I’ve been a fan of point-and-click adventures ever since my younger years, with my escapades with Guybrush Threepwood, Simon the Sorcerer, and even Indiana Jones some of my favourite gaming memories. There’s just something undeniably satisfying about wandering through a range of intriguing environments, scouring them for all sorts of weird (and sometimes mundane) objects, and then using them in a host of clever and unbelievable ways to progress on your journey. It’s a simple yet highly effective formula.
The genre itself has seen a bit of a renaissance over the years, with a myriad of quality titles released that haven’t only embraced the old-school approach that the classics took but also improving upon them with modern intricacies to make for a more accessible experience for players. Gibbous – A Cthulhu Adventure does just that and, following a successful release on PC last year, it has now brought its Lovecraftian-inspired escapade over to the Nintendo Switch for console gamers to enjoy too.
If the title wasn’t enough of a clue, Gibbous – A Cthulhu Adventure offers a Lovecraftian style adventure where strange cults and all sorts of creepy and kooky behaviour run rift in the world. The Necronomicon (more commonly known as the ‘Book of the Dead’) is tied to a lot of strangeness and detective Don R. Ketype finds himself in pursuit of it… the best place to look is in a library, right? This is where he meets the young librarian Buzz who, after messing around with the Necronomicon himself, accidentally gives his cat (aptly named Kitteh) the power to speak. I mean, worse things could’ve happened…
Of course, that’s just the tip of the iceberg as far as the Necronomicon is concerned and, working with Don R. Ketype, Buzz heads on a journey to prevent the book from falling into the wrong hands. This trip sends you from the ‘safety’ of your home in Darkham to the likes of Paris and Transylvania as you look to undo the spell you set upon Kitteh and HOPEFULLY stop anymore harm from being caused by the book.
The quality of a point-and-click adventure is determined by a few things, with an engrossing narrative one of the most important factors. Thankfully, Buzz and Don R. Ketype’s tale is intriguing and fun throughout, with some brilliant writing, genuine laugh-out-loud moments, and a quirky cast of characters really helping bring the story to life. On a personal note, it helps that I’m a fan of Lovecraft and horror anyway – whilst Gibbous – A Cthulhu Adventure doesn’t do anything too spooky, it certainly has more than a few glimpses of morbidity that brought a smile to my face whilst playing. It helped the tale to stand out, which is something that’s easy to appreciate when you consider that the point-and-click adventure genre is a pretty crowded one these days.
Good puzzle design is another important factor, with clever enigmas vital to players’ enjoyment of the genre. With a whole host of different characters to interact with within the game world that bring with them branching conversations and plenty of different items to find (and use in an array of creative ways), it’s hard to feel disappointed by Gibbous – A Cthulhu Adventure’s offering. Sure, you’re not going to find anything that’s TOO clever or that really changes up the formula in a distinct way, but there were plenty of neat puzzles in the game that brought more moments of satisfying ‘a-has!’ than there were of me resorting to trying to use every item in my inventory with every object I see in the environment as a desperate means of progress. Don’t act like you’ve never resorted to that technique in a point-and-click adventure before…
I do have to give Gibbous – A Cthulhu Adventure kudos for allowing players to highlight objects of interest with a quick button press though, which streamlined the gameplay experience a whole lot and meant that I wasn’t simply clicking everything around me to see if it did something. It’s a little less intuitive playing a point-and-click adventure with a controller as opposed to a mouse anyway, so have a feature like this is always appreciated and will definitely make Switch players’ life easier.
I also appreciated that you switch between characters during the adventure, with players alternating between Buzz, Don, and even Kitteh at different times. Each find themselves in a variety of different situations that’ll utilise their own unique style of thinking to progress through – whilst these moments don’t really change up the gameplay mechanics at all, they do give players a bigger glimpse into each character’s personality. There are a lot of moments of observation and interacting with other characters in point-and-click adventures and each of the three protagonists approach it in their own little ways in Gibbous – A Cthulhu Adventure.
What helps make Gibbous – A Cthulhu Adventure all the more enjoyable is its great visuals, which really bring the eerie world to life. You’ll explore a wide range of different locations on your globe-trotting jaunt and each brings with them their own unique quirks that ensure they stand out from one another nicely. As you can imagine, they’re all a little dark and grim in design and certainly embrace more than a few touches of Lovecraft within their aesthetic, but it makes every locale you encounter all the more interesting to be a part of. The character art is absolutely on point too, with each weirdo you meet fitting in within the kooky world perfectly.
If I had to pick on any flaws in Gibbous – A Cthulhu Adventure, it could be argued that some of its puzzles could be a little too easy to solve. Whilst I’m not a fan of puzzles being overly obtuse in the genre, there were a few too many occasions where I figured out what I needed to do to progress almost immediately. Or maybe I’m a puzzle-solving genius? Who knows… either way, the game could have done with a little bit more challenge in places, if only to keep the player on their toes as they look to progress.
The voice acting could be a little hit-and-miss in places too, though it’s generally of a decent enough quality that it doesn’t ruin the adventure at all. It’s effective where it matters the most with the main protagonists, so it’s more of a minor issue than anything else.
Gibbous – A Cthulhu Adventure sends players on a kooky point-and-click adventure that features a fun narrative, neat puzzles, and some super pretty visuals. Whilst it could be guilty of being a little bit easy at times and the voice acting wasn’t always top notch, there’s a heck of a lot more good than bad to be found in this well-written throwback to the point-and-click classics.
Developer: Stuck in Attic
Publisher: Stuck in Attic
Platform(s): Nintendo Switch (Reviewed), PC