LifeisXbox’s Trails and Traces: The Tomb of Thomas Tew review | Our readers and friends that accompany my work here at LifeisXbox (for four years already!) know that I have a special place in my heart for one-person projects,games fully developed (or most of it) by a single person. Although sometimes with dubious quality, this sort of title reminds me that everything is possible for those willing to fight for their dreams. And Trails and Traces: The Tomb of Thomas Tew, the game we are about to review today, is a curious example of these projects.
This is a short review, our usual the good, mixed and the bad was difficult because of the nature of this game. We played ‘game’ for X hours on ‘platform’
Developed by the single-man-studio and musician Matt Barker – aka Because Because Games – and published by Ratalaika Games S.L., Trails and Traces: The Tomb of Thomas Tew (or T5, for short) is a classic point-and-click adventure that reminded me a lot of titles like The Secret of the Monkey Island, Grim Fandango, and Full Throttle (my favorite!), just to name a few.
In this game, you play as the private detective James Labbett, hired by a man to find his son who has disappeared. You start the game by investigating his apartment, looking for clues about his whereabouts, and soon walking around the city, asking people about him. From this point, the story takes some unexpected turns and expands into a way I did not see it coming!
From the visual perspective, the game is nothing impressive. Its visuals are over-simplistic. When navigating through my screenshots, my sister asked me if the game was made on Paintbrush – what wouldn’t be a problem at all if true. But I was a little concerned by the game cover, which doesn’t reflect the game. I’m afraid some potential buyers could even be misled by its cover and feel deceived when buying it if they don’t see its screenshots. This difference between the game cover and the game content is a problem I’ve already noticed on a handful of games published by Ratalaika Games. Still, in this particular case, I think it’s worth mentioning. Why, you ask? Well, because T5 was notably not among the most eye-catching games I’ve played this year. Its scenarios lack details, its characters’ animations feel weird, and their models are uninteresting – except for the main characters, who clearly had more attention in their conception.
The sound in this game had me a little divided. First, the music from Because Because present in the game is excellent! I especially liked one part of the game with a jukebox where I was allowed to know more about his work as a musician (and I recommend you to take a look at his playlist at YouTube. Second, the dubbing of characters in T5 seems amateur and overly exaggerated. I constantly felt tempted to turn off my TV volume and play the game only by text. But if I did that, I’d have missed the compositions from Because Because – and this would have been a pity. I believe that not even the developer was convinced about his dubbing, the reason why he gave us an option to turn voices off in his game.
The gameplay is very straightforward: you investigate each scenario after clues about the missing guy, collecting and using items, and interacting with people. Suppose you can ignore how abruptly you are thrown into a tutorial (and how absurd the story surrounding it is). In that case, you will find your adventure enjoyable. Besides a few puzzles or moments that required some sort of backtracking after clues, the experience had a fast pace and took me about three hours to finish it – and earn some extra 1000 G effortlessly.
LifeisXbox.eu is the largest Belgian Xbox-centered website, your reading time is greatly appreciated! Please consider sharing this review with your friends on social media, that means a lot for us! If you are Dutch speaking also consider joining our Dutch exclusive Facebook group Xbox Gamers Belgium. Feel free to use quotes for PR purposes.
With a history of gaming that goes from his old man’s Atari 2600 to his Xbox One, Rafael or RAF687, our Brazilian editor, has a love for games as old as he can remember. He has already spent countless hours in many consoles (Mega Drive/Genesis, Sega Saturn, PS1, PS2 and Xbox 360) and is always ready for more (as long as his wife is asleep). Raf has been writing for LifeisXbox since 2017, with a passion for games of almost all genres – though we know he has a special place in his heart for RPGs, racing games and anything that includes pixel art. Writing about games has always been a childhood dream to Raf, dream that he has fulfilled reviewing games for you here. You can drop him a message at Twitter, Facebook or Xbox Live at any time.