After first releasing on Steam around 5 years ago, point and click adventure game, The Hourney Down has finally made it over to console. Does developer Skygoblin have what it takes to make their episodic trilogy a worthy purchase? Let’s find out with our review of Chapter One.
The fictional setting of St Armando is home to our laid back and chilled friend Bwana, along with his sidekick Kito. A Caribbean influence is obvious from not only their accents and Bwana’s dreadlocks, but also the ska and reggae fusion of the musical score that accompanies the game. From the get go, there is a deadly duo in search of a book for a rather unsavoury gentleman calling the shots. Only it happens that their target and his book have vanished into thin air. Here’s where we step into the shoes of Bwana. The hapless pilot who is afraid of heights.
A simple puzzle acts as a sort of tutorial to get the controls familiar with the player, and once the opening scenes have played out, you’re left to explore your surroundings and tend to Lina who is looking for passage to The Underland. Getting there isn’t a long journey by any means, as long as you know what you’re doing of course. And as with any point and click game, the puzzles interlock with each other, as once you find one item, it allows you to instantly progress through the next. It’s just a case of figuring out what goes where. Kind of like a jigsaw puzzle.
Each screen is joined by its own soundtrack, and for the most part, it’s a ska and reggae mix. Two genres that I am personally fond of and would happily listen too all day. So naturally, I cannot fault the game’s musical score. The voice acting was top notch for Bwana and Kito, and they compliment each other well as two friends who are generally up to no good and just want to enjoy their life. As two friends just should.
The iconic Monkey Island series is held in high regard and pretty much set the bar when it comes to point and click adventure games. The Journey Down does a good job at aiming for that bar, and comes pretty close too, with some funny dialogue, a protagonist that you can instantly like, and isn’t some super hero, but more a bumbling fool who hopes for the best. It’s no Monkey Island for sure, but it’s not a long way off either in terms of being able to be a cult classic. The supporting cast, whilst on the small side, is interesting enough to engage with along the way.
One moment I didn’t expect involved a rather aggressive pelican and the end result in dealing with said feathered obstacle wasn’t what I expected. So that left a smirk on my face. The rest of the puzzles can be completed after a bit of trial and error, and are nowhere near as obtuse as Guybrush Threepwood’s escapades. The Journey Down is more accessible in this regard, and you don’t have to worry about choosing a verb before you perform an action either.
In all honesty, there’s not much that I can fault Skygoblin’s effort for aside from some input lag with the controls from time to time, and some drops in frame rate on a couple of screens. Otherwise I wouldn’t have been able to pick up any faults with it. I thoroughly enjoyed assuming control of Bwana and embarking on a journey into the unknown with Kito and Lina in search of the Journal of the Journey Down. There’s some shady goings on, and some unscrupulous individuals to deal with. Crime and corruption is rife, of that I’m certain. Once the following Chapters have released, I shall return to review them.
With the following two Chapters yet to be released, the achievement hunting community will most certainly be happy to know that each of the game’s three chapters will offer up a mighty 1000 Gamerscore. As they have been considered separate games, and this will no doubt make many achievement hunters rather happy.
The Journey Down Chapter One is a funny and engaging romp with Bwana. Not your usual hero, but an ordinary guy who ends up in the wrong place at the wrong time. Funny dialogue, puzzles that are just the right difficulty, and some good artwork to boot. Just a shame about a couple of issues present. If you like he genre, go make that purchase and support a talented developer.
Overall Score 9/10
Release Date: 1st June 2018
File Size: 1.94GB
Xbox One copy provided for review purpose.