This is a preview of an unfinished version of the game and gives an early impression of how the game will look and play. A free demo is available on Steam. There is no specific release date, but the release is expected this year.
Willy Morgan and the Curse of Bone Town is a point & click adventure game under development by imaginarylab. The story follows the adventures of teenager Willy Morgan who, ten years after his father’s disappearance, receives a letter, sending him on an adventure. There is a mystery to solve and truth to uncover within Bone Town.
The game is set in a mostly modern world but with a lot of pirate-like features. The game’s description aptly summarises this as “pirates and computers”. The game draws some inspiration from other point & click adventures, notably Monkey Island, mixing atmosphere, humour, and non-linear exploration. There are even plenty of Easter eggs to find – even in the demo.
A weird and wacky range of characters met throughout Bone Town gives this game a level of fun and quirkiness. Some characters are more eccentric than others, but each has their own unique personality and motivation.
Point & click adventure games first bloomed back in the 90s with titles from Lucas Arts, such as the Monkey Island franchise and Funcom’s The Longest Journey. There remained a steady release of point & click adventure games, with another surge in the early 2010s. Daedallic Entertainment introduced Edna & Harvey and Deponia as modern examples, among others. The late 2010s saw more point & click adventures coming to console, as ports, or new games like Thimbleweed Park.
An Authentic Point & Click Experience
Willy Morgan and The Curse Curse of Bone Town uses the same style of controls as these games to a much simpler degree. Like most other point & click games, players can complete the story using only a mouse. Players can interact with any object with a left-click and examine with a right-click. Some objects need to be combined with other objects; incorrect combinations result in a response from Willy, sometimes making a joke about certain combinations.
With simpler controls, a mere left-click automatically chooses how Willy attempts to interact with an object. Classic point & click adventure games had a list of verbs that must be clicked first, adding to the complexity of gameplay. Simpler controls make Curse of Bone Town easier to play and more accessible for a wider audience.
A tutorial is offered to players at the start of the game, giving instruction for the first few interactions. However, the instruction for combining objects kicks in upon picking up both parts, mildly spoiling an early puzzle. Fortunately, the first part of the game primarily acts as an introduction to the character and the basics of the game.
To help struggling players progress, there is a function that reveals objects they can interact with. This function is easy to access when needed while difficult to activate by accident. When in Bone Town, there is a map that updates as Willy explores new locations and allows fast travel to these places.
There is a certain trope in adventure games known as Moon Logic Puzzles. Curse of Bone Town does well to avoid falling into the trap of having bad cases of moon logic; there are many puzzles that require lateral thinking, with some entertaining red herring moments, but none have been absurdly convoluted.
Modern and Classic Styles
Visually, the game is surrealistic. Environments use a lot of realistic textures, but many have retained a cartoonish look. There is a slight similarity to visuals you would find in several Tim Burton or Aardman animations. A lot of shapes in scenes have distortions and exaggerations, making them look more surreal.
Characters in the game don’t have textures as realistic as the environments, but they blend in well. They aren’t hard to spot, though they don’t stick out like a sore thumb. NPCs have only a handful of animations each – one which loops out of the conversation. The idle animations are repetitive, but they match well with the mood of the game.
There are only a few objects in various environments with animations. The minimal number of animations prevent scenes from being distracting and allow them to be charming and immersive. The game has an overall unique and refreshing look to it. Immersive scenes create a want to look around thoroughly rather than out of mere necessity. The cutscenes at various parts of the game also look good, and the transitions to and from these cutscenes aren’t distracting or intrusive.
The soundtrack has a lot of fun, original tracks. The buildings and locations Willy visits in Bone Town each have a different tune with a wide variety of moods. Music tracks play continuously, changing when moving to different locations. The wild variety of tunes adds to the surreal theme of the game, juggling mysteriousness and silliness.