Switch version tested
Review code provided
The Mystery of Woolley Mountain is a loving nod to a time when the LucasArts point and click adventure was king of the monitor. The idea was the brainchild of London based developers Lightfoot Bros and after a successful Kickstarter campaign became a reality releasing on both Nintendo Switch and the Steam platform. Let’s unravel this mystery in true Scooby-Doo style and find out what it’s all about.
The game follows a mismatched group of time jumping oddballs, The Helmholtz Resonators, on an epic journey to Woolley Mountain and back again in a bid to save some children who have been captured by a wicked witch. It’s a little like the story told by the master Tolkien in his Lord of the Ring saga just with a lot less walking, seriously though even the trees walked in those movies. Naturally, the titular mountain is filled with horrible creatures that will do anything to keep you from reaching the prize and I’m not just talking about the kids.
In the visual department, the game has been given a bright and colourful aesthetic that adds a cartoon-like charm which is not too dissimilar when compared to the likes of South Park. The animation is slightly clunky but that’s the idea and it serves a purpose. Woolley Mountain plays out over the course of three main acts that are segmented with short intervals delving a little deeper into the storyline via cutscenes. The whole experience can be finished in anything upwards of 7 hours depending on whether or not you can get your head around some of the, at times illogical, puzzles.
In usual fashion, the first act serves as a means to introduce the motley crew in a somewhat light-hearted tone as you piece together the gameplay mechanics. Mission one, get that damn crew back together and repair their broken submarine to enable transportation onwards. Controls are best suited to the touch screen as the tiny sticks of the Switch don’t really lend themselves well to the pinpoint accuracy required. While there’s nothing new from a gameplay point of view its fine as why would you re-invent a tried and tested formula. The key to any point and click adventure worth its salt is in the story and the player’s ability to decipher a plethora of seemingly useless information whilst frantically searching high and low to collect anything that might come in handy.
The game is fully voice acted and as you talk to NPCs a number of text choices can be made to dig deeper into the conversation or ask for specific items. Hitting Y opens a simple inventory system, combining the weird and wonderful haul is always worth a try in order to move forward. Some of the puzzle solutions are a little out there with NPC’s reverting to the well-known loop sequence until you crack it. There are plenty of walkthroughs online if you really get stuck but for a first run I’d always advise against peeking because wheres the fun in that. Having said that some of the puzzles are so obtuse that you may just need a look.
If you are a fan of retro Woolley Mountain offers some really cool nods to gamings history, including a playable ZX Spectrum and a couple of rare games amongst a collection held by a man made of rope. Yep, you think a man made out of rope is bizarre well just keep playing until the end because Woolley Mountain is home to a whole heap of mind-boggling characters.
The Mystery of Woolley Mountain is an enjoyable story-driven experience, visuals do the job as does the voice acting. The soundtrack is easily the shining star of the package and if you can get over some of the absolutely bizarre puzzle solutions then Woolley Mountain is worth checking out. There are some fun easter eggs to uncover that will make your inner child beam with pure joy. The biggest issue is that it never really reaches the heights of the LucasArts offerings but does show promise for future projects by the dev team.
TBG Score: 7/10
Platform: Steam, Nintendo Switch
Release Date: 10/04/2019
No. of Players: 1
Category: Adventure, RPG, Puzzle
Developer: Lightfoot Brothers
Publisher: Huey Games
Download link: eShop