Haven’t we all frequently wondered what our cats would say if they could talk? How contemptuously they would judge us, their human ‘overlords?’ Exactly how quickly would they assert their dominion* over us? What are their thoughts on Eldritch horrors? Are they REALLY plotting to kill us?
Gibbous A Cthulhu Adventure deftly answers what is truly a question for the ages.
Developed by Transylvania-based developers (let’s just take a moment to appreciate that fact) Stuck In Attic, Gibbous A Cthulhu Adventure is set in the eponymous Darkham, a Lovecraftian world with a Transylvanian twist.
Gibbous A Cthulhu AdventureReview
Cultists are gathering, as cultists are wont to do. Detective Don R. Ketype (yes, really) has been hired to search for the fabled Necronomicon. He encounters librarian Buzz Kerwan who subsequently ends up with the tome.
He promptly, and inadvertently, uses it to ‘humanise’ his aptly-named Kitteh, who is understandably pissed about the indignity of the whole situation, and isn’t afraid to let Buzz know.
After all, vivid linguists such as talking cats can paint a portrait of their outrage as effortlessly as Rembrandt.
I would like, if I may, to take you on a strange journey
I have to confess that I’m a huge point and click adventure fan. Space Quest, Quest for Glory, Monkey Island, Day of the Tentacle; these classics were my first gaming loves.
I lived, breathed and wrote fan-fiction of dubious quality about them.
And so it is with some apprehension that I approach modern-day point and click adventures. That was certainly true of my attitude when I sat down to play Gibbous A Cthulhu Adventure.
To my delight, I was laughing out loud—and when I say ‘loud’, I’m not messing around—within minutes.
The game is touted as a comedy of cosmic horror, born of the developers’ love of campy adventure games and Lovecraftian Cthulhu Mythos. Ambitious as combining the two may seem, the writing in Gibbous A Cthulhu Adventure is utterly delightful.
An enchanting mixture of old-school adventure wit and whimsy is baked into each interaction, whether it’s with an inanimate object such as the popular book section of a library, or the ever-salty Kitteh, or a creepy little girl with a bizarre fish plushie obsession.
About as fearsome as a doorstop
It’s also remarkably plentiful.
This can be a problem if you’re the sort of player who has a pressing need for novelty, for changes of scenery and progression through a game. I can become impatient myself, hurrying through dialogue and exposition, and far too often missing information that is crucial to the progress I so very covet.
It’s a very different kettle of fish in this game, though.
My progression was quite slow—unnecessarily slow, in fact. However, that’s because I was having such a whale of a time with literally each and every interaction in the game that I absolutely HAD to explore each one to their fullest extent.
There’s just so much content for each one, with sly references to the old classics. And, as the game advises you with its cheeky charm that is both meta and fourth-wall-shattering, “sometimes examining items several times really pays off”.
On a completely unrelated note, I’m dead keen to read The Zesty Zealot. If there’s not an explosion of Daniel Maroon Vatican-themed mystery fan-fiction as a result of this game, I’ll eat my, er, fish.
Jokes about Cthulhu are R’lyeh unnecessary
Gibbous A Cthulhu Adventure takes its cues from the classics and plays like many of its predecessors. The controls have been streamlined somewhat, and for each item interaction, players can choose to look, perform an action (which may be to use, take, open, etc.), or to send Kitteh to interact with it if she’s present.
Players are presented with a list of dialogue options to choose from during conversations with the weird and wonderful denizens of Darkham.
It’s all very simple to use, which is great for reducing decision fatigue in a game like this, where you may feel overwhelmed by trying to work out where to go and which items to use on what.
Also reducing this feeling is the option to ask Kitteh for a helpful hint, assuming you’re not above asking for help.
I for one smashed that option.
She’ll imbue you with some helpful—but not too specific—advice. That said, whilst the puzzles really make you think, I never found them too difficult to solve, nor the time it took to solve them frustrating.
Wake up sheeple!
Though Lovecraftian stories are traditionally set in New England, the developers at Stuck In Attic have put a Transylvanian spin on the settings of Gibbous A Cthulhu Adventure. This means using creepified versions of landmarks from their home town of Targu Mures.
The artwork is gorgeous, and the combination of Transylvania and Lovecraft really works beautifully. Likewise, the soundtrack has an enigmatic air to it, adding to what is a potent distillery of unearthly ambiance.
It’s a bold choice to take on Lovecraftian themes and inject levity into them, particularly as HP Lovecraft was known to hold some seriously bigoted views. The developers at Stuck In Attic have very consciously tackled this problem head-on, creating a diverse and endearing cast of characters to wrench the focus from the monsters in Lovecraftian narratives and to settle it firmly on the characters.
And of course, with the spotlight on the positive elements rather than the evil, the comedy is given all the more room to move and work its magic.
Fittingly, the humour of Gibbous A Cthulhu Adventure is given wings by its stellar voice acting. From Don R. Ketype’s spoof on noir detective monotones, to the shrill, barely sane tones of a particular little girl, through to the snarkiness of Kitteh, the already side-splitting dialogue is elevated to new heights of hilarity.
I haven’t shouted, cheered, or laughed this much at a point and click adventure in a very, very long time.
Gibbous A Cthulhu Adventure is a game carefully and lovingly designed to evoke these reactions as often as possible, and it certainly achieved that in my case. If you’ve been hankering for an adventure with some LucasArts-esque humour, this is a must-play.
Gibbous A Cthulhu Adventure was reviewed on PC using a digital code provided by Stuck In Attic.
*Of course, being cats, ‘dominion’ could refer to anything from obediently giving them food and scritches through to worshipping them as Elder Gods lest they rain madness and despair upon you and your loved ones. Your mileage may vary.
Game Title: Gibbous A Cthulhu Adventure
Game Description: A Lovecraftian point and click adventure with a Transylvanian twist involving Cthulhu, fish, voodoo, and a talking cat.