Twinsen is a dreamer, and soon learns that dreams can change the world. He finds himself imprisoned in an asylum, but he can’t let the evil Dr FunFrock just rule the world. Escaping the asylum is the first steps in Little Big Adventure, ($4.99) and you will get to repeat this part a couple of times. Little Big Adventure was released back in 1994 for MS-DOS, and I fell in love with the whimsical world of Twinsun right away. I don’t remember if I ever completed it back then, or if I just enjoyed exploring the quite open game world. DotEmu has recreated the original, as close as I can remember it.
This is actually not all good though, as some things have changed. For one there is no clear checkpoint, or save system immediately apparent. The aim of the game, and how to progress is also extremely unclear. Little Big Adventure is a game where you kind of find your own adventure, and how you opt to tackle obstacles. No arrows show you where to go, and there is no quest log. These are some aspects that would have needed some reworking to accommodate the demands of today´s gamer.
I remember having direct control over Twinsen on my PC using arrow keys for movement. On iOS the movement is indirect with you touching where you want Twinsen to go. This would be a suitable control method if Twinsen had any intelligent way to avoid obstacles. If something is in the way he simply walks, or runs into it. When just exploring this is a minor annoyance, but as soon as you are trying to escape an enemy it almost breaks the game. It tears on patience though, and having to restart in the asylum being caught by the fascist elephant guards is truly testing my patience.
The visuals feel a bit dated, but still manage to create a lush isometric world. The character models, albeit limited in detail, move about with fluid motion. The voice acting is the aspect of the presentation that holds up best, and I find it hard not to feel compassionate to the humble creature that is Twinsen.
Porting a classic isn’t all that easy to do, and sometimes it might be better to ponder remixing or at least remastering the original material. Little Big Adventure is a clear example of this where some core elements such as controls, lack of direction and confusion to when the game saves make it less than ideal for mobile gaming. Personally I really wanted to fall in love with Little Big Adventure again some twenty years after our first affair. Sadly it has aged even worse than me, and not even nostalgia can get me past that. It is a true shame, as beyond the problems there is a terrific genre defining adventure to be found.