Games & Tech

Review: Willy Morgan and the Curse of Bone Town for Switch Is a Somewhat Shaky Adventure

Screenshot: Billy Morgan and the Curse of Bone Town

I wasn’t raised on the LucasArts point and click adventures or their ilk. The genre sort of missed me as a kid. It feels like this is a shame, as a lot of the people I know and love had a wonderful time with things like Day of the Tentacle, The Secret of Monkey Island, Grim Fandango and the like. Still, I don’t have my own pair of rose colored glasses for these games and oftentimes don’t really get a lot of the references or homages that new games in and outside the point and click adventure genre make, and what’s more, having not been introduced to “moon logic” as a kid, in some of the point and click adventures I have played I have found myself pretty frustrated with the concept. Still, it’s something that, as a sucker for sleuthing, I want to explore more, so I was excited to get my hands on Willy Morgan and the Curse of Bone Town for Switch.

One of my colleagues already played through Willy Morgan when it first came out for PC, and ended up finding it sort of “meh.” I wondered, firing up my Switch for the game, if it could charm me into feeling a little more love for it. I think at times it did, but overall, I still found it sort of middle of the road. The story in Willy Morgan and the Curse of Bone Town is okay, but not great. There’s some moments of brilliance, like the addition of “real” pirate lore, and even some interesting twists in the tale, but overall, it feels a little lacking. You’re there to try to figure out the mystery of what happened to your dad, on the 10th anniversary of his disappearance, but at least at first, you don’t have too much of an emotional connection to anyone in the story. Willy’s alone in his house when you start off the game, and remains mostly alone with no real allies throughout, and though you pick up bits about his family here and there as you progress, I wish they’d done a little more to inject some emotion into the tale.

Screenshot: Billy Morgan and the Curse of Bone Town

Then there’s the humor, which again, is okay. Sometimes, it’s pretty funny and sometimes it’s just…there. When you’re in a place called Bone Town, I guess you’re expecting a little more in the comedy department, and while I was hoping it wouldn’t lean into the “bone” junk too much, it didn’t really have that silly humor I feel like I’ve seen in Grim Fandango and their lot. Some of the characters are endearing or sort of weirdly likeable despite themselves, but there’s not a lot of depth to them.

Gameplay is solid, for the most part. I always like it when a Switch port incorporates touch screen controls and Willy Morgan and the Curse of Bone Town used them to good effect, though I tend to play docked the majority of the time and don’t avail myself to this. Still, it’s a great option to have and oftentimes makes the “click around til something works” a little bit more forgiving. That said, you can also hit B to highlight areas of interest, though I did find that there were sometimes things that didn’t highlight that were of importance. 

Screenshot: Billy Morgan and the Curse of Bone Town

I had two major issues in playing Willy Morgan and the Curse of Bone Town on Switch. One happened when I was about two thirds of the way in, when my game hard crashed and I lost what had been about an hour’s progress. This was pretty frustrating, even though in an adventure game, you can catch up that hour’s gameplay in about ten minutes since you’re not spending time figuring out solutions. Also, there was a cutscene that didn’t trigger for me and blocked my progression. Luckily, by that point I’d saved just a few minutes earlier too (something I admit I should’ve done originally) and so I just reverted and got it to trigger the second time. Still, these are the kinds of frustrations that sometimes have people abandoning a game like this.

As Willy Morgan and the Curse of Bone Town progresses, its story deepens and you start to actually feel a little bit more connected to the story. Without spoiling it, as conclusions go, I really wasn’t expecting the ending, which was considerably more adventurous and unusual than much of the game was. In fact, I feel like the last half hour or so of the game was full of a lot of its best stuff, and it left me feeling rather happy with the whole endeavor. Are there better point and click adventure games out there? I’m sure. But whether you’ve grown up on them or not, I think Willy Morgan is a fun romp, and if you save often, might be worth picking up on Switch.

 

Willy Morgan and the Curse of Bone Town is available now on Nintendo Switch

 

 

 

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