Some of the "characters" you'll meet.
In addition to making you search for minute objects, the game forces you to embark on exhausting and mundane "FedEx" delivery marches back and forth across the island, where you pick up some arugula or hand a newspaper to someone you neither know nor care about. Where's the sense of wonder, mystery, and adventure that you expect from an adventure game? Not in playing grocery delivery boy.
Things do get more complex--expect some tough puzzles--and a tad more interesting if you can suffer through the early going. There's actually a certain odd charm to the game's surreal story and clumsy writing, too. The main saving grace, though, is that the game plays out on such a quaint, pretty island, and you can certainly feel the developers' enthusiasm for the place.
Despite that enticing source material, A Quiet Weekend in Capri's presentation does it few favors. It all seems very amateurish and cheap. The program was created almost entirely by two men, a father-and-son team, so it's unreasonable to expect superslick, big-budget production values. Still, you do expect a certain level of polish from a professionally published game, not the antiquated, ugly, low-tech feel on display here. The game's audio, for example, is marred by bland voice-overs and unconvincing, simple sound effects reminiscent of 20-year-old games. The music is uneven at best: A few tunes are mildly pleasant, most are bland, and one or two will make you cringe and hurriedly reach for the mute button.
As for the visuals, the menus and icons look gaudy and hand sketched, and text appears in simple, ugly fonts. Occasional hand-drawn objects superimposed on the photos often look comically fake. There's no animation, and the thousands of still images only take up part of the screen, so their impact is less than it might have been. The sheer overabundance of photos further weakens their impact.
Superimposed graphics like these are hard to take seriously.
For that matter, the photos seem for all the world like those taken by an amateur tourist photographer. They're certainly competent--no fingers over the shutter or cropped heads--yet they're often marred by predictable and boring composition, fuzzy details, or blurry highlights. Some players might find that these flaws add to the whole you-are-there tourist vibe of the program, but it would have been nicer to see professional-quality, discriminating, artistic shots of the island.
By starting you out utterly clueless and giving you scant motivation other than mere curiosity, the adventure portion of A Quiet Weekend in Capri gets off to a horrible start. It doesn't improve very much, typically ranging from boring to silly to confusing, with only the odd moment of interest to keep you trudging along. Hardcore adventure gamers willing to ignore a lot of serious flaws might find the game somewhat amusing, though most gamers will likely want to steer clear of this virtual Capri. At least the tour component, despite its flaws, should be of real interest to potential visitors. Capri certainly seems to be an enchanting island. It's just too bad you don't get an adventure to match it.