Point and click fans rejoice for Willy Morgan and the Curse of Bone Town. If you played the demo during the Steam Summer Festival, you won’t be disappointed.
Before you decide to skim past the rivers of text, the skinny is, I adore this game, and it was almost a given that I’d rate it highly before finishing. However… there were a couple of aspects that hindered it slightly. Is it worth it? (Yes).
Willy Morgan and the Curse of Bone Town Review
There are better-named titles out there, and while I’m not a fan of this moniker, the names in the game play a prominent part of the story. In fact, it was about 20-30 minutes in that I was almost bouncing up and down at the references.
But first, in case you aren’t familiar with the story, here’s a summary. Willy Morgan receives a post-dated letter from his father telling him to come to Bone Town. The thing is, his dad went missing over ten years ago to the day.
With his mother out of town, Willy constructs his bike (seriously, if you dismantle your bike and hide them around the house as Willy does, you need locking up), then he heads into Bone Town.
Staying at the local inn, he realises that something is happening behind the scenes and perhaps his dad’s disappearance isn’t such a coincidence. Speaking to the locals, they’re all familiar with his father as quite the celebrity, and they all share a common ancestry – pirates.
It goes without saying that The Secret of Monkey Island references will pop up – sometimes quite literally with references to a chicken with a pulley on it to the swordmaster – these point and click references weren’t remotely wasted on me!
Willy took some getting used to from playing the demo as he had some excellent lines, but his delivery was a little disconnected, and he seemed a bit too wise for his age. In the story, there’s a reference that he was five years old when his dad went missing, ten years later has his age at … calculating… 15. He’s far too smart.
Still, he’s likeable, and once you get used to him and his pithy comments, you’ll be happy to be his non-speaking companion.
So, there’s a pirate theme, and in some respects, it’s Uncharted 4: The Point and Click Adventure. As you pick up items and combine one with the other, you’ll reveal a little bit more on the history of the town and its inhabitants.
As a pirate nut (the Nassau era), I was almost shouting at the screen when I heard a character name, linking them up to their pirate alias. Alas, nobody was in the vicinity to listen to my boastful knowledge, and even if they did (notably my wife), they’d call me a nerd.
That’s right; there’s some historical stuff in here, and while not accurate, it’s an entertaining world to occupy. The characters aren’t as oddball as I’d expected, but they’ll all so beautifully designed.
I particularly like the self-referential humour throughout, such as the entrepreneur who runs a garage/bar: get your car serviced while you help yourself to a drink. As Willy speaks to him from the classic selectable dialogue tree, their discussion shifts to videogames:
You can feel safe playing Willy Morgan and the Curse of Bone Town. Unlike the old school Sierra games, there are no real consequences for your actions, and you can’t die. On that basis, you can run through all the dialogue and experience all the brilliant conversations.
Collecting items and combining them was nothing like similar titles, and to be honest, I found the game pretty easy. In some respect, it was quite a linear experience as you complete a series of mini-quests to secure parts of a map before the conclusion.
The Golden Age of Piracy Was Short-Lived
One of the main reasons I love the point and click genre so much is the story, characters and the worlds to explore. Willy Morgan and the Curse of Bone Town is simply a stunning environment.
Walking through each alleyway or interconnected path kept me hoping that it would never end. The playing area is relatively large, but the game only really occupies this one main space – as beautiful as it is.
Once through the central area, the last section was relatively short, and I had no idea that it was going to come to an end. When the credits rolled, I was almost sad. Yes, I’d completed this in one sitting, and it only took three or four hours of exploration and talking to everyone in sight.
Though I didn’t have high expectations, I had hoped that the game would have lasted longer than it did. On that basis, the game fired on all cylinders for what I want in an adventure: escapism.
When playing, the rest of the world didn’t exist. All I could do was stare at the architecture, or hum along to the theme tune that has such a presence that it’s played in the church. To have such an impact is a great feat. I just wish it had lasted longer.
I get that this is short. I know that it’s a point and click and has its flaws, but Willy Morgan and the Curse of Bone Town is a true love letter to the genre, and in fear of sounding like I’m a pirate myself and been bribed to say all this, I can assure you these are all my own opinions.
Willy isn’t the best wannabe pirate (we all know who that is), the challenges in the game are perhaps a little on the easy side, and the story is more a snippet than epic, but spend a few minutes in Bone Town, and you can almost smell it.
I haven’t seen such a well-designed town with moving 3D parts(!) this gorgeous that it makes me want to say nuts to it all, let’s go on holiday here this year instead of Mêlée Island.
The town feels lived in, and the music made me feel sentimental and longing for more adventures. My biggest critique was the abrupt ending. It caught me a little off guard, and while there’s some closure to it, the end had me in denial that my adventure with Master Morgan was over. The only way to counter this was to play again, and believe me, I’ll be playing it again.