simple but effective and which makes the game highly accessible. The graphics are likewise uncomplicated and obviously dated but still retain a strong appeal, with their bold use of colours and cleanly drawn environments. Overall, this is a great adventure that provides pretty much everything you could hope for in such a game, with a well-written and compelling story, imaginative puzzles and plenty of variety. Check out some other adaptations of classic novels, like Treasure Island and Alice in Wonderland for more similarly interesting games.

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