Review Snapshot
Pros

The puzzles and mazes are challenging, which will keep gamers busy for hours.

Cons

It contains numerous graphical, gameplay, and playability issues.

Verdict

J.U.L.I.A. lacks quality, and its text-based approach to "adventure gaming" is boring and repetitive.

Reviewed by:
Annie Oh : I am a 20-something freelance writer who specializes in technology and health re...Member Reputation 124 • 110 active Krits
J.U.L.I.A from Digital Game Factory, Ltd.
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Annie Oh rates this 1.5/5
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J.U.L.I.A (PC Game) - FULL REVIEW

While big video game developers may dominate the market, indie game developers are inching their way in--slowly, but surely.  But, expectantly, indie video games can face a host of problems due to their exceedingly low budgets.  Enter in J.U.L.I.A., a PC adventure game developed by Cardboard Box Entertainment, which ambitiously hopes to break this stigma with its engaging--and brain-intensive--adventure sci-fi game, led by female protoganist Rachel Manners.

The Story

The story is a familiar one: In 2430, astrobiologist Rachel Manners wakes up from her cryo sleep when a meteor hits her ship, and when she awakens, her six colleagues are missing.  To find out what has happened, you'll be tasked to control Manners as you explore nearby planets, gathering clues and tips about what happened.  But she's not alone--the ship's AI, called J.U.L.I.A will guide her during her journey, helping her figure out how to repair the ship and regain the lost memory of what happened to her now long-gone colleagues.  You'll also explore each planet with the help of MOBOT, a mobile robot capable of planetary exploration.

Although at first glance the story seems engaging, you won't hear as much about this story during the actual game; you're often left clueless as to what is going on during Manners' adventure.  This is a bit disappointing, and unfortunately, the bulk of the story is told during the introduction of the game, when Manners awakens from cryo sleep.

Gameplay

Though the game is marketed as a sci-fi adventure, this couldn't be further from the truth: You certainly won't be exploring new words in the traditional sense.

Instead, what you will be doing is more of a text-based adventure, where you are instructed to do actions and explore new areas through descriptions displayed on your screen.  In turn, you'll also solve puzzles and go through mazes, which in itself can be very challenging for players--they're certainly not easy things to solve.

Though the occasional text-based quest is nice, these quests take up a large portion of J.U.L.I.A, and unfortunately just make the game unlikable.  Exploration is limited to what you read on your screen, which ruins what could have been a wonderful game about planet exploration.  Comparatively, the interactivity is about as complex as Warp.

Graphics and Sound

Unfortunately, the game also falters here.  Although some of the imagined planets feature some nice imagery, most of the game appears as if it was designed in the 1990s; most of the graphics are poor and blocky.  Manners herself appears if she came out of an Playstation RPG, such as Final Fantasy 7--which was released 15 years ago.  Its sound quality is also poor--the voices are stiff and don't always sync well with the mouth it is supposed to come from.  

Customer Response

Reviews for J.U.L.I.A. continue to be mixed.  "I'm enjoying it so far," says one customer. "I've played three other indie adventures this yera (Cold Corrosion, Dark Secrets and Amber's Blood) and this one is definitely the most unique."

However, another customer complains that it is "actually painful to watch on screen," citing its poor animations, amateur voice acting, and poor graphics as its main problems.  This appears to be a reoccurring problem in this game.

Playability

As a PC game, J.U.L.I.A. has numerous limitations, both in its gameplay and graphics.  This game appears as if it should have been released at least 10 years ago, and the graphics are far from excellent.  Its gameplay, which had been lauded as its strength by an expert on Adventure Gamers, is actually one of its weakest points, boring and forcing players to read long blocks of text and solve difficult puzzles with no enjoyability.  

Overall, as a PC game, I don't think J.U.L.I.A. is even a decent game, and needs numerous quality improvements.
Date Reviewed: March 29, 2012, 7:59 am
Reviewed by Annie Oh
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