By Lord Badger
Ahhh the good old “point and click” puzzle game! just the mention of that genre brings back floods of nostalgia. My mind instantly filled with Monkey Island, Broken Sword and, of course, my all-time favourite…Discworld. Now I can add Lord Winklebottom Investigates to that list.
The brainchild of Sheffiled-based one-woman developer Charlotte Sutherland aka Cave Monsters. Her portfolio of previous works consists of AAA titles such as Little Big Planet 3, SEGA All-Stars Racing Transformed and multiple entries in the Lego franchise.
So what exactly happens when you take an accomplished AAA indie dev and let her creativity run wild? Well, you get a master detective giraffe in a suit of course!
Now it is incredibly unfair of me to reduce Lord Winklebottom Investigates to a “master detective giraffe in a suit” it is so much more. Quintessentially English in both its characters and its humour. Every character is fully voiced and are just so bloody good it is hard to pick a favourite. The giraffe detective? The sealion vicar? maybe the goat maid? Personally, I have strong leanings toward the grumpy and quite sarcastic hippo doctor sidekick.
So just what is Lord Winklebottom Investigates all about? Apart from anthropomorphised animals obviously.
It’s the 1920s and the world’s foremost giraffe detective is about to embark on his most challenging case yet. A mysterious invitation to an isolated island results in a grisly murder and a race against time to track down the killer. Thankfully, in this world that’s not quite like our own, there’s nobody better to crack the case than the great detective and gentleman giraffe, Lord Winklebottom.
Join Lord Winklebottom and his steadfast companion Dr Frumple as they investigate the murder of their old friend. Uncover clues, interview suspects and solve puzzles to crack the case, capture the killer and uncover the horrifying dark secret at the heart of the Isle of Barghest!
One of the many aspects of genius to Lord Winklebottom Investigates is the fact it provides you with a simple, yet classic, whodunnit scenario and just allows the narrative to unfold almost organically.
I don’t think there is really much I can say about the graphics that they don’t already say for themselves. I mean just look at the screenshots and trailer in this review! Each scene is hand drawn and looks sublime. The artwork sucks you into the world of Lord Winklebottom and ensnares you there.
I’m not even being hyperbolic right now. I would love to have a giant oil-painted portrait of Dr Frumple hanging on my wall! It would be one of my most prized possessions. I can’t begin to imagine how many hours of gone into hand drawing each and every scene but by Nimah, it was worth it.
Lord Winklebottom Investigates doesn’t feature graphics it has pure, undeniable art!
By now you have probably figured out that I am completely in love with Lord Winklebottom Investigates. In all honesty, I have been since I first came across it at EGX 2019. It might look great but how does it play I hear you scream. In a word…infuriating.
The highest praise any aficionado of point and click games can give is the term “Lucas Arts-Esque puzzles” and that term certainly applies to Lord Winklebottom Investigates. I often bounce between feelings of “How did it take me so long to figure that out” to screams of “Why would anyone ever think of putting that there!”
These outbursts generally come from me being stuck and random clicking things in my inventory to see if they fit together. Usually followed by some sarcastic or withering put down from Lord Winklebottom himself.
The genius of the puzzles pairs beautifully with the wonderful narrative to create a truly fantastic game.
It would be so easy to dismiss Lord Winklebottom Investigates as a Sherlock Holmes clone but it is so much more than that. The hand-drawn graphics, the wonderful British humour, absurd jokes, and ridiculous puns are all wrapped up in a wonderful narrative.
Lord Winklebottom Investigates truly belongs with the point-and-click greats I mentioned at the beginning of this review. It is the perfect example of a point-and-click game, And it is made by a single dev!!!!!
Yes, it can get annoying at times when you can’t figure out what to do. But that is the joy of the genre. If you are a fan of point-and-click games or haven’t played one in a fair while, or heck if you are a gamer…Lord Winklebottom Investigates belongs in your library.
Final Score 9/10
Lord Winklebottom Investigates is available now on PC (including Mac and Linux) via Steam, Nintendo Switch, Xbox One, and Xbox Series X|S for £15.99/$18.99/€18,99.
Lord Winklebottom Investigates is everything you remember a great Point and Click being…and then some!
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