by Johnathan Irwin
reviewed on PC
...It's Just Fantasy
Admit it, at one time or another you've had aspirations for something grander than where you're at. Whether it's making millions, pursuing your passion, or slaying a dragon; we've all been there. It's human nature.
Okay, so maybe all of us HAVEN'T fantasized about living in a fantasy-fiction adventure, but it sure is more exciting than our modern times isn't it? But we always want to be the hero, or someone important. So, what happens to all the side characters - figures in the background with little to no importance? Enter Tick, a peasant and a bit of a trouble maker, but all the time very light hearted. He has but one wish, and that's to win the heart of his dream-girl Georgia McGorgeous (yes, that's really her name). To win the hand of this maiden however, Tick will have to defy both fate and his Fairy Godfather both and become the hero the world needs... even if no one wants him.
Tick's Tales: Up All Knight is a point-and-click adventure game from Digital Bounce House. Normally, I shy away from the more modern point and click titles because many of them fail to interest me the same way they once did when they were at their peak in the mid 90's. But the initial trailer for Tick's Tales and our hero's quest to pull the Sword of Blergh from a stone to slay an awkwardly named goblin named Bloodclot caught my interest.
An Unlikely Hero
The adventure begins as Tick is sound asleep, and in his dream he's visited by his Fairy Godfather. This dream is supposed to reveal Tick's fate to him, his destiny. He is presented with three objects; a broom, a shovel, and a sword. If he picks the broom, a lifetime of cleaning stables. The shovel? Digging graves. Both fates are accompanied with loneliness and solitude, before fading away into nothing.
Tick of course wants to pick the third choice, the sword. He wants to become a legend, and to win the heart of his crush (whom he sounds very superficial about, as he speaks of her looks far more often than anything else) Georgia McGorgeous. He can pick between all of these fates; “BUT NOT THAT ONE” says his Fairy Godfather. Well, after a bit of trickery, taunting the Godfather by crying wolf about a fairy eating beast, I had Tick use the shovel to smash the glass barrier keeping him from the sword and then he made his dramatic escape back to reality.
Tick awakens the following morning, intent on his destiny. To become worthy enough to pull the Sword of Blergh from the stone, defeat a great evil, and get the girl. But before he gets there, he's going to have to overcome his own mediocrity, social awkwardness, and tendency to mess things up.
Challenging But Fun
There are two things to note about Tick's Tales. First, it's very comedic, ranging from highbrow antics to low brow. Some will have you grinning, other moments will have you shaking your head, and then there are a select few where you will rest your head on your desk and just sigh. It's a mixed bag, maybe even less so for those who can't take a joke; but overall light hearted enough to be mostly family appropriate.
The second thing you're going to notice, unless I'm just having a run of bad luck on problem-solving techniques, is that it's actually surprisingly hard in spots. Despite some easy early puzzles, and very simple riddles, I've found myself stuck several times trying to figure out what to do. I don't get frustrated easily, but I can definitely see the difficulty being a turn off for some. I think the closest I came to frustration was trying to coerce a cat down from a tree; and no I'm not going to make it easy on the readers by just giving that answer away. You'll suffer as I suffered.
In all seriousness though, I'm -glad- for that kind of a challenge. The fact it felt so hard at moments, and then left me rubbing my head in relief when I passed them, felt rewarding. It also reminded me just how much we've grown accustomed to things being on the easier side as far as puzzles in games go.
Retroesque Eye Candy
Presentation-wise, the game is everything we remember of classic point-and-click titles and more. Vibrant colors, smooth animations (as far as pixel art goes), and quick and crisp transitions help blend old with new. Character models are varied, and range from simple to quite a bit more detailed with Tick's earliest moments being perhaps the ones offering the least amount of detail.
The audio is also very well done, though perhaps a bit more variety would've been nice. The songs in game are pleasant for a bit before they wear out their welcome, despite their catchiness. I would've turned the audio down after a bit if I wasn't worried it would interfere with future puzzles after finding one that was sound based.
Tick's Tales may not be game of the year material, it may not even make it to the status of a sleeper hit. But what it does, it does right, and in that it provides players with a short ride through the past with comedic twists and turns. The price won't hurt your wallet and at $7.99, you owe it to yourself to at least try it if you're itching for a point and click adventure.
Visually pleasant with vibrant colors and nice details, very challenging puzzles, a good range of comedy
Some puzzles may be a complete turn off, audio wears out its welcome in some spots