Well shiver me timbers, if it ain’t another point and click pirate adventure, aarrgg me hearties. But ho! What’s this me hearties? Dogs? Dogs playing pirates, that can’t be right. Ye must have been in the sun for far to long, or been at ye rum again. No, lads, look them dogs be portraying us better than.. well… us, and in an adventure game that children can play to boot. Avast and stand ye ground ye scurvy er… Dog. Prepare to buckle my swash and slit ye gizzards.
Oh for goodness sake, that’s about all I can handle for pirate-isms, (ye lily livered dog..) Okay, down to business. Jolly Rover is a 2D point and click adventure game from Australian indie game developer Brawsome where you play Gaius James Rover, a gallant yet not-too-brave sausage dog, who takes on a shipment of rum for delivery to the Governor of Groggy Island, Guy DeSilver. Unfortunately, en-route with the potent stuff poor Gaius is captured by a band of swarthy sea dogs (arrggg, ye filthy caster of jokes ye) and forced into the brig. This is where you start the epic adventure of James Rover (he’s dropped the Gaius bit. Not manly, or dogly? enough), guiding him through thick and thin and the ups and downs of life aboard a pirate ship (arrggg ye did it again, it’ll be the plank for you me lad)
Jolly Rover boasts over sixty beautifully rendered scenes to explore, from the pirate ship to various islands containing cannibals, buried treasure in dank caverns and plenty of rum. I was quite impressed by the huge amount of interaction within each scene, for example, objects labelled in blue have yet to be inspected, whereas objects labelled in white have already been looked at. Each object has a particular reference, and whilst they may not be specific to the quest, James has something to say about each and every object he encounters. A lot of the objects encountered can be utilised and stored in the inventory, where in true adventure fashion, they can be combined to greater effect and used in a specific way. The twenty five colourful characters you get to chat to are suitably created and those that are pirates certainly fit into their mould with some very good voice acting. One of the main characters you get to speak to most of the time is a very helpful parrot called, Juan Leon. After rescuing him from the pirate ship, he sits on your shoulder and, in rare moments of clarity, can offer advice when you’re stuck on a puzzle, albeit rather flaky advice at best. He spends most of the time ranting about hatches and insulting the world around him. Throughout the game you will run into some cache’s of crackers, not the weevil infested kind the dirty sea dogs eat (arrgg, mind ye manners) but rather a cleaner biscuit, feed one of these to Juan and he’ll cough up a slightly better explanatory version of his brand of help.
The puzzles are fairly basic, but they can be fun and you don’t have to travel through too many scenes to find the objects and solutions needed, like some other adventures. They usually follow a kind of ingredient list of mini-objectives to the completion of the quest, such as the ‘Escape the Pirate Ship Quest’, but to do that you follow the handy current mini-objective on the top of the screen to first get out of the brig. It’s quite a nice way of doing things as it stops you from roaming around for too long and getting hopelessly lost. A good addition to the puzzle solving is a bizarre Voodoo spell casting mini-game. Making James recite the syllables of certain spells can allow you to complete some of the later puzzles, escaping from a desert island by casting a calling-all-beasts spell, tying up a sea turtle and then casting the repel-all-beasts spell. Thankfully, you have what’s called the Voodoo cheat sheet, which remembers the spells when you cast them so you only have to click the symbols on page in the correct order.
The graphics are nicely drawn, in terms of the aforementioned scenes, but the characters are also very colourful and are animated in a fun, cartoon-like fashion. The music is a jaunty little sea shanty number which fits very nicely, as do the various sound effects and very well directed and scripted voice actors. The interface is easy to get into and doesn’t require too much of a tutorial to get the hang of, although there is one, of sorts, to start with.
Overall, it’s an okay game. It won’t steer the hardcore adventures away from the likes of the Broken Sword games, but it’s ideal for children from about nine upwards. The puzzles are easy enough for them to explore and the content, although the game mentions drinking rum or smoking a pipe, isn’t too harmful for young eyes and ears. A nice game from the old days of Sierra or Lucas Arts stables.
REVIEW CODE: A complimentary code was provided to Bonus Stage for this review. Please send all review code enquiries to email@example.com.
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