The Will of Dr. Frankenstein Review
Posted by Marcel van Duyn
You don't want to inherit anything from this!
Enjoy Gaming seems to enjoy bringing us smaller versions of games they've released at retail. System Flaw Recruit was their first time doing this, and now they've done it again. The Will of Dr. Frankenstein is a prequel to The Island of Dr. Frankenstein, a Wii game that has, curiously enough, been available in North America for half a year, but has yet to be released in Europe.
You take control of Frankie, who has been transported back in time by his great-great uncle, the famous Dr. Frankenstein, in order to help him. The famous scientist is close to death and needs Frankie's help to build a robotic suit to house his spirit in order to live on forever. He's hidden the parts around the maze of floating islands he lives on (together with some friendly monsters and some villagers he accidentally took along) and has just so happened to forget where exactly he placed them.
Because he's too lazy to go and look for them himself (he's even got a flying machine he's constantly sitting on which he could easily use, the fiend) he sends out Frankie in his stead, equipping him with a Steampack. The Steampack is basically just a vacuum and can be used to suck up vaporites – cloud-like creatures that can be found all around the floating islands.
The vaporites can be used for a small number of things once captured, such as powering a drill, allowing you to dig for meteorite chunks and other treasure. Meteorites can then be combined with more vaporites to create cogwheels, which are used to solve special puzzles. You'll have to be a bit careful with sucking stuff up, though, because each group of vaporites also includes a black specimen. Sucking this one up will cause you to lose a handful of white ones.
Sadly, running around and sucking up vaporites is what you'll be doing for over half of the game. Despite being of the adventure game genre, there's actually very little sleuthing to be found here. The entire game is basically just a fetch quest, requiring you to run from one person to the next and hoping they want the item you happen to have.
Occasionally they'll ask you to lend them your "mechanical skills," which is where the cogs come in. You'll be presented with a grid featuring a beam of light emanating from a certain source; the objective is to use spinning cogwheels to alter the direction the light is headed in in order to get it to the goal. It's not until about the last five minutes of the game that these increase in challenge, because any puzzles like this before that point can be solved with one single cog placed in a usually very obvious location.
If you are asked to solve a puzzle you should consider yourself lucky. People can also ask you to, get this, suck up even more vaporites, something you're already doing every 10 seconds. This is usually accompanied by a time limit, but as you've already done it a hundred times before, there should be absolutely no challenge.
After about an hour and a half of seemingly endless running, vacuuming and swapping items, the game will come to an end, without ever getting interesting, and immediately after the last bit of dialogue, you'll be presented with a screen saying "Thank you for playing," which gives us bad flashbacks of certain unrewarding NES game endings.
A mediocre game can sometimes be made slightly more enjoyable with a catchy soundtrack, but sadly it disappoints here as well. There are only two tracks in the game, one of which you'll be hearing constantly, and the other of which only plays when you're tasked with clearing out supposedly dangerous red vaporites, which do absolutely nothing no matter how long you wait.
It must be said, however, that the graphics are quite decent for a WiiWare title. At one point you'll be able to see almost the entire set of floating islands with all their details still there, and there won't be a single drop in the framerate. The monsters and main characters also look fairly interesting, but the rest of the populace all seems to have exactly the same shape, with only their facial features changing a little.
A nice, non-Telltale adventure game on WiiWare would've been nice to have, but it just hasn't happened with The Will of Dr. Frankenstein. Adventure games are all about figuring out where to go next and what item to use with what person or object. This game, however, consists of nothing but talking to people and praying they want the item you currently have, sucking up vaporites while running from one person to the next. We honestly think that a game based solely on the cogwheel puzzles would've been more entertaining!