by Fairygdmther
August 25, 2004


Adventure games are usually defined by the triad of story, puzzles, and exploration.  By this definition, Xiama is a puzzle game, not an adventure.  There is no pretense of a story or plot line.  By the same token, this is a delight of a puzzle game that most adventure game lovers will enjoy.  Peter Hewitt of Australia developed this game, and set it in one of Australiaís beautiful national parks.  The backgrounds are all photographs of areas within the park, and show the wonders and beauty of nature.  All 24 puzzles are superimposed upon these backgrounds.

At the outset you are at a clearing with two choices of direction.  To the right is where your first puzzle will be.  You hear a crash, and your camera has broken into pieces, and you must restore it, because you will use it later.  There is a devious device called a turtle, that you will use on three occasions to create etch-a-sketch like designs, only these are much more complicated.  There is a bird call puzzle which was nearly my downfall in finishing this game.  It consists of a list of ten bird names and in the background, recordings of bird calls will be played in random sequence.  You must highlight the appropriate bird type and not make any mistakes, or the puzzle will reset.  While there are descriptions of the calls, I found them to be somewhat misleading, and needed to make my own descriptions, to differentiate between similar ones.

One of the more difficult parts of this game is finding your way around.  Since you can do all but the last puzzle in any order, this is not a serious issue, and you can return to any of them to work them again.  A click on the TAB key brings up a photo album of the puzzles with brief commentary on them after you finish them.  When each puzzle is correctly done, a trumpet flare will sound, signaling its entry into the album.  The puzzles range from medium to extremely difficult.  There were two that I donít feel can be completed without a walkthrough.  Even using a w/t, some puzzles were difficult to execute.  This is definitely a challenging game.

Xiama may be purchased from Xiama, but even if you donít want to buy it, go to the site to see the scenery.  It was designed for Windows 95/98/00, and has very modest PC requirements.

Score: 9/10

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