In recent years many would have pointed straight to Telltale if they were looking for a fantastic point and click adventure. After all, it is they who have done a great job in bringing some incredible licenses to the genre in their time as a studio; in fact, for anyone unfamiliar with the genre, any of their games would have been a great place to start. If you’re a genre veteran however, then you’ll be well aware of the many other studios who have been pumping out classic after classic – you know, the likes of Artifex Mundi or the legendary Ron Gilbert. Whilst the latest point and click adventure doesn’t come from either of those, it sure brought enough excitement to see many – including Gilbert – stick their name down for Kickstarter backing, and if it’s good enough to get them interested, I knew I certainly needed to get a look in at the Lightfoot Brothers’ latest title, The Mystery of Woolley Mountain.
If you’re reading this, I’m doubting you really need me to explain the mechanics of a point and click game. And it is that same gist of things that is available in this adventure; to progress through the game, you’ll need to point on various things in the current scene, be it characters, specific items, etc, and continue these actions going forward to experience the overlaying story.
As is often the case in these types of games, not everything will be completely straightforward, and you may be required to think a little outside the box. In fact, some might require you to search as if it were a spot the difference, whilst others will deliver common knowledge progression items.
The story you’re looking to progress through is one that tells the tale of a group of goofy audio scientists, as they head out on a rescue mission. You see, renowned explorer, Vandamme Laudenkleer has attempted a rescue mission for a group of children being held against their will by the evil witch living up in the heights of Woolley Mountain. Unfortunately, Vandamme falls victim to being captured himself; to save him and the children, it’s up to the scientists travelling with him – The Helmholtz Resonators.
That’s all I want to give away about the story as it is that which you will want to be taking in with The Mystery of Woolley Mountain. With an enjoyable adventure to be had, it’s one I’d hate to spoil.
From the start The Mystery of Woolley Mountain makes it very clear that it’s trying to reminisce about those early days of the 1980s and ’90s point and click adventures by introducing a ton of interactive items that have been littered around the early environments; old-school posters, record players and even a ZX Spectrum will be found amongst the many obvious objects. This is a clear nod to the retro days and for those who remember them, Woolley Mountain is certainly full of memories.
Another area in which the 80s/90s style is brought into focus is within the game’s art style, with everything designed in a 2D fashion. That said, this isn’t a game in which you’ll find everything proving too basic and within each of the scenes and environments there is a ton of detail that has gone into making the experience feel engaging. There are a lot of easter eggs and secrets to be found within each area if you have the patience and skill to find them all.
One thing I have found a little challenging however is the lack of much help. Now of course no one wants to have their hand held all the way through a game, but when you find yourself searching every area of the on-screen location multiple times just to progress for a while, things can start to feel a little irritating. With The Mystery of Woolley Mountain this is something that occurs on more than one occasion. That’s not to say the game is difficult, as generally it isn’t besides some rather tricky but well-made puzzles, but with some progression points not proving all to obvious, there are several moments which will leave you scratching your head a little longer than you would have liked.
What makes this style of game enjoyable though isn’t the items you find, or how easy or hard it is. It’s about being able to connect to the characters, and in this adventure the protagonists are certainly a bundle of laughs. Each scientist has their own unique quirks and personality and it’s great reading on through the dialogue and the conversations they have between them, as you try to figure out what to do next.
It’s all well and good having an enjoyable story, quirky protagonist and solid gameplay, but the controls have to be decent too. Fortunately, even on a small console like the Nintendo Switch, the ease of point and click is something that can be enjoyed with players able to utilise either the Joy-Con or the touchscreen to play the game. It’s also good that the audio is equally as good. With great voiceovers, and a fitting soundtrack of varying genres from folk to synth and more, there is plenty of character that helps bring this wacky adventure into one completely enjoyable point and click adventure.
If you’re after a neat little adventure that you can enjoy with no effort at all, then The Mystery of Woolley Mountain is one that deserves a place on your Nintendo Switch. It’s easy to play, it’s comical and it’s enjoyable. And that’s all you really need in your point and click adventures.
Release date: April 2019
Formats: Nintendo Switch (Review), PC
Massive thanks to: Lightfoot Brothers