The complexity of Loom is so artfully hidden in the absolute simplicity of play, the urge to dismiss the game as novice level material is overwhelming. It is only when you step back and really take a good look at it that you realize the game's fully developed potential will appeal to adventure gamers both young or old, novice or expert. In groundbreaking style at the beginning of the 90's decade, Loom no doubt introduced thousands of fantasy fans to the medium of computer gaming. Those with some exposure to and experience in playing computer graphic games suddenly found an alternative methodology in game creation that didn't have your character dying constantly, traps and monsters causing endless reboots, and progressively growing frustrations. In every aspect of the game, the designers' emphasis is on the story and character interaction with his surroundings. You can't die in Loom, nor can you get yourself into a deadly situation where rebooting is the only option. What you are left with is a tremendously engaging tale about a young man thrust into the most important situation of his idyllic life. Around him revolves a Guild of Weavers, who over the centuries have developed the skill of weaving enchantments that influence reality itself through a merging of light and music. Now, inexplicably, the Loom is losing coherence and it's up to Bobbin to run the mystery to ground and ultimately prevent Chaos from reigning.
To get you in the right frame of mind and set up the story, the designers included a thirty-minute cassette recording that features a superbly acted and relevant docu-drama that sets the tone of the game. The interface is extremely simple and user friendly. Basically just click the mouse wherever you want Bobbin to go, on the notes you want him to play on the distaff, or on anyone he wishes to converse with that he meets. As to difficulty levels in the game, again the designers have subtly introduced three levels of comfort within the same interface. Practice mode automatically "saves" successful threads once discovered and highlights the corresponding letters of the notes upon request. Standard mode inserts a musical staff beneath the distaff that allows easy recognition of the four notes of a thread as they glow on the distaff; and expert mode requires a good ear, as no visual hints are given on the screen. This requires the player to remember the note sequences and translate them to the proper distaff "keys" when needed. Loom isn't a perfect game but it takes giant steps in that direction. For the most part, sound effects are lacking and some may think the depth of the puzzles is too shallow. Expert gamers might buy into the latter gripe but the upside is that they won't be stalled on an adventure game for weeks or months going over the same ground again and again. Lucasfilms is to be commended for designing an enchanting, seamless adventure fit for the whole family.
Graphics: Perfectly drawn artwork for the adventure in regards to mood and environment. On the simplistic side but colorful and nicely detailed. Perhaps a bit too cartoon like for serious gamers.
Sound: The musical tones notwithstanding, sound effects and background music are definitely left wanting. Perhaps intentional omissions intended to insure no possible conflict with the importance of the spun thread notes.
Enjoyment: Very satisfying, smooth fantasy tale. Creates a feeling of wanting to see Bobbin succeed. It's a nice change from having adventuring characters skewered, eaten, drowned, burned, blasted, bombed and slaughtered.
Replay Value: Once through is probably enough.
Loom is an adventure game from LucasFilm. What sets Loom apart from other adventure games (in direct comparison with Sierra's) is its unique interface: you do not carry items around, but rather manipulate existing items through the use of spells. The spells themselves are woven through playing magical notes on a special distaff. Loom also features three difficultly levels, and differentiates them by changing the way the interface works: Standard features the distaff at the bottom of the screen but notes aren't written, whereas Expert doesn't have the distaff and you have to replay the spells by hearing alone.
In Loom you play the role of Bobbin Threadbare, a young man from the Guild of Weavers who just turned 17. Although you do not know why, you are outcast from the guild and blamed for the lack of prosperity in recent times.
After the Council of Elders is attacked and the Elders are turned into swans, you as Bobbin must set forth on a journey to find the swans and try to restore order to the Guild of Weavers.
One of the most unique adventures ever made, Loom is a brainchild of Brian Moriarty (the brain behind Infocom's Wishbringer and Trinity). The game's intriguing plot is enough to ensure its "classic" status: you are Bobbin Threadbare, the mysterious "Loom child" and member of the Weaver Guild who must embark on a perilous journey to follow his guild members who were turned into geese and flew away from the Loom island. Moriarty raised the game's originality even higher by giving us no inventory. Instead, all puzzles in the game are based on "spells" cast by playing notes on a magical staff. Definitely a must-have for all adventure enthusiasts.
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