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Capsule Review: Sticks and Bones

A short dialog-free comedic adventure that’s apparently intended to serve as a prequel to a fuller game later on. You play as a skeletal pirate seeking a great treasure who must deal with various setbacks, obstacles, and enemies along the way.

Over the game’s short run time (my playthrough was about forty minutes) it flirts briefly with many different minigame-like interaction methods. It starts a bit like a point-and-click adventure game with a small space to explore and some limited inventory-puzzle-like action, but doesn’t open out to anything larger or less linear. Instead, it quickly becomes more like a semi-interactive cartoon, where you watch the characters do things and occasionally respond to a QTE-like prompt or do a short and simple minigame to proceed.

The game’s appeal thus comes almost completely from its humor - and the lack of dialog means that this humor is reliant on visual jokes and visual storytelling. Unfortunately, that means if the visual storytelling fails, the entire game falls flat - and that’s what happened for me. There were a few moments where a visual gag worked well for me, but I spent most of my time confused about why the characters were doing what they were doing instead of laughing at it. Their relationships and motivations were often unclear to me and I was left bored rather than amused.

Other people have apparently had an easier time understanding what’s going on and thus found the game quite funny. It’s unclear to me whether this is from cultural or personal differences so I unfortunately have no suggestions for determining whether the jokes will work for you. If they don’t, there’s nothing else here.

I Stopped Playing When: I finished the game.

Docprof's Rating:

One Star: Not for me. While there might be someone out there who'd enjoy this game, I was actively repulsed by it or just found nothing to latch on to.

You can get it or learn more here.