I love this game. I loved it when I first played it and I love it now. Are We There Yet? is a wonderful puzzle game, filled with challenging and devious brain teasers that will keep any puzzle junkie glued to the front of his or her PC for hours at a time.
Are We There Yet? takes you on a journey of tourist traps with the Mallard family, who appear to be loosely based on the Griswolds from National Lampoon's Vacation series. They've managed to win fourth place in a national contest, which entitles them to visit these 100 havens of weirdness around the country, two in each state. The problem is that they are amazingly dysfunctional and not very sharp -- certainly not smart enough to solve the hundreds of puzzles that face them.
Then again, the average solver is going to spend a lot of head-scratching time with this game running. Some of the puzzles, particularly the jigsaws, are pretty simple. Others are devilishly trying, requiring trips to the dictionary or other reference works.
What really makes AWTY work is not the goofy graphics, which are none too great, or the music, which gets repetitive quickly. It is the tremendous variety of puzzles offered. There's not too many of any one type (although I could have taken a few fewer word searches) so each type of puzzle remains fresh as you travel around the country. The idea of completing a state opening up more avenues of travel is a good one. There's never so many states and puzzles available that it gets overwhelming, and generally not so few that you get stuck on all fronts.
In the end, Are We There Yet? manages to exude a sort of charm that is addictive. I have played this game in a busy office setting, and discovered that a really good puzzle, of which there are many, draws a crowd quickly. Those drawn in by a particular puzzle tend to stay around for the next one. Gaming sessions can quickly turn into impromptu parties.
Are We There Yet? holds no mystery or excitement for you if you are looking for your next kill or next explosion. If, however, you turn to the crossword section of the newspaper first, you'll find a lot to love here. With crisper graphics and better sound, this could easily have become a sort of Tetris among the puzzle set. As it is, it's still worth playing.
Graphics: Sub-standard, cartoonish and blocky.
Sound: There's not much besides the music, and it gets annoying eventually.
Enjoyment: An excellent blend of difficult and easy puzzles. There's always something to move on to if you get stuck. The variety of puzzles is excellent as well.
Replay Value: Once you know the answers, why go back?
A puzzle game, similar in design to The Fool's Errand. Follow the Mallards, Mom, Dad, Tiffany, and Blip, on their journey to all 50 states, solving puzzles at two tourist traps in each state to find tacky souvenirs needed for the final puzzle. Solving puzzles reveals the Mallards' wacky diary entries and tourist trap trivia.
Puzzles include Block Crosswords, Crosstics, Crosswords, Cryptograms, Hangman, Jigsaw, Anagrams, Rebuses, Mazes, Magic Squares, Word Searches, and others.
Although it utilizes the same engine as The Fool's Errand, Are We There Yet? isn't as original or as fun to play as that classic. However, it is a pretty good puzzle game, featuring a diverse array of puzzles (though there are too many jigsaws and word-search puzzles for my taste) that you must solve to unravel the final puzzle. The plot tells a story of a family travelling through the U.S. (hence you solve one or two puzzle for each State they visit), and as such the game also has a high educational value-- I learn a lot about U.S. tourist attractions :)
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