Broken Sword: The Smoking Mirror – Remastered: review

The original Broken Sword: The Smoking Mirror was released in 1997 on PC and later on the original PlayStation. This Remastered edition on Apple’s hardware follows on from the successful release of Beneath a Steel Sky, and the original Broken Sword on iOS. Indeed Apple’s hardware lends itself very well to the ‘point-and-click’ graphic adventure game genre. So, does the Smoking Mirror update translate as well as previous titles?

How are you going to get out of this, with only a lipstick and a pair of ladies panties?

The Smoking Mirror reunites the original game’s protagonists George Stobbart and his girlfriend Nico Collard, in an adventure that spans several continents and involves a conspiracy surrounding Mayan folklore and a forthcoming eclipse. Basically the enemy of the story is trying to resurrect evil Mayan God Tezcatlipoca, and it’s up to our hero’s to make sure Tezcatlipoca stays trapped in the aforesaid Smoking Mirror.

The gameplay is a classic point-and-click adventure, with the player combining items to solve scenarios that the characters find themselves in. The scriptt is well written, with several memorable characters and plenty of humorous exchanges to lighten the mood. The sleazy General in particular is guaranteed to make you chuckle. The problems that you need to solve to progress are, for the most part, quite clever – and with a bit of thinking you should be able to solve them. There are however a couple that push logical thinking a bit too far, and we required the use of the built-in hints system to progress.

The artwork has been updated for this new Remastered version.

The hints system is a great addition to the game and stops any frustration that might creep in if you get completely stuck. You get four hints which give you clues on what to do next. The first one is subtle, but the final one basically tells you what you need to do. It works really well, and keeps the game flowing whenever you run into a brick wall, and are left trying to combine ladies panties with a poison dart!

While the problem solving is well utilised, we felt that there weren’t many actual puzzles to solve, with only one ‘proper’ one towards the end of the game involving two wheels and some Mayan symbols. This puzzle really tests you, a lot more than the earlier problem scenarios, and even with the hints system can be quite tricky to solve. A couple more of these types of puzzle would have been welcome.

One thing that annoyed on playthrough was that the touch screen controls didn’t work as well as we would’ve liked. There were several instances where we clicked the ‘action’ symbol and nothing happened; this was also prevalent when we pointed to where we wanted our character to walk, and again we were left cursing at our motionless avatar. It’s not a game breaker, and hopefully an app update will remedy this in the near future.

The characters find themselves in all kinds of trouble.

This new Remastered edition brings several enhancements including the hints system and improved graphics with fully animated facial expressions, along with high quality music and a diary. The game also allows you to play the game on other iOS devices, with your game save transferring over via Dropbox. Game Center integration is also included with achievements, which is a nice addition. The all-new interactive digital comic from well respected artist Dave Gibbons is also a nice touch, and is a fitting intro to the main game.

The Smoking Mirror is a great game, with a well crafted plot that keeps you playing, and some unforgettable characters. If you own an Apple iOS device then you really should give it a go. It’s heartening to see these old point-and-click adventures coming alive again on these new touch screen devices, and we hope that Revolution and others are encouraged to create new adventures through their continuing sales success.

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Written by Kevin M

I've been addicted to gaming since my parents bought an Atari console way back in the 70's. I progressed to the iconic Speccy, Amiga, and all the Playstation platforms. Having seen games evolve from single pixel bat and ball, to HD constructed environments, gaming has changed much from my early years. Having defeated the rock hard R-Type on the Speccy, the biggest challenge I've faced so far is putting up with the hordes of American teens spouting abuse in the current generation of consoles, noob indeed!

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