When I think of Broken Sword, I tend to think of rip-roaring archaeological adventures that spiral down through history and ripple out across the world. I think of travelling to Spain, Syria, the Caribbean, and South America on the hunt for cults and conspiracies.

So why, then, does this fifth Broken Sword game contain little more than a story of insurance fraud and a bland whodunnit murder, which yo-yos back and forth between Paris and London. This isn't Indiana Jones. This is Miss Marple with a Eurostar ticket.

It's the first game in a pair, and the forthcoming second instalment does promise trips to exotic locations, cursed paintings, and good old fashioned cults. But you'll only get there if you can bring yourself to trudge through this numbing slog of an extended prologue.

Shadowy Templars

If you haven't played a Broken Sword game before, they're traditional point-and-click adventures starring a snarky Californian lawyer named George who has a penchant for getting caught up in conspiracies - and then using MacGyver-style combinations of items to get back out of them.

The puzzles in this one are not particularly tough. You're hemmed in to specific areas, and the items you need in order to proceed are either in your inventory or somewhere in the surrounding area.

If you do get stuck, you can listen for the musical cue that means you're making progress in a puzzle or use the pleasant walkthrough system that can reveal vague hints or full-blown solutions. Up to you.

You'll probably need the hints, though, because the puzzles in The Serpent's Curse can be a pain to solve. There's the fact that the game is achingly slow and deliberately paced, for starters, so trying out solutions involves watching George (or pal Nico) stagger across the screen.

You also get rules that arbitrarily change (in one scene you're told explicitly that you aren't allowed to enter a door until suddenly, without being told, you can); you have to solve some utterly harebrained puzzles; and George rarely gives you enough information about what you need to do.

Smoky mirrors

Broken Sword 5 is also not as funny as previous games. There are some good characters and some sharp dialogue, but it mostly relies on winking references to the previous (and more exciting) instalments to rouse you from the coma you fall into when playing this game.

Plus, the sense of adventure is all but gone. Where George used to go off on adventures to save Nico or the world, or just to impose cold justice on murderous bastards, he's now tracking down a stolen painting because otherwise his insurance agency will fail to meet its quarterly financial target.

There are also some misjudged jokes, some clashes between the tone of the dialogue and what's happening in the story, and Nico might as well be an inventory object called, "Sexy Parisian distraction".

Anyway. This Vita version plays perfectly well, and everything is done on the front touchscreen. But it's full of bugs that include slowdown, glitching and frazzled graphics, stuttering audio, and a pair of crippling bugs that forced me to quit and restart the game.

Sleepy dragons

The thing about Kickstarter is that you can make a game that's squarely aimed at the sort of hopeless nostalgic who would happily part ways with $15 on the vague promise of, "a new Broken Sword game". And yes, that includes me

That means you can make a slow and sedate adventure for patient PC gamers, and not succumb to action gameplay, stealth sections, console-friendly controls, and everything else that made Broken Sword 3 so bad.

But Revolution has gone too far, and made a game that practically crawls along to its unsatisfying conclusion, which manages to take in bad puzzles, poor attempts at humour, and terrible bugs along the way. Here's hoping part two isn't such a washout.