The Crimson Diamond – Demo Impressions

The Crimson Diamond is an adventure game by Julia Minamata, and unlike other titles that falls under the same genre, this one is parser based. Which means that you must input commands in text form for your character to do stuff. While interesting, I have no real nostalgic connection to parser based games, so from a novelty perspective it’s kinda cool, but it doesn’t pull any extra strings in my heart going in…

You play as Nancy Maple, an amateur geologist, hoping that one day get a chance to prove herself – she dreams of getting to study geology on an academic level. And what do you know, this opportunity come in the form of an interesting diamond find in the settlement of Crimson. She gets called for the job to investigate this find, which takes her to the town, and from here on it quickly turns into a classical detective mystery for you to solve.

Visually, it’s very retro, with a very limited color scheme, and personally, I both find it charming, and lacking. Certain scenes do stand out as beautiful, and has a creative use of such a limited number of colors, but other scenes look very drab, unfortunately. It’s a bit of a hit or miss, and as the parser thing, the nostalgic retro feel it is trying to convey goes above my head, beyond having a superficial effect that is.

This would be me, if I was a Vietnam veteran

When it comes to sound, it could be one of the most quiet games I have ever played. It starts out in full glorious low bit music, and I did find the song pleasant to listen to, but when the intro ends, so does the music. It just turns to dead silence, apart from a few sparse sound effects. Not sure if this is something that the game will improve upon, or if it is supposed to be like this – I’m hoping for the first.

Gameplay-wise, it’s a point and click adventure, but instead of clicking, you will have to type in every action you want to do. While I do find it interesting, and I think this is probably the way to design your game if you are making a detective story, as you actually have to figure out what to do, instead of just randomly clicking on things until you succeed – I did find it a bit tiring to play. Typing “open door” is only interesting to do so many times. It’s a novelty, that is for sure, but as it is, I prefer clicking around, instead of typing.

Regrettably, it does seem to be a bit buggy. I managed to sequence break the game at one point, and it refused to let me continue. It turned into a black screen, and stopped responding. Luckily, I made a save before, and if there is one thing old school gaming have taught me, is to make constant hard saves.

Someone likes eavesdropping a bit much, perhaps

The narrative is charming, and it seems to be a very “wholesome” game so far, everyone is polite, even if they seem to have nefarious intentions. It actually feels like one of those old time British detective movies that takes place in some old mansion that I used to watch when I was young. Overall, I wouldn’t say that I’m super sold on the game, it’s semi-competent made. I will keep an eye on it, but it will probably not top my wish-list. If the Crimson Diamond sounds interesting to you, the demo is free, and can be found on the game Steam page.

I just have to add, that this game has been in development forever, and this is supposed to be an updated version of an older demo. Apparently, the game is still being worked on, and it’s clear it’s Julia’s pet project. But I just had to add that, because I don’t see it 100% certain that the game will actually be released one day.

Thanks for reading.

/Thomas

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