You’d think that Desi Adda: Games of India, a title that’s got five games of India’s invention packed in it with a Bollywood storyline waiting in ambush, would do really well. And more so when it’s been developed by an Indian studio. Well, if you do think so, you’re wrong!
Desi Adda is a hyperlink game with flimsy animation, a mundane storyline and no character detail. Each of the five mini-games — Kabaddi, Gilli Danda, Aadu Puli Aatam, Pachisi and Kite Flying — is given equal prominence and the protagonist must play them all to take the story ahead. The characters are all sketchy and the controls daft, which makes the experience extremely sophomoric.
The story begins with Avinash, the protagonist, approaching his ancestral village in a taxi. Our hero walks straight into the village and chats up the first lady he finds there, playing Pachisi. From then on, it’s just an unfortunate series of encounters with five jobless locals who guide him through the five games.
The camera posits an aerial view of the action in all the outdoor games, and you can’t ever switch to another angle. Facial expressions are never captured and the folk music playing in the background is offensively loud and hardly blends with what’s on screen.
With Kabaddi and Kite Fight, getting the clunky control combinations in place becomes your foremost objective. But the most exasperating of all has undoubtedly got to be Gilli Danda. The gilli never moves farther than two feet from the batsman, which means the camera again gets an excuse to remain fixed at one point to focus on the players, and the characters are all perennially disinterested. But hold on yet. Beat the computer at the nightmare that is Aadu Puli Aatam and you’d have made full use of the money you spent on this one.
Among the few good options the game offers are its multiple languages (Tamil, Punjabi, Hindi and English) and a two-player mode available with some of the games.
The game world deserves a mention for its rustic charm and the hues used on the pictorial landscape. However, details like time lapse haven’t been given importance; the vegetable seller is engaged in a conversation with the same person even after you’re three hours into the game. Game physics could definitely have done with more depth and dimension for the outdoor games, and minor gameplay, character and object elements that add to the fun.
The game’s worthwhile only if you know you’re not buying it for the story mode. Once the novelty of seeing Indian games on a console wears out, and it will sooner than you’d expect it to, there’s no experience that will bring you back for more.