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Cosmos Quest I: To Find a Sun

Cosmos Quest I: To Find a Sun


Developer: Iliya Kinanev The title screen.The title screen.
Released: 2006.02.08
Genre: SciFi
Graphics: Realistic / 2D
Perspective: Third person
Gameplay: Point-and-Click










"Cosmos Quest is a free point-and-click science fiction game inspired by Space Quest series. The game is created with AGS." A straightforward copy-paste from the developer's site tells exactly what the game is all about, and the game really stays true to that description throughout its relatively short gameplay.

A few words of explanation here might still be in order to define the game's exact parameters. It is clearly based on Space Quest, the overall feeling is similar and even the clothes that Apo Lanski, the protagonist, is wearing are similar in design and colours to those worn by Roger Wilco. By the developer's own statement, the protagonist is a modified version taken from Space Quest. The story is an original one though, so much so that calling Cosmos Quest a Space Quest fan game would be a mistake. Whatever Cosmos Quest is, it's a result of being inspired by Space Quest, not copying it. The most evident proof of this is the fact that Cosmos Quest really isn't a comedy or science fiction parody. Some situations are amusing for sure, but the intention here is not to crack jokes and parody science fiction movies.

The starting point of the adventure.The starting point of the adventure.
The plot of the game is that something is messing with the Rhomul sun, killing it. A ship is investigating this, Apo Lanski being an engineer of its crew. He has to make an emergency landing on the planet Zhena as his small shuttle is malfunctioning. From there Apo Lanski has to first make his way off the planet, and then find out more about the strange circumstances.

The way the story developes is a bit weird. It combines all kind of science fiction clichés ranging from an emergency landing on a planet to breaking out of an alien prison. All the while the story doesn't really have any thorough background, nor does it come to any real conclusion. That's probably OK, this being a short game, but it makes the motivation a bit twisted - you don't play the game that much to experience the story, you play it to experience the science fiction feeling.

The look and feel of the game are absolutely its strongest forté. The background graphics are nice, and the music is very good and fits nicely to the game, too bad the melodies get repetitive soon, as they are looping very short compositions. The game could use more sound effects, for instance there is no sound for footsteps no matter where the protagonist walks, which makes the player actions a bit detached from the game world. There are no voiceovers, as can be expected, but surprisingly the introduction text of the story actually does have a voiceover reading.

On a desert planet.On a desert planet.
Exploring the game world is safe, there are no deaths or unwinnable scenarios, and the game has a scoring system like its paragon does, where it is possible to finish the game without completing all tasks for the maximum score. It's a bit strange that some things are triggered by actions which do not affect the score, but need to be performed anyway. The game is better suited for experienced adventurers, because from the very beginning the puzzles are challenging with not much hints available. Many of the puzzles seem a bit random and involve things like exiting and re-entering an area just to see some action being triggered.

A minor complaint is that there are some typos in the game, one more time of proof-reading would have given the game a more finalised touch. Also entering areas can be a bit tricky at times, the clickable areas are often so close to the game canvas border that it's hard to find them. There's a possibility to enter areas faster by double-clicking, but this is not ideally made - double-clicking omits walking animation to the exit point, but the cross-fade effect between two areas is still being shown, which consumes time for what is a nice, but ultimately unnecessary visual effect. One area of improvement would be adding crosshair to inventory items, verb icons have that, but when an inventory item is active, it is not clear which is the action part of that icon.

As long as the game lasts, it offers a very tempting prospect for an adventure. All locations are alien enough to make the player to want to explore them more. It's a pity that the story-telling and flow of the puzzles don't quite reach the same atmospheric level. It can be debated whether the game would actually benefit from being an actual Space Quest fan game that goes deep into the Space Quest world, but the developer's choice of creating something more unique and original should be applauded. In the end, the game leaves you wanting for more, which is always a sign of job well done.

The door is locked.The door is locked.



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