Treasure Adventure Game is a title both descriptive and understated. Yes, it is a game, in which you seek out treasure, and in doing so, have yourself an adventure. It’s also the Frisky Mongoose free game of the day. Those are the basics.
You should also know that you’re not just hunting down treasure in TAG; you’ re bolstering your own abilities with exciting Metroidvania platformer fare like throwing hooks, diving helmets, and glass bottles that can pick up fire, wind, and dimensional portals. Furthermore, we call it a “game of the day” because we only tell you guys about one of these in any given day, but TAG won’t just last you today. Oh, no. You start this thing, and you’ve got well over a week’s worth of fun waiting for you. There is exploration, side quests, collectibles, boss fights, and content aplenty in here.
The first things you’ll notice about the game are the charming retro presentation and graphics, and story-wise, TAG hits all of the classic adventure game tropes. Orphaned hero, “Wake up, sleepyhead!” opening, needlessly shady corporate antagonist with bumbling henchmen, thematic game areas (ghost world, cave world, jungle world). Heck, you even control a silent protagonist with a wisecracking sidekick who moves the plot along on your behalf. All of these elements, in the beginning, lead you to believe you’re playing a pretty simple, straightforward attempt at an indie game, albeit a very charming one.
Then, you unlock the sail for your boat, enabling you to travel the full length of the game world, and you realize just how much adventure and treasure you’re in for. Before you know it, you’re being granted new items and abilities left and right — fast-travel powers, shovels, the ability to briefly fly. What’s more, the game measures out these rewards all while constantly teasing you about the stuff you can’t do yet, in classic Metroid style. You’ll get a map, for example, pointing you towards the next treasure, only to arrive at the proper location, and find you have no means to get at the item. Hours later, you’ll find a new toy to play with, and instantly recall you’ve seen the hole for this particular key, and zip off with childlike glee.
TAG follows in the hallowed footsteps of indie projects like Cave Story: the whole thing is a one-man project (apart from the music, which is delightful, it must be mentioned), which took over two years to finish — and the whole thing’s completely free. It’s not particularly new, but it’s also not particularly well-known outside of the PC enthusiast circuit. Consider this a public service for those of you who may have missed out on this gem the first time around.