by Quinn Levandoski
reviewed on PC
Laughing Through the Renaissance
We all know that making games is tough. Whether it be knowing how to work with a game engine, putting together art and assets, or making the game actually fun to play, putting together something entertaining isn’t a walk in the park. There’s a specific type of game, though, that I think stands above all others when considering the degree of difficulty: the comedy. While an overly-serious game might be boring and romance that doesn’t land might be tough to get through, a bad attempt at comedy can be downright repulsive. This being the case, I’m both delighted and impressed to report that The Procession to Calvary is a damned hilarious game from start to finish.
We all know there are some weird things on the internet, but have you ever looked at Renaissance paintings? They’re a medium rife with dichotomy. Sure, there’s a lot of pretty normal depictions of women or angels, but they also get super weird, and even the weirdest pieces are done with incredible attention to detail. Well, The Procession to Calvary is literally made of the stuff, every character and background being made of sliced and diced paintings from that long-ago period of history. The result is bonkers, but it works incredibly well. Each area, of which there is a handful, is a meticulously built hodgepodge of elements that come together rather seamlessly, benefiting from both the beauty and absurdity that the era’s art encompasses. You’ll run into everything from beautiful golden opera halls to disgusting crucifixion fields, and my only complaint is that there wasn’t more to see. From start to finish the game only took me between two and three hours, which isn’t terribly long.
Point and click with a sprinkling of stab
The story driving the player through this world of paint and canvas is a simple one. A war has just ended, and the previous dictator, Heavenly Peter, has retreated down to his church in the south. Our protagonist, a feisty female soldier, absolutely loves murdering people and decides to head south, reach Heavenly Peter, and kill him. Doing so is both easier and more challenging than you’d expect. While getting to the basilica of Heavenly Peter takes little more than a boat and donkey ride, the folks at the door need a few items before they’ll let you in. Finding these items makes up the meat of your quest.
A largely traditional point and click adventure, you’ll be interacting with the world via four options: look, speak, touch and stab (though the last one comes into play disappointingly little). The UI is minimalistic, but it does everything you’ll need to do. A small inventory on the top of the screen keeps track of the items you’ll acquire as you play, and a press of the centre mouse button highlights everything on screen that can be interacted with in some way. The challenge comes from keeping track of who needs what (there is no quest/objective log) and figuring out where to use what item. More often than not the puzzles are satisfyingly logical, comprised of their own relatively consistent twisted internal logic. That being said, there are a few puzzles that, even looking back, don’t quite make sense to me. While everyone’s own trains of thought and internal logic are going to function a little bit differently, one or two really are doozies.
Buggy but fun
Everything ran smoothly during my time with The Procession to Cavalry except for one rather concerning issue. Towards the end of the game, there was a task that I needed to complete in order to get an item from a giant clam. I did the task, spoke to the correct person, and the item appeared in the clam. Knowing instantly what to do with this new item, I immediately ran out of the room, forgetting to actually grab it. Immediately realizing my error, I walked back into the room and it was gone. I tried talking to everyone, but it wouldn’t re-appear. I tried re-doing the required task to make it appear, but doing said task consumes an item, so that wasn’t an option either. I was stuck, with absolutely no way to move forward. Thankfully, I had saved not long beforehand. If I hadn’t, however, I’d have needed to start the entire game over, and that’s no fun.
The Procession to Cavalry is a weird, wild ride from start to finish. Even if the ride isn’t that long, there are plenty of laughs to be had here, and I quite enjoyed my time spent playing.
Hilarious from start to finish, some clever puzzles, fantastic art style and animations.
A bit shorter than I’d have liked, a few puzzles that still don’t quite make sense to me, a game-breaking bug.