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Bayou Island

Bayou Island


Developer: Andy Howard Games The title screen.The title screen.
Released: 2017.02.28
Genre: Mystery / Comedy
Graphics: Cartoon / 2D
Perspective: Third person
Gameplay: Point-and-Click









When a captain of a ship finds himself on a beach without his ship or his wife in sight, not sure whether he is alive or dead, something strange has happened. The place is Bayou Island and some mysterious events are afoot there.

It is no shame to admit where one's roots are. In the game Bayou Island, it is clear where the developer is coming from. When X marks the spot in the opening screen right next to a bar, which is right next to a Day of the Dead store, it doesn't take a mind reader to realise that the developer has played a LucasArts game or two in his past. As always, it's a great thing to see that rather than trying to make an obvious copy of something that has been created before, these elements are only used as a source of inspiration and a target of an homage, and the content itself is unique.

Solving difficult questions.Solving difficult questions.
The point of the story is obviously trying to find out just what happened, and get the things that you, as captain Chris the protagonist, have lost. There are some comedic elements added to the whole thing, and that's about it. The game is very straightforward, you point and you click, there are no deaths, there is only one save slot available, there is a hotspot indicator button, there is very little backtracking to previous locations. The game isn't very long, but for its while, it keeps the player engaged.

While there aren't that many locations to explore, around 10 altogether, they are all charming and funny and keep the feeling right where it's supposed to be. There's the opening scene on the beach, there is the Day of the Dead store, strange graveyard, warehouse, and two bars. It really wouldn't be a comedic adventure game without bars. Most places are very clear to play through, although there is one challenging puzzle near to the end where the hint is given only once, and it can't be repeated.

There are some logical pitfalls here and there, but nothing out of the ordinary in the adventure genre. For instance, the protagonist has no problems stealing everything that is not bolted down, but he can't use a phone that is not his. Even though it's more or less a public phone, as it's in one of the bars. Also some actions are not thoroughly motivated. In the very first scene, the protagonist has to develop a multi-stage plan to get past the bouncer in the bar, but it is never really revealed why it is so important to get into that bar, until you actually get into that bar.

Visiting tourist attractions.Visiting tourist attractions.
Graphics of the game are probably its most unique feature. Most of the backgrounds are using pastel colours to some extent, and the overall style is naivistic cartoon. It makes the entire experience to feel well-crafted, although a character or two are probably too much on the cartoon side and too little on the naivistic side and stand out from the rest of the environment. Animations are a bit clumsy and jerky, and could have used some more polish to them, but they do their job nonetheless.

The same quality and thoroughness is not present in the audio. While the protagonist voiceover is decent enough, although a bit lazy and emotionless, some other characters are voiced badly. Whether it's intentional or not can only be guessed, but each and every character has a different kind of accent, so it's impossible to say where exactly this adventure is supposed to take place. The bigger problem is that some of the voices simply do not convey the feeling required by the situation. This is somewhat breaking the immersion, but it is what it is, and ultimately doesn't ruin the experience.

Overall Bayou Island is a nice little adventure game that provides some good moments and a few occasional smiles. There is a surprising variety of puzzles in it, including conversation puzzles and inventory puzzles which you would not necessarily expect, at least considering that the game is leaning towards casual gaming. There are aspects of the game that could have been done better for sure, maybe the package might have been better with no voiceovers, but the bottom line is that the game feels nice for its entire length and it is fun to play. The developer clearly has the basic things and groundwork well covered, so adding some more depth to the content and more polish on the technical side for future titles might be a recipe for good games to come.

The door is locked.The door is locked.



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