I’ve always had a spot for point and click adventure games in my heart. Growing up not owning a particularly powerful PC, they were always my go to games and I was always a few years late for whatever one I was playing. Suddenly, though, they stopped coming out and it took years before anyone started making them again, and even then, the new crop of adventure games started to play way differently than the classic titles from the Lucasfilm Games/Lucasarts and Sierra days, mostly due to Telltale Games’ influence after their success with The Walking Dead.
Only very few developers dared sticking with the tried and true formula that was so popular in the 1980s and 1990s. While inherently time consuming due to the sheer ridiculous design of having players trying all sorts of solutions to puzzles by clicking at everything in your inventory in hopes of making it through, ultimately spawning crazy stuff like the rubber chicken with a pulley in the middle from Monkey Island, there’s a sense of play that in these games that is completely absent in the more action and dialogue-heavy adventures of today.
Italian studio imaginarylab’s Willy Morgan and the Curse of Bone Town is looking to be a bona fide retro adventure game in everything but visuals, offering a satisfying romp as you join young Wily in his journey to find out just what happened to his dad, an explorer who disappeared ten years ago after receiving a dated letter telling him to head to the mysterious Bone Town. The beta demo had me get through the initial bits of the game, with Wily partaking in true to adventure gaming putting together of his bike and acquiring enough cash, and then finally off to Bone Town itself.
The look and feel of Willy Morgan and the Curse of Bone Town is of an adventure game that might have come out in the tail end of the classical era that I mentioned. Simple 3D visuals for today’s standards are a part of its presentation and work quite well with the slower pace of the game, which has you clicking over interactable parts of the scenery. You can highlight what can be used by pressing the spacebar, so there’s no need to tirelessly pixel hunt around.
The inventory works similarly to the old games too, and I got to combine plenty of them in the beta already, as Wily worked to get the parts he needed for his bike, not all of which were immediately usable, like the one hanging on his room’s wall that required a little loosening up of the bolts holding it in place — for that, he used a little bit of suntan lotion, but not before getting it heated up enough. You get what this game is going for with this, right?
I’m positively looking forward to playing more of Willy Morgan and the Curse of Bone Town once it’s complete. The writing from the slice that I played is entertaining, and I was left intrigued at just what is going down in Bone Town since everyone around Willy is all hush-hush when he’s not looking. Willy himself is as classically curious as any teenager you’d find in a mystery novel, so it’ll be cool to see how his deductive skills (along with mine, of course) will be further put to use in the full game. So far, the logic in the puzzle design is spot on and is believably funny and clever. I’ll have a review ready for this very soon.