Jennifer Wilde Unlikely Revolutionaries is such a classy game. What’s it truly like to mingle with the higher echelons? They get drunk and can’t remember where they left stuff, are naturally talented artists, and, of course, see dead people. Famous ones.
While I’d probably feel more comfortable with Roald Dahl’s ghost, Oscar Wilde is a surprisingly good companion and never seems to flaunt his intellect. Ha! That couldn’t be far from the truth. Hold on… I’m writing this from the perspective of Jennifer. Well, you play the game as her and Mr Wilde as a companion/assistant. In the words of Oscar Wilde: We are an extraordinary pair. Witty, persistent and perpetually stylish.
Our adventure begins in Jennifer’s apartment when her father visits her for an impromptu lunch. On her way to meet him, she stumbles upon an accident where there have been two fatalities. One of them is her father. Cue a murder mystery, only Scooby Doo is fortunately nowhere to be seen, but the infamous playwright (who’s dead also at the time the game takes place), and represented by his ghost. Jennifer, who arguably has a gift of seeing the dead, seeks his assistance in her investigation, taking her from Paris to London and Dublin.
Jennifer Wilde Unlikely Revolutionaries Review
Jennifer Wilde Unlikely Revolutionaries is sort of a point and click, though perhaps a bit more akin to a visual novel, as interactions with NPCs are often on rails. That’s not a slur, as the narrative is mostly non-linear, as you’ll get stumped and have to backtrack using the fast-travel map to uncover some evidence. Instead of an inventory, Jenni carries a sketchbook with blank comic book panels that you must drag and drop clues for a deduction, then present to one of the characters you meet.
Dialogue trees appear as a speech bubble, and any choices can be scrolled through, up or down. On the Steam Deck, you have to hold the button a little longer than necessary, which can occasionally skip some dialogue. In most cases, you can repeat the conversation. This is essential as the writing in Jennifer Wilde Unlikely Revolutionaries is one of the draws outside of the gorgeous illustrations. Returning readers will know I’m a sucker for black and white aesthetics, and here it works perfectly, giving it a classy vibe throughout. That goes for the noir-like scores and Fallout Shelter jingles when you uncover a clue. Brilliant!
But one of the other aspects that make Jennifer Wilde Unlikely Revolutionaries a standout is that it inspires a little research if you’re inclined. Not just drawing upon historical figures but also turbulent times; the events take place in 1922. 100 years of independence was to follow and, quite frankly, fascinating to read about outside of the game. That’s on me. We didn’t learn about this in school, and Outsider Games’ adventure encouraged me to learn more. It’s an interesting period, and the writing and nuances throughout the game are excellent.
Returning to the journal aspects of the game, there were moments of winging it slightly. When compiling your evidence – often through dialogue, you drag the evidence into one of four panels. These have to be in order, and on occasion, you’ll have to uncover the identity of a suspect and place it over an existing panel for some closure. I felt I was following the narrative a handful of times, but when organising the evidence, I balled up a few times, swapping some of the images around until they worked. Yes, Your Honour, I winged a couple of scenes.
That said, Jennifer Wilde Unlikely Revolutionaries is a straightforward game. For me, the lure of the story and artwork was the most engaging, and any signs of frustration quickly disappeared. Aside from using the sketchbook for evidence, it also lists your objectives should you get stuck, and having a natter with Oscar Wilde will reel things in a bit. You can switch between him, too, taking advantage of his supernatural presence and sneaking past the old bill.
I’ve had my eye on Jennifer Wilde Unlikely Revolutionaries for quite some time now and am pleased to see that it gets released a couple of days shy of the playwright’s birthday. Coincidentally, I’m writing this review on his birthday. Cheers, big ears. More appropriately, should you check out this game? Absolutely. With its beautiful art design, witty dialogue that draws upon said spirit’s works, and featuring a story that wouldn’t usually be depicted in a game, it’s a standout for me. Looking at my playtime, it took around four hours at a leisurely, enjoyable pace. So yes, recommended.