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Road to India is almost a completely linear title. You must overcome obstacles and undertake actions in a particular predetermined order or you cannot progress. You occasionally feel manipulated by the designers, where you know something unorthodox has to happen to you in order for you to make it to the next stage: for example, knowing you are going to need to be hit on the head to make it to the next locale illustrates this unfortunate tendency. There are rarely, if ever, multiple ways of accomplishing objectives. Even though all adventure games have elements of this kind of fixed linearity, here it feels a lot more confining because there are so many places where it is clear that you would have had multiple means of doing tasks if it were not for arbitrary roadblocks placed in your path.
As is typical of adventure games, Road to India presents you with plenty of puzzles. These puzzles are by and large very logical, with an emphasis on conversation-based information, exploration of the surrounding environment, and intuitive use of items in your inventory. You are constantly finding conventional objects that need to be used in ways that are intuitive. For example, you find a flute and a rope and then play the flute to cause the rope to serve as a rope ladder so you can pick an orange from a tree; or you put a gum ball on a branch to snag a key through a gate. Solving the puzzles is not just an isolated experience and instead allows you to learn incrementally about the story. The majority of the enigmas encountered are well integrated into the plot, as well as into the physical settings, and so do not have a tacked-on look. You frequently depend on others, such as a beggar and a monkey, to help you execute solutions. All in all, the puzzles are reasonably diverse and entertaining and constitute one of the stronger elements of this offering.
Some types of puzzles are, however, notably absent. While there are mazes and spot-the-pattern puzzles, you do not have to unscramble codes or solve mechanical challenges the way you do in so many adventure-puzzle offerings. Furthermore, you do not encounter the common hunt-for-the-single-pixel problem, where what you are looking for is both obscure and tiny; although there is one irritating challenge where you have to find a box of matches in a pitch-black environment. It is absolutely crucial that you make sure that you do not miss any key items lying in a given area, as such omissions can happen if you do not turn around to look around you wherever you are. In the end, the developers of Road to India appear to have been quite fair in their decisions about what to include and exclude, generally giving you a feeling of reward for your hard work.
But there is a fundamental unintended inconsistency evident in Road to India. The third-person cutscenes show in vivid detail the rich culture and teeming population of India, while in sharp contrast the first-person playable parts — when you have control of the action — appear starkly vacant by comparison. You see empty streets, with very little evidence of life of any kind, not in any way reflective of the multicultural overcrowding which has been a long-term facet of life in India. While the motive for this omission may be limitations in the game engine’s ability to depict multiple animations, the contrast is nonetheless unacceptable and severely hampers the immersiveness of the offering.
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