This game was an unusual departure for the company that made it.
While both the art style and overal concept had promise, the game was simply way too complex to play without a strategy guide, and suffered from the fact that…well, there was no way to “win” the game, although there were several ways you could lose.
Name and developer, please! If you win, I’ll give you a pony. (Note: Pony not included.)
Afterlife, by.. ummm, Lucas Arts, I believe. Or maybe Sierra. The demo was fun, but I never got to try the full game. Based on what I’ve heard (that the game is nearly impossible), I’m somewhat glad I never got the full game.
Your first guess was correct, so I’ll allow it. Yes, the game was Afterlife by Lucasarts, a studio that at the time was best-known for their hardcore Star Wars space combat simulations and light-‘n’-fluffy adventure games. And yes, in the end, the game was just too darn hard to play. It was a long time before Lucasarts attempted another “off-genre” game.