Saturday, March 18, 2023

Free Direct-Controlled Adventure Review: Host Master Deux: Quest for Identity

Host Master Deux: Quest for Identity was the second of the Host Master free adventure games. The protagonist of these games is none other than the founder of Double Fine himself, Tim Schafer.

In Quest for Identity, Tim wants to get past the backroom so that he can host the Game Developer's Choice Awards. However, because he wore a suit and lacked his beard, the bouncer doesn't believe he's actually Tim Schafer, so he won't let him pass.

Tim has to explore both the back room of the awards as well as a tongue-in-cheek representation of Tim's home as a mansion filled with Double Fine mementos. He needs to get on stage and to be prepared to do a stellar job hosting the awards show.

Host Master and the Conquest of Humor was a throwback point-and-click adventure game with the look and feel of Tim's early work at LucasArts on the first two Monkey Island games. The sequel shakes things up a bit with a look reminiscent of Day of the Tentacle mixed with the zaniness of Major Bueno, the team behind the development of this game.

It's direct-controlled rather than point-and-click, however, it is very much still an adventure game. You still pick up things and interact with objects, talk to the bouncer, and pretty much do anything you would do in any adventure. In this way, the way it is played is more akin to The Cave than the LucasArts classics. It's all good though since the game is quite enjoyable and the controls work well with the gameplay and art design.

The best thing about the original host master was its humor, and the tradition is carried out in the sequel, if not more so. It's a lot of fun experimenting with the objects in the game to see Tim's comments on his game world. Like the original, there are multiple endings. However, there are more to be found here, and they are actually quite funny and well worth playing through multiple times to see something new.

Host Master Deux: Quest for Identity is not just a fantastic sequel, it's a fantastic game, period. The art style and humor are wildly different than the original, but it's all the better for it. It's like Maniac Mansion to Day of the Tentacle. They are two wildly different games with wildly different styles, yet they somehow still feel as if they are part of the same game world. Flash may now be dead, however, until the Ruffle Flash replacement is more mature, the game can still be played using the Windows Flash executable. It's well worth the effort to get this game working, as the humor and the replayability make this freebie a must-play for fans of Double Fine, Tim Schafer, or just adventure game fans in general.

Final Verdict:
4½ out of 5

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