Set in the year 1899, Jack Keane starts off in a Shanghai prison. His shaman cellmate sends him on a quest to find the pieces of an amulet before a man called Professor Umbati can. With your crew of Amanda (Keane's love interest), Eve (photographer and another love interest) and Carl the German inventor, you'll venture around the world and the depths of Jack's mind.
Keane 2 gameplay is firmly rooted in the classic ‘point and click' genre, puzzles in this game largely use this old style of logic. This means plenty of combining unlikely objects or using them to accomplish tasks in a roundabout way. This is fine as long as you don't mind the old Lucasarts and Sierra adventure games, but since then adventure games have changed, and the frustrating bits from the 90's are more streamlined or at least throw out hints to help you on your way. It's admirable in a way to keep making games like this, but point and click adventures aren't a genre where the games have been made to guide you every step of the way like some first person shooters. Most of the time it's easy to work out what you need to do, but the game won't let you do the obvious things until you hit the right conversations and the game lets you progress. Too many puzzles feel obtuse and involve combining items together and waiting the game triggers that you can use them.
In the tradition of the old point and click games Keane 2 also contains witty dialogue, some of it works and will get a chuckle. Every now and then there are references to the games of the 90's, focussing the most on the Monkey Island games. Given that the game was translated from German before it was translated into English I'll cut it some slack for being clunky at times.
Keane 2 introduces some different gameplay elements to mix up adventure and give you something else to do. One example is the fighting system. Throughout the game you pick up different defence and attack moves to use in fights that come up. While the game introduces it early on you will find that the fights don't occur often, and to get past them you just need to find the new move to add to your list that will get you through. While I understand that they probably wanted to give you events you're more active in, the fighting mechanics feels very familiar to the fighting in the later hours of Return to Monkey Island (maybe it's meant to be homage), only there's little thinking needed to win them in this game.
Keane 2 has a variety of environments to explore from the dank Shanghai prison, Africa and the inside of Jack's, mind amongst other locations. Everything in the game is stylised and exaggerated in a cartoon style. For some reason the version on Steam seemed to be causing the animations to have choppy movement. It wasn't until about ten hours in that the frame rate seemed to be back to normal. This might not be an issue everyone comes across. Besides this, there are other hindrances when the camera cuts away too early during a plot-related discussion or during the more action-filled cut scenes.
The visual and audio bugs really let this game down, they overwhelm what would otherwise be a decent experience. The biggest shame is that it feels that the game is going for a rollicking adventure cinematic feel like Indiana Jones and the graphical hiccups really hurt it. Even once the frame rate had sorted itself out, the other issues that remain include poor camera angles and glitches that left my screen stuck on an area where I couldn't see Jack or get it back to normal without trying to guide the Jack I couldn't see into the right spot that would hopefully get it all back to normal.
Like the graphics the sound is also all over the place, whether it is questionable voice work (over the top Chinese caricatures), characters cutting off each other's dialogue or the sound mix becoming a mess and drowning out the important bits of the conversation.
For a point and click adventure game, controls are important if you need to be traversing the same areas for an hour or so, you can use the just the mouse or the mouse and keyboard. Neither control system works as well as you'd hope. The mouse-only controls means jumping is a pain and clicking to another area can sometimes cause a glitch where the camera moves to the new area yet leaves Jack behind. The Keyboard controls only make it easier for moving around and jumping if you prefer it over guiding with a mouse, either way sections where you need to jump are unpleasant.
While I've dwelled on the bits that don't work in this game there is still a fun story underneath it all if you enjoy point and click games, I could just say there's some bugs and glitches that take away from the enjoyment of the game. But the amount of issues encountered playing this game really hindered playing the game, a few times I had to try and work around a nasty camera bug because even quitting and reloading wouldn't refresh the screen. Ultimately my game came to an abrupt halt 12 hours into the game when what seems to be a game breaking bug happened that has stopped me from progressing. In the end these bugs can potentially be fixed, I am unsure if these problems are only occurring on the Steam version, but usually Nordic Games are better than this and it's unfortunate that this game was release in this state given.
Jack Keane 2 is a fun story and adventure back to how point and click games used to be, with bright cartoony visuals that aims to give the player a cinematic adventure like Indiana Jones. While the game does some stuff right it also stumbles with no shortage of visual and sound issues combined with bad controls and a camera that leaves you stranded sometimes. In the end I had to reduce the score after encountering a game breaking bug that was only one of many issues.