Wednesday, February 8, 2012

2011 Games of the Year #4 - Jolly Rover

There was no way I could've predicted this game making the top five list at the beginning of the year. There was also no way I could've predicted this game making my top five when I actually started playing the game. Jolly Rover wasn't striking off the bat, and it wasn't a particularly long, or challenging, or immersive game. And yet, all those aspects seemed to work together just fine to create a perfectly enjoyable game.

Jolly Rover is a point-and-click adventure game, like the old King's Quest and Police Quest games. Your character is a poor, scrawny little pirate dog, so you can't use brute force or high tech gadgets to accomplish your goals. You have to use your wits, your instincts, and the occasional input from your chirpy little parrot, who gives you clues if you give him a cracker.

Anyways, you move through your mission...quest...thing, meeting characters, getting bullied, and making funny asides. The puzzles are fairly interesting, and the jokes are actually quite witty. As I said, the game isn't an epic, but that actually works in its favor. The humor might run thin over a 14-hour game, but for just a few hours, it stays fresh and fun.

The one half-complaint I have about the game is that you can't lose. I don't mean that you have to start over if you fail; I mean that you literally aren't allowed to do anything that would cost you the game. In this regard, Jolly Rover is more of a cinematic experience than a game. But you definitely don't feel like you're not part of the adventure.

The best thing I can say about Jolly Rover is that it reminded me how much fun I used to have playing point-and-click adventure games. It was a fun, quick experience that I'm glad to have had.

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