Old school adventure games were always fun to install and acclimate to. As you ingest its story, you discover the game’s quirks and nuances then use them to your advantage. Passengers of Execution is no exception. It doesn’t follow the classic Sierra formula, but instead carves its own path – for better and for worse.
To my point above, the game explains nothing to you. You can’t remap your controls, or even see the default settings. I couldn’t even get to an options menu from within the game. I feel this goes beyond the mindset of no hand holding and the player should be better prepared to enjoy the game.
The first thing you will notice is your player’s incredibly slow walking speed. Due to this, the large amount of open space and backtracking required left me sighing in frustration. I enjoy hunting for obscure clues, but it became tedious within the first few minutes. If this game could use one improvement it would be to enable you to run.
The pixel art looks great, and the music thematically fits. I enjoyed both, and as dialogue began to unravel itself I had renewed hope that this would be an enjoyable experience. Except I kept hitting roadblocks.
This game is available in Turkish and English, and its apparent that English is not the author’s primary language. Given the art’s great presentation, it was unfortunate that some of the lines I read didn’t impress their intended impact. Passengers of Execution wants to ooze style -and- substance, but its poor English translation has a detrimental effect on that delivery.
My expectations kept getting subverted as the plot went in wild directions. Indiscriminately jumping from mundane conversation to revelations of horror and suspense were welcome and exciting. The art and music add to the build-up and tension, which gives this adventure game a presence I rarely feel in other games of its ilk.
While trying my best to enjoy its odd yet original perspective, its mechanics kept getting in the way. If you pass by something required to advance the game, an exclamation mark will appear near it. Unfortunately, this will happen even if you have not met the requirements to use or explore said item. The end result is a bunch of these notifications that you can’t interact with. Top this with frustrating puzzle placement (I had to solve a puzzle to successfully inspect a bookcase) and you have a well designed story that sets itself back with questionable mechanics.
As previously stated, this game as a complete package does some things very well and others completely backwards. It gains momentum then shoots itself in the foot. Despite itself, my overall experience with Passengers of Execution was a net positive. If you can embrace its idiosyncrasies what remains is a good story deserving of your time.