The Adventures of Bertram Fiddle: Episode 1: A Dreadly Business Review

The Advetures of Bertram Fiddle, developed by Rumpus Animation and published by Chorus Worldwide Games, came to the Nintendo Switch E-Shop March 29th 2018. Taking up 989 MB of data, this wacky point and click adventure puzzle game will make a fan of anyone with an affinity for the strange and quirky.

The game follows, as you may have figured out from the title, the adventures of Bertram Fiddle, an aspiring adventurer and explorer and his sidekick Gavin the Cyclops. This instalment acts as mostly set up for the overarching plot of the series, that being the hunt for Geoff the Murderer, who mistakes Fiddle’s dog Floofy’s cage for his own at the beginning, leaving the protagonists with a cage with a woman’s decapitated head in it. The rest of the instalment involves you looking for leads as to where your dog could be, encountering characters such as Sherlock Holmes and Doctor Watson who provide clues as to where to head next, using items around you to reach the next stage of your hunt. The plot can sometimes feel a bit dragged out when you have to go through multiple side-quests to achieve your goal, however you are introduced to a plethora of interesting characters, who I hope reappear in later instalments. My favourite being that of the enigmatic Count Fudgemuckle, who has as murky interests as his name suggests. The plot is also scattered with a plethora of pop culture references which are fun little additions as you play through the main story.

The presentation of this game can only be described as quirky. From the art style, to the music to the dialogue, everything in this game is just a bit weird and unsettling. The art style is interesting, seeming intentionally crude creating the atmosphere of Victorian London, but in an uncanny way. My one complaint about the setting design is in the areas such as houses or other indoor areas, there is a lot of clutter which is seemingly indistinguishable from key items which can sometimes leave you getting stuck if you don’t realise what may seem like just a wall prop is something more important. The character designs are fun and well thought, integrating well into the surroundings, with enough variety between them that you have a colourful cast for your mystery solving.

The voice acting, though quirky can become quite grating when played for long periods of time, especially Bertram. The music does very well in creating the atmosphere of mystery and freakishness, feeling very eerie, especially in the adventurers club which for some reason was especially creepy.

The gameplay consists of point and click to interact with the world around Bertram and to progress through the story by finding clues or useful items that you can use to aid your investigation. You can play utilising both gameplay styles the switch offers; the joycon, or the touch screen, which I preferred as it meant getting an instant result rather than having to clumsily guiding the marker over the screen. You can interact with most things you think you can, with Bertram usually offering a commentary on certain items, such as paintings. Gavin is also used effectively as the muscle of the duo, using him to move heavy objects or bend metal bars out of the way to create a path. With certain key items, Bertram will add them to his inventory on the left of the screen which you can then use to complete objectives, sometimes having to put two items together to make something new. There are also 3 side scrolling arcade levels in the game, which usually act as transitions between major settings or acts in the narrative structure, however they aren’t too difficult. One of the main tasks of the levels is to find all of the missing pieces of the decapitated head in hopes of finding a clue to Geoff the Murderer’s where abouts, these pieces aren’t too hard to find as they are usually picked up through just playing through the story.

In conclusion, The Adventures of Bertram Fiddle: Episode 1: A Dreadly Business is a great opening episode to a quirky franchise which has come the Nintendo EShop, doing a great job at setting up the world and the characters for later instalments.

REVIEW CODE: A complimentary Nintendo Switch code was provided to Bonus Stage for this review. Please send all review code enquiries to editor@bonusstage.co.uk.

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