When I was a kid, if I wasn’t playing some sort of first-person shooter, I was playing point and click adventure games. These games, at the time, were some of the best storytelling—and one of the only ways to get humor in with gameplay. These point and click adventure games have certainly evolved better user experiences over the years—reducing entire huge context menus to a few meaningful actions—but as much as they’ve changed, they’ve stayed the same. It’s hard to beat the Sierra and LucasArts classics—and I always appreciate a good homage.
Gibbous: A Cthulhu Adventure feels like an homage to earlier LucasArts adventure titles. It’s a lighthearted take on the Cthulhu mythos—a world hopping romp where you’ll try to take down a group of cultists to prevent them from summoning dark elder gods. You play as private eye, Don R. Ketype (ha) who is hired to find the Necronomicon—a mythical book of the dead. During the course of his investigation, he’ll run into librarian Buzz Kerwan—laid back guy, and cat owner. After the cultists kidnap Ketype, Kerwan unwittingly stumbles across the Necronomicon himself—and after reading a few passages, bestows human-like qualities on his cat, Kitteh—including the ability to speak. She’s not too happy about it, so Kerwan goes on a quest to change his cat back, and save Ketype while he’s at it—and maybe even the world.
Kerwan quickly finds himself in over his head—so he has to consult with experts on how to deal with this Necronomicon, and how to get his cat to stop talking. Kitteh isn’t too happy about her newfound humanness either, and will generally tell you so. I love the dynamic between Kerwan and “his” cat Kitteh. One of the options in Kerwan’s context menu is the ability to “use” Kitteh to interact with objects. Most of the time she’ll object with some smarmy comment—but sometimes she can be pretty useful, squeezing into tight spots, and getting high up objects that are out of reach. But as much as I loved Kerwan and Kitteh, they are not nearly as funny as walking cliché Don R. Ketype.
In Gibbous: A Cthulhu Adventure you’ll regularly switch between the two main characters: Kerwan and Keytpe. Private dick Don R. Ketype is every gumshoe cliché you can imagine hardboiled into a single, somewhat doofusy detective. Don R. Ketype could have easily been a character from a LucasArts game, with observations that can’t help but make me think of Sam from the Sam N’ Max series. Ketype is just one of a list of interesting faces you’ll run into while attempting to save the world.
Gibbous: A Cthulhu Adventure is full of locations to explore—and locals to meet. The characters are some of the best parts of Gibbous, and are usually satirical takes on the types you’d find within a Lovecraft-mythos inspired setting. There are the mystics, cultists, and warrior academics—but all of these tropes have been plucked from the pages of Lovecraft and put through a sort of Lucasarts-ification machine to make them fit the tone of a whimsical adventure romp. And I never thought I’d be saying this, but developer Stuck in Attic really managed to find the funny in mysticism and dark sleeping gods.
Like any other point and click adventure game, you interact with the world using a context menu. Buzz Kerwan can observe objects, use objects, or send in Kitteh to snark or snatch. Don R. Ketype can only observe and use—but later he gains mystical abilities that allow him to glean information from certain items by seeing into the past.
Some adventure games require you to lug around an extensive inventory, tasking you to try different item combinations until you get just the right one. Gibbous: A Cthulhu Adventure doesn’t overwhelm you with items, thankfully. It also sparingly uses the off-the-wall moon logic solutions you might find in earlier LucasArts adventure games—though it’s still there to an extent, especially in some of the sequences where you play as Don R. Ketype.
Gibbous: A Cthulhu Adventure is a fun romp, but it does have some pretty difficult sections. One puzzle in particular had me stumped for quite a while—while others required me to go back to characters that, I thought, had no more dialogue options for me. There was at least one moment I could have kicked myself for not going back and talking to a certain character sooner—instead of wasting time trying the same items on the same few objects, something I can really only blame myself for.
I may have missed it during its original release, but Gibbous: A Cthulhu Adventure is playable on Switch. If you’re playing portably, you can use the Switch’s touchscreen to select objects you can interact with, making interacting with it similar to a mobile game. This is a great control scheme. Not so great is using the Joy-Cons or a Pro controller to play. I usually hate navigating a cursor around a screen with a joystick—or in this case, a thumbstick—and Gibbous: A Cthulhu Adventure’s implementation isn’t the best. There’s no option to adjust thumbstick sensitivity, and I found it hard on occasion to get the cursor exactly where I wanted it. There’s the option to use the right thumbstick to snap to hotspots, but then you’re stuck tediously scrolling through the objects on screen.
Gibbous: A Cthulhu Adventure is a great fit for the Switch, and it’s a great fit for anyone who loves point and click adventure. It aspires to the lofty greatness of a classic LucasArts title, and it manages to emulate the same feeling to an extent, while making its own mark on the genre. If you’re looking for a new game for Nintendo Switch, or missed this when it released on PC last year, I recommend checking this out.
Gibbous: A Cthulhu Adventure releases October 28th on Nintendo Switch.
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