The Daleks' fields of vision are shown using green light and you have to dodge past them before using a burnt-out Hackney carriage to make yourself an entrance to the Underground.
The Daleks seem to be a little short-sighted and, in this instance, a little thick. They still provide a bit of a challenge, though ? like the rest of the game there's certainly nothing massively difficult, but you can't just expect to waltz through without any difficulty at all. This is because, executive producer Charles Cecil told me, the games are meant to be a reasonably quick, fluid experience.
These stealth sections make up a good chunk of the gameplay, as do environment-based puzzles, in which you find and make use of various bits and bobs. They handle fairly well, although the control scheme does feel a little too loose at times. I found myself staring at the ceiling a few too many times, although I'm prepared to admit that might have been my complete inadequacy when it comes to using a mouse in games.
The remainder on the game is made up of more traditional puzzles. The two types that present themselves in City of the Daleks
are symbol matching challenges and top-down electric mazes that you have to navigate objects through with the mouse.
But to focus purely on the gameplay elements would be to do a disservice to The Adventure Games
. As I mentioned earlier, they're not being treated as an amusing side project ? the BBC wants you to think of these games as full-blooded Who
episodes which you happen to be able to play. So how does it stand up on those terms?
Plot-wise, the answer is 'quite well'. It doesn't have so many twists and surprises as you might expect from a TV episode, but there are limits to how much of that you can do in a two and a half hour game that has to have some of that gameplay stuff in. Certainly, getting a canonical Dalek appearance and a trip to their capital city, Kaalann, is not to be sniffed at.
The script is a little let down, however, by the voice acting. While it's great to have Matt Smith and Karen Gillan's voices in there, there's a sense that they haven't fully adjusted to working without sets and props. The result is voice acting that doesn't have the body or urgency of Smith and Gillan's on-screen performances. That's not to say they're by any means bad ? just a bit flatter than we've grown used to.
For Who fans, City of the Daleks is a must. Frankly, since it's free, I probably don't need to tell you that as you've no doubt downloaded it already and you're just reading this so you can nod your head in agreement or shake your fists at the screen. As a newly-minted Who fan I got a big ol' kick out of digging further into the mythos and seeing things I'm unlikely to get on my telly. The BBC's obvious commitment to the project has helped Sumo create a rich experience to coax that nerdy kid inside you from out behind the sofa. If you're a gamer looking for something new ? the gameplay mechanics are nothing ground-breaking, but they come packed with a colourful storyline and you're likely to get something out of City of the Daleks. Plus, it's difficult to sniff at free.
SPOnG Score: 82%