Mystery Island II
Review by Orb
Adventure games designed specifically for the Macintosh are few
and far between. So with some delight I encountered Mystery
Island II, by Koingo Software, an independent Mac software
developer best known for its shareware utilities for the Mac,
such as FileGeek. Mystery Island II falls somewhere in
that netherworld between independently released adventure and
shareware. This is the company's freshman effort at an adventure
game, and they have done an admirable job with limited resources.
The title itself has been released as shareware. A free demo
is available for download, as well as the full version, at myriad
Mac sites, such as VersionTracker,
and the game itself can be purchased in its entirety and downloaded
directly from Koingo. It is also Carbonized for OS X users. What
makes this different from most shareware adventures is the designers
attempt a full, albeit short-lived, adventure game experience.
And with all this in mind, they have certainly done a commendable
As for the story, you play as an unnamed US Navy Seal, aboard
the USS Volaris, which is suddenly and inexplicably attacked and
blown apart. You are thrown clear of the blast and manage to make
your way to a nearby island, floating in wreckage from the ship.
Once ashore, as you begin to explore the island, you uncover an
alien plot to take over earth and enslave the populace. It is
your job to stop the aliens.
The graphics are very, very simple and unadorned for an adventure
game title but actually fairly sophisticated for shareware. I
can't reiterate enough that the game is put together well enough
to really cross that boundary a bit and fall just to the other
side of the usual shareware expectations. I'd like to see these
boys with a bigger budget and a few more hands at the wheelI
have a feeling that the result would be highly playable and a
The game plays in a window and does not fill the whole screen.
It does not, however, play in a tiny window, which some
earlier games have been guilty of, and the window size does not
in any way hamper gameplay or the ability to see areas of the
The music is simple but nicely written, and it plays in short
loops. I noticed that it would eventually cut out in a scene,
and if I wanted it to continue, I would have to choose it from
a drop-down menu. The music can also be switched between two styles,
a slow, soothing tempo, and another that is faster with more of
an action feel. There are a few nifty sound effects. There is
no voice acting; instead, the dialogue is printed at the top of
the screen. The alien characters that are encountered are cleverly
Mystery Island II is entirely mouse-driven. The game cursor
does not change, with the intention of making the game more of
a challenge. This is a very usual flaw in adventure game design,
as no amount of exasperated and wild clicking can take the place
of a more complex game experience. In all fairness, though, given
the limited size of this game, it is understandable that this
would be worked into the design, to give players more bang for
their buck, so to speak.
The player can die, and regular saving can keep this from being
a grind. I found myself startled multiple times by this, and I
ended up laughing at my jumpiness, then actually going out of
my way a bit to find out how many different ways I could get knocked
The game is controlled by forward clicks of the mouse and clicks
on left and right control buttons to turn. There is a smattering
of inventory-based puzzles, as well as some that involve manipulation
of screen images and using codes, etc. Inventory is controlled
by mouse clicks, and once objects are picked up, they change in
inventory to the name of an item. Clicking on an item's name in
whatever game area one is in will tell the player immediately
if the item can be used there or not, and the game will use the
item for the player once the correct item is clicked on in the
Mystery Island II is a shareware cross between the style
and look of Shono's L-Zone
Castle by Blue Byte Studios (another Mac-only title),
although it is less sophisticated in its design than The Castle.
This is not a long gameit is, for the experienced gamer,
an evening's entertainment. But this should not put you offit
is an enjoyable effort, and it's definitely to Koingo's credit
that they settled on developing something for the adventure genre.
The game is very much worth purchasing to support the effort.
Release Date: April 2001
Four Fat Chicks Links
120 MHz Mac
16 MB RAM
Mac OS 8/Mac OS X
Where to Find It
Free download from
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by any party(ies).