Gibbous – A Cthulhu Adventure – Steam/PC

With the list of the best point and click adventure games from the past completed last week {check that out over here} It’s time to knuckle down and get to grips with the slimy tentacles and mysterious adventure game that is Gibbous – A Cthulhu Adventure. H. P. Lovecraft’s work is the perfect subject matter for an adventure game with the monstrous horrors being a go-to or inspiration for many dark mysteries and adventure titles. Previously a kick-started project with a goal of being a spiritual successor to some real classics, all eyes are focused and does Gibbous pull off the spell of a lifetime for immortality or was it best off left sleeping deep in the ocean?

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The most important thing you need to know about Gibbous isn’t that it’s a point and click adventure, it’s that there is a talking sassy black cat. The fact that for 80% of the game you don’t actually play as her is an incredible misstep, she’s merely a companion for one of the most irritating characters in an adventure game to-date, used as an item you have with you and it really doesn’t really do Gibbous any favours. What does help the experience is starting the adventure as a gruff detective fantastically called Detective Don R. Ketype. It feels like a brilliant Discworld Noir styled adventure with some brilliant humor and writing that mixes subtle laughs with an inherent darkness. There are incredibly well crafted animated cutscenes and elaborate environments and it really is off to a great start, right up until you’re switched to Buzz.

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Buzz is the main character for Gibbous and when you first interact with him as Don I remember stating, “wow I’m loving this so far but man this character is annoying, I hope he’s not the guy from the title artwork” He’s the frustratingly always hyper wannabe youtuber that you could easily see screaming, “yo smash that like button and check out my site CSGOLOTTO!” When you get to the brilliant cat and find out he named her Kitteh it doesn’t make him even slightly endearing. It makes him a bloody idiot. One of his early puzzles revolves around not wanting to open an oven door. The strange thing about Gibbous is that despite how frustrating and annoying Buzz as a character is, the game itself is brilliant and it’s largely the work and polish that covers for him.

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If you’ve ever played a point and click adventure game you know what to expect from Gibbous. Click on everything, collect every item you can, interact with everything within sight and speak every line of dialogue available to you. While you’re there try to combine every item you have and if stuck click that item on everything else. Gibbous wears its inspirations on its sleeve with occasional in-jokes from various other titles (it wouldn’t be an adventure game now without a 3 headed monkey reference) What sets it apart is a fantastic feature where you can press the space key at any time and the game will show you what is interactive on screen from what isn’t. This cuts down on endless clicking to figure out the slightly more obtuse puzzles and helps the flow of the game nicely.

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The difficulty can be a little hit and miss throughout Gibbous. Clicking, finding items and figuring out the logic to use them was simple and enjoyable enough. The problem lies with the room specific puzzles you’ll occasionally come across. Some are fairly self explanatory with buttons on a panel to change the environment around you but some are just a little too twisted with one particular Latin based puzzle incredibly frustrating. As Buzz you can ask Kitteh for help figuring out puzzles and as Don you can check your notepad that slowly gets updated the more you try to solve anything. It does lend itself to a nice hints system that doesn’t feel like it’s hand holding too much but the problem is that occasionally there will be a red herring and you’ll have to spend time navigating around that to figure out a solution and progress.

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If you hadn’t figured this yet from the screenshots, visually Gibbous is simply gorgeous. There are some beautiful backgrounds and moments to see here. The text and subtitles are easy to read. All of the choices are easy to make as the controls are easy to use and moving around is easy to navigate. The cutscenes have a very Discworld 2 feel and the animations for all of the characters is simply terrific. The music and effects work that has gone into setting the scenes is dark and gritty fitting the tones brilliantly. Voice-work for the majority of the cast is memorable for the most part and there’s an impressive amount of it with every line of dialogue voiced but I can’t help but find Buzz’s voice and acting really irritating. His lines don’t do him any favours either with a moment of male chauvinism that thankfully does get rectified in the next scene but doesn’t make the sting any less painful. I’m sure the voice actor is a great guy but there was only one beautifully performed and welcomed Monkey Island style surprise rap battle towards the end that redeemed him even slightly.

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You’re also in for a wobbly tone throughout the story with Gibbous. It does for the most part successfully tell what is a dark, horrific and gruesome tale with a lightness that just about works. There are aspects of the story that are surprising and towards the end of the game there’s a noticeable shift from a lighthearted nostalgia trip to a serious mystery that surprisingly works in its favour. The story is worth a play through to see the ending but I implore you to watch until after the credits roll. I know I was ready to completely write off the entire game as it felt like it was pushing for a sequel over a satisfying ending but it did pull it off with a post-credits scene. There are a few cringe-worthy self nods and jokes that don’t land but these are just blips in what is a well crafted tale.

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I really do recommend you give Gibbous a go. There are a few issues with the main character being far too stupid and goody goody to be likable but the supporting cast is more than strong enough to make the experience worth while. With making a game that takes the spirit from old adventure games the problems do follow along with some dialogue being pointless, a few frustrating puzzles and the occasional unsubtle annoying “please give this a sequel” moments. These are all niggly problems with a story that has more funny, brilliant and wondrous moments than anything else. Detective Ketype, Kitteh and the supporting cast are worth the experience alone. If you want an adventure that will surprise you than it’s a great time, as long as you can look pass the name Kitteh.

7/10 – He’s not he Messiah! He’s a very squishy boy.

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*Code provided by Player Two PR check them out here and Gibbous – A Cthulhu Adventure is available right now on Steam – here and GOG – here*


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