I love it when a point and click adventure focuses on story, character and creating something interesting to get lost in. I have a penchant for quirky games too and that is what initially drew me to Edgar: Bokbok in Boulzac. This indie adventure sees Edgar and his pet chicken sidekick try to find a mineral gem to save his butternut squash patch. His squash has been ruined by some chemical rain. As out outcast, he travels to Boulzac where he stumbles on a town mystery that needs uncovering before he can get some crops growing.
Edgar firmly places itself in the comedy adventure from the offset. Whilst there is no voice acting, your chicken sidekick will bokbok merrily away to your dialogue and then get caught up in various dramas. Half the fun and plot usually involves having to save your feathered friend from extinction. Exploring Boulzac and chatting to everyone is the other half of the gameplay. The town is relatively small and has a very jagged cartoon style graphic style. I’ve seen this comic book style done many times before and if overdone, it can look very busy very quickly. Edgar gets the balance right by allowing some detail but not making it a mess. Exploring is rarely a chore.
Edgar is built as a story first point and click adventure. I choose my words carefully for this as there are the usual fetch quest puzzles in the game but they are completely undermined by the auto-inventory system. You see, when you pick up an object, it goes into your backpack. If you then interact with where that object needs to go, it will do it automatically. No choices, no inventory management. This might be a plus for some people but for me, this removed the skill of puzzle-solving from the experience. There are only a few interactive things on each screen. There are more people to talk to than actual things to interact with. This means that if you just chat to everyone if you get stuck, you’ll eventually hit upon the right person to move forward. How this affects your enjoyment of the game is down to personal taste but for me, my enjoyment was reduced. Add to this that sometimes the way to progress the story is ‘talk to everyone and find out more’ and often the gameplay is simply making sure you’ve spoken to all the characters on the island of Boulzac.
Thankfully, the writing is decent. Characters, many of which are simple bit parts, are well realised. Their short dialogues offer up great characterisation and silly humour. The evil mayor is cast like a camp children’s story book novel and many of the islands residents are grumpy gossips or drunks in the bar. No wonder Edgar left to become a recluse with his trusty chicken! Whilst things are quirky, they are never obtuse which I really appreciated and puzzle solutions often made sense.
The last thing to mention here is that the game is relatively short. Edgar recently had its price slashed in half and this makes sense as I think its original price may have been a tiny bit high for the four hours it took me to complete it. The Steam page is very clear that Edgar is short though, stating 2-5 hours to complete it. I’d have thought if the inventory system was interactive and not automatic, that lower end would have been bumped up. At this new lower price, Edgar is much more worth it but its length does mean that just when you’ve really hit the flow of the game and settled into its world, the game is over. I hope there is more adventure to come.
The fact I want to return is testament enough that Edgar: Bokbok in Boulzac was enjoyable. It felt closer to a visual novel with character movement rather than an adventure point and click game. If you keep that expectation in mind, I think you’ll get a lot more enjoyment out of it.
Review copy provided by publisher.
Edgar: Bokbok in Boulzac
Fun but in making it accessible, it removes all the challenge. Fun script and writing though!
Simple controls work like magic.
Accessible and easy to progress through...
... but that accessibility makes the game very easy.
Lots of backtracking / fetch questing around the same few screens.
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