One part of creating a successful adventure game is making sure you get the atmosphere right, and that's something that The Rivers of Alice does almost perfectly.
From the soundtrack, to the hand-drawn graphics, right down to the methods of communication and input, everything is geared towards wrapping you up in the game's world.
And it's an intriguing world to be a part of. Dreamlike and beautiful, its puzzles are tough and its narrative a mix of esoteric snatches and guessed fragments.
Some will find it off-putting, but there's a wonderful experience to be found here if you persevere.
The game is controlled with taps. Holding a finger down on the screen highlights objects of interest, and tapping on them brings up your interaction options. You can look at, talk to, walk over to, or interactive with things, although some of your choices are greyed out if they don't make sense.
Conversations are handled with pictograms. You'll see a series of images that refer to the task or object you've asked about, and you'll have to work out what you need to do from them. It's rarely an easy task, and a book that gives you hints is just as obtuse with its answers.
Items in your inventory can be dragged into the world if you want to try and use them. Get it right and Alice will wander over and interact, but get it wrong and she'll let out express haughty discouragement.
The puzzles you need to solve are all intertwined, with some of them unsolvable until you've figured something else out in another part of the world.Wet and mild
It makes for an intriguingly connected experience, but can also lead to some frustration if you're not sure what you should be doing next. And the game offers little help in that regard.
That means the eureka moments are that much sweeter, but also that some will give up before they ever get there.
The Rivers of Alice is an adventure gamer's adventure game. It relies on you being able to make those vaguely illogical connections that push this genre along.
Those who can think like that will love it, but for the uninitiated it'll all be a bit overwhelming.