Santa Ballena Is So Much More Than A Tourist Trap

Lucas is just your average tour guide in the sunny Santa Ballena, but when he meets a talking monkey, this Tourist Trap town unveils some startling truths.

Tragico Media has just stepped out of The Scumm Bar fuelled by grog, in-jokes, and a pocketful of wit to try out in the world of the point and click and offer you this new indie game, Tourist Trap – a hand-drawn comedic adventure, and do you know what? It’s funny.

I’d not heard of it until receiving a review code (there’s your disclaimer, anoraks), and first impressions were alright. The art style is like The Adventures of Bluke Bifton and GrandMa Badass – a colourful cartoon world that is easy on the eye.

The protagonist in Tourist Trap is Lucas. He looks like one of the doodles my friends and I would draw as kids, and I wasn’t too keen on his… look. Plus, when he opens his mouth, it’s all jibberish with “Blah, blah, blah”. This looks like it’ll be a chore.

Tourist Trap Game Review -Dawn of time
The dawn of time? Source: Screen capture

Tourist Trap Review

After turning the volume down for ‘voices’, the next hurdle was navigating how Lucas interacts with the world around him. On the Steam DeckTourist Trap was a pain as you manually select points of interest with the right stick, and then selecting inventory items was cumbersome, too. But we’re getting ahead of ourselves – what’s this about?

Set in a fictitious South America (the continent does it exist; I just looked it up), Santa Ballena is under the rule of a conglomerate. It’s not cyberpunk dystopia, as the inhabitants are begrudgingly accepting their fate, besides having to speak English. Lucas is indifferent and doesn’t seem to be fazed by the predicament. All that matters is he gets ready for work as a tour guide, working for said company.

After a series of bizarre events, Lucas befriends an escaped talking monkey who reveals he was a tour guide too, but the evil Frank, some dodgy tourist, had turned him into the primate and was hatching an evil plan. Lucas is reluctant to get involved, but all the omens point towards a higher purpose, but he must get to work today. He may as well humour the monkey and do some adventuring.

Tourist Trap Game Review -Geek
Geek. Source: Screen capture

Blah, Blah, Blah

It was about the third scene in the game that convinced me that the button layout was manageable. Going Tarantino on your ass and messing up the timeline; after finishing the game, I played on my laptop, and it handles perfectly with a mouse. Tourist Trap runs like Unforeseen Incidents on the Switch regarding console-based controls, but you can’t beat a mouse. Unless it’s with a stick.

The constant blah blah blah started to tickle me as the nuances were hilarious. Of course, it helps that the dialogue was comical. I wasn’t wetting myself (I don’t think I ever have), but the writing was genuinely amusing. It was a joy to jump back in the game after each interruption of real-life issues such as school runs, who’s my favourite Bluey character, and whether I could drop my eldest into town.

The art style in Tourist Trap is fun, too. Once again, I warmed to Lucas, and his constant looking over his shoulder made me chuckle. Other characters are amusing, and the backgrounds are brilliant. There’s a 90s design to it, and it has a general feel-good charm.

Bringing Back A Souvenir

At a guess, it takes a couple of hours to finish Tourist Trap – give or take. I can’t recall being stuck with a puzzle. Instead, the challenge was missing two achievements on the first playthrough. That’s not a bad thing, and truth be told, I prefer shorter games these days.

That said, Tourist Trap falls into the same… trap as To Hell With The Ugly, and the ending is far too abrupt and anti-climactic. The duration is not at its detriment, but I would prefer a more satisfactory conclusion. Did it spoil the experience? No. As mentioned, I jumped straight into another playthrough and had as much fun as the first time.

For a debut game, this has been great. I don’t know if the team has worked on other titles, but I hope they go on to make similar titles in the future, perhaps with a longer runtime and more in-depth conclusion; but hey – that’s just me. As for the game in question, it gets a thumbs up and deserves to be on your point and click watchlist.