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Point and click
For a pleasant and unusual change from the usual fantasy or sci-fi point-and-click adventures like King's Quest or Beneath a Steel Sky, then The Shivah is well worth a look. It's a little less polished than some gamers might be used to, but it makes up for this with bags of personality and for simply being very different. The story finds players in control of Russell Stone, a rabbi at a New York synagogue which is suffering from some financial worries. However, just when the cynical rabbi is about to give it all up, a mysterious benefactor leaves him a lot of money. However, before he can accept it, he must venture forth and discover the real reason for the gift, which takes him on an epic journey around the city which might just reveal something sinister behind the whole affair. Most of what follows is a traditional point-and-click adventure, with the usual mix of puzzling and exploring. The addition of 'talmudic combat' adds some appeal to the game, and the whole thing is laced with humor which helps it stand out from the crowd. The Shivah is quite the unexpected joy. Its unusual storyline and style give it plenty of offbeat appeal, while the three different endings and branching points give it a little bit of extra replay value. The puzzles are well integrated into the story and prove both enjoyable and satisfying to solve, whether you're a newcomer or an old hand. There are a few bits of trial and error which let things down, while environments feel a little empty, and the whole thing is likely only to last an afternoon or so. While it lasts though, this is an enjoyable adventure.