Point-and-click adventure games usually live and die by their story and characters.
Something has to keep you motivated while you rake every pixel of a screen for tiny visual cues, or jam peanut butter and matchsticks together in a vague hope it'll solve the puzzle you've been stuck on for two hours (spoiler: It usually does).
Fortunately, adventure games usually provide their cast with excellent motives and development - and The Journey Down's cast shows off top-tier writing in a genre that's old and respected enough to be considered gaming royalty.
Oh, and the puzzles in The Journey Down: Chapter Two are thankfully light on vague nonsense like the aforementioned peanut butter / matchstick scenario. Though a bit short, it's a brilliant adventure through and through.
From air to sea in one easy step
The Journey Down: Chapter Two picks up where Chapter One left off. In other words, plane wreckage is involved. Thankfully, Bwana, his sidekick Kito, and his client / friend Lina are all okay.
Then again, it's hard to believe anything less than a nuclear bomb directly to the face would dampen Bwana's spirits.
It's not as if Bwana lacks troubles to fret over, either. Shortly after being rescued by a mist trawler, he and his friends find themselves arrested in a depressing port town that's drenched in fog.
Though Bwana and Kito escape prison, they soon find themselves entrenched in a conspiracy involving the ethereal Underland and the disappearance of Bwana's adoptive father, Captain Kaonandodo.
Put on your thinking cap
Getting around and solving puzzles is pretty standard stuff. Dragging your finger around the screen highlights hot-spots that can be interacted with, and tapping on arrows moves Bwana from one scene to the next.
Bwana also picks up seemingly random objects ("I love free stuff!") that often come into play with puzzle solving.
Having the option to highlight hotspots does a lot to cut down on the kind of guesswork that usually plagues adventure games. Few of the puzzles require out-there solutions, too.
Getting out of a sticky spot usually comes down to common sense, though that doesn't mean you won't catch yourself staring blankly at the screen from time to time. The Journey Down: Chapter Two wouldn't be an adventure game otherwise.
Even during those rare moments of frustration, you never think about abandoning Bwana. His mystery and his friends are too intriguing to consider it.
Moreover, the game's graphics and soundtrack are gorgeous, and build up the kind of world that makes you squeeze every scrap of dialogue out of every bystander, because you want to know more.
The game's overarching Afro-Caribbean theme adds a flavour to the adventure without reducing Bwana and his friends to offensive caricatures.
A sidenote: It's not necessary to have Chapter One of The Journey Down under your belt before taking on Chapter Two. If you talk to Kito early in the game, he'll fill you in on the important details.
That's not to suggest you should skip over the series' first chapter, of course. The Journey Down is better enjoyed as a whole than in parts.Disclosure: The Journey Down: Chapter 2 features a voice performance from AppSpy and Pocket Gamer's Peter Willington.