Buck Bradley Comic Adventure has got the better of me. My gut instinct told me that as a comic book adventure, it’d be on the rails and pretty much straightforward to get on with. Also, the fact that it’s marketed as a point and click felt a little… off.
Well, I was wrong about both as this adventure from RedDeer Games is ‘good value for money’. The game is presented in a comic panel format. There are no animations; instead, the action is told through a blend of text and illustrations. For example, walk into a room, and a panel opens up from a dynamic point of view without over repeating assets.
One of the things I liked most about Buck Bradley Comic Adventure is the variety. The art style isn’t a run-of-the-mill approach that’s trending or ‘in the style of’. It didn’t blow me away, but each panel felt self-contained, and it didn’t take that long for me to get settled. The humour is the first obstacle.
But wait! What’s this about? The adventure takes place in a world called Terrastramba. Like Earth, they’ve undoubtedly had all the warnings, and now civilisation faces a backlash from their lifestyle choices as there’s an abundance of toxic pollution. It’s so bad, it’s turned the people into mutants – and not Toxic Crusaders underdog heroes, but grade D Pokemon that aren’t even benchwarmers.
One such mutant is Buck’s BFF Ciroki. Mutant’s an ugly word though, as she’s cute before and after her transition into a pocket-sized creature. She can still talk, and Buck can carry her about like Paris Hilton would (yeah, that reference is 20 years old), but naturally, she wants to be turned back to normal so that she can woo her beloved Buck. He’s too stupid to realise her undying love.
Anyhoo, the hapless pair set out to fix her and get themselves involved in enough errands to last puberty. Usually, I’d say this at the beginning of this Buck Bradley Comic Adventure review, but I haven’t finished it yet, but I don’t give scores anyway, and what clout does a recommendation have? I’ve got behind for a couple of reasons: 1. not enough time, and 2. the interface.
Surprisingly, this is a point and click adventure, just done in a different way. It’s not the typical cursor affair one would expect, and instead of pixel hunting for hotspots, areas are ‘sectioned out’. Anything you can interact with is located within a square/rectangular space. To find out what you can finger, you tap or highlight an area once, and Buck will do the equivalent of inspect said location. Double-click it, and they’ll interact or pick up an object.
This was pretty tricky to get used to as I’d often press the A button too many times as it wasn’t responsive enough. Do the same action to Ciroki, and she’ll give you a hint if you get stuck (you might need it), but it has a cooldown effect that takes a little too long. As the scenes aren’t animated, it’s easier to take your time and take it all in, but pinpointing hotspots and interacting with them took some getting used to.
Coming back to the humour in Buck Bradley Comic Adventure, it’s a mixed bag. Initially, I found that it was trying too hard, but I was spotting some funny dialogue sequences about half an hour in. There’s a wealth of NPCs to talk with and accompanying options for you to choose from. These responses were often amusing, but there was a pattern where only one of them would be the actual answer. Add in a few errors that may have come from translation or shortened down to fit on the screen, and some exchanges appear a bit ropey.
With all that said, Buck Bradley Comic Adventure is more complete than anticipated, which is a good thing, and as mentioned early on, there’s a lot of variety in the art style and storytelling. The comedy is hit and miss – sometimes it’s amusing, other times there’s the odd in-joke one may miss, and other moments of cringe (usually from Buck). Still, it’s pretty unique and, putting aside the tricky interaction with the scenes, very good value for money (it’s on sale at the time of writing as well!).