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Game Info:

Tick's Tales
Developed by: Digital Bounce House
Published by: Phoenix Online Publishing
Released: June 9, 2016
Available on: Windows, Mac OS X, SteamOS
Genre: Adventure
Number of players: 1
Price: $7.99
(Humble Store Link)

Thank you, Phoenix Online Studios, for sending us a copy of this game to review!

Tick has his heart set on the girl of his dreams, Georgia McGorgeous. In order to win her over, he figures he needs to do something outstanding – like become a knight! So he sets out on a quest to draw the Sword of Blergh from a stone. Will he be able to accomplish this quest?

That's up to you to decide in this debut game from Digital Bounce House. This adventure game is presented in an 8-bit style. You control Tick as he explores his surroundings and collects items in typical adventure game format. The cursor changes color to indicate something he can look at or pick up. He uses a backpack to carry his motley inventory. He has several dialogue options when speaking to others in the game. It's all familiar territory for those experienced with adventure games. 

Tick's Tales is written with a sense of humor, but most of the jokes elicited no more than just a wry smile from me. Although amusing, I've seen funnier. I think part of the problem I had is the way Tick goes about his quest. He's striving to become a knight, but in order to complete the puzzles, he needs to lie, cheat and steal – actions you would not expect from a virtuous knight. In addition, he's never really punished for these actions, nor does he seem to learn to be good. In fact, the only remorse he seems to show in the game is when a knight is to be executed for something Tick did earlier in the game.

Tick's Tales
Highlights:

Strong Points: Slightly amusing story; familiar interface; no crashes
Weak Points: Annoying sound effects; crude graphics; railroad plot
Moral Warnings: Tick must lie, cheat and steal to proceed; one creature explodes; shallow motivations

His quest seemed shallow to me as well. He's trying to become a knight to win the heart of Georgia McGorgeous, but aside from his pining for her, we don't really know if she is the type of girl worth pursuing. What if she has no interest in him in the first place because he has a tendency to make trouble wherever he goes? I had difficulty getting into the game simply because I couldn't agree with Tick's motivations, nor his methods.

The music is done in an 8-bit style and isn't too bad... except for an odd popping sound that occurred at intermittent intervals, for no apparent reason. The sound effects are sub-par, though, and in some cases even annoying (such as the times when Tick is trying to avoid throwing up – which is frequent). There is no voice acting to speak of, and the dialogue is presented through colorful sentences which occasionally obscure parts of the screen. As I mentioned above, the graphics are presented in an 8-bit style, which is a throwback to early adventure games. The close-up cutscenes are rather unimpressive, though. In addition, the screen has an odd tendency to sway, for some reason. Fortunately, it's possible to turn this off in the "options" menu.

Tick's Tales
Score Breakdown:
Higher is better
(10/10 is perfect)

Game Score - 66%
Gameplay - 11/20
Graphics - 6/10
Sound - 6/10
Stability - 5/5
Controls - 5/5

Morality Score - 83%
Violence - 5/10
Language - 10/10
Sexual Content - 10/10
Occult/Supernatural - 8.5/10
Cultural/Moral/Ethical - 8/10

The game also is remarkably short. I completed it in around three hours. Some of the achievements are tricky to obtain, but the puzzles aren't too complicated. The average person should be able to complete the game in three to four hours, including all the achievements. But since there are no alternative endings, and only one way to proceed – sometimes in a fashion that seems more like a railroad plot – there is little reason to go back to the game once it's finished.

I've already mentioned some of the moral considerations. The only other thing I would point out is that one of the creatures does explode into bloody chunks, but the remains do not stay on the screen afterwards. However, there are no foul words or sexual situations in the game, so for the most part it is pretty clean.

Tick's Tales was created by one person, and for a beginning effort it is pretty good. But when compared to the other adventure games on the market, it falls woefully inadequate on many levels. Still, I hope that the developer learns from his missteps and uses the experiences learned from this game to create something greater down the road.

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About Us:

Christ Centered Gamer looks at video games from two view points. We analyze games on a secular level which will break down a game based on its graphics, sound, stability and overall gaming experience. If you’re concerned about the family friendliness of a game, we have a separate moral score which looks at violence, language, sexual content, occult references and other ethical issues.

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