Developed by C.I.N.I.C. Games
Published by Adventure Productions
Available on Steam, PlayStation 4, and Switch
Rated M for Mature
As someone who hasn’t played a whole lot of point and click adventure games, I have to say that The Wardrobe certainly made me want to play more. I even wanted to play through it again after I reached the end credits, which should tell you how strongly The Wardrobe represents the genre as a whole.
From an aesthetic standpoint, The Wardrobe was a truly beautiful game in every sense of the word. One of the key elements which drew me to playing it in the first place was the gorgeous hand drawn animation, which is presented in glorious HD. Replicating the style of old school 2D animation with a slick and modern twist, you will quickly discover that each individual frame on display tells its own story, and it’s no exaggeration to say that you’ll find yourself staring at the screen for extended periods to try to uncover any hidden details within the lush and detailed environments. Even if point and click games aren’t really your thing, The Wardrobe still has a great deal to offer in the visual department.
After a brief intro, in which we learn that a young boy named Skinny died after eating a plum whist out on a picnic with his best friend Ronald, we are instantly transported to five years later, where Skinny, who was reduced to a skeleton, has been secretly living in Ronald’s wardrobe as a kind of guardian angel. Once that’s over, you’ll probably be relieved to learn that the gameplay mechanics are simple and easy to learn, so even those who aren’t terribly familiar with the point and click genre will instantly get stuck in and find themselves having a good time, even though the story itself isn’t particularly on the lengthy side.
Despite Skinny’s skeletal appearance, he can freely move around the world of the living on account of most of the story taking place on Halloween night, with people assuming he’s wearing a costume, so you don’t need to worry about having to stick to the shadows.
Having said that, however, some of the tasks you’ll need to perform will no doubt leave to scratching your head, so don’t expect to reach the end credits without looking at an online tutorial or two. For instance, I would never have guessed that you need to use a blow torch on the bedpost to gain access to the metal screw inside, which you’ll then need to use to cure the toothache of the alligator in the sewer. The game itself gives to player very few hints about what they should do, so if you become stuck (and you will, believe me), then online tutorials are the way to go. Whilst some players will probably be frustrated by the fact that The Wardrobe does not hold your hand and tell you exactly what you need to do, but I was actually relieved to finally play something which left me to figure things out on my own. That way, when I did eventually progress, I felt a real sense of achievement, because it seemed as though I’d earned the right to move forward on my own rather than being guided to take baby steps in the right direction. And when I finally got to the end, well, let’s just say that I can’t remember the last time a video game made me cry, but The Wardrobe came pretty damn close.
As this review has already stated, The Wardrobe was not incredibly long, but at the same time, the story was so humorous and engaging that it was still more than worth it’s asking price, which is in no small part due to the cast of colorful and bizarre characters you’ll meet throughout your journey. You’ll encounter a flamboyant zombie, a talking bear rug, a guitar playing dragon, a literal dusk monster, an alien DJ, the ghost of a kind old lady, and even Jesus Christ himself, each with their own unique quirks and idiosyncrasies. If you’re a media junkie, you might also be amused by the fact that the writers crammed in a ton of humorous popular culture references, poking fun at everything from Star Wars to Angry Birds
The voice acting was also some of the best I’ve heard so far this year, with Skinny’s witty and sarcastic vocalization making me laugh so hard I even needed to pause the game at times. All the other performers did fine jobs too, bringing each of their characters to life in their own unique way. The talking bear rug, for instance, sounds exactly like you would expect a talking bear rug to sound, with his delivery bound to leave you in stitches (no pun intended).
Although it clearly didn’t have a AAA budget, the level of care and dedication which clearly went into the development of The Wardrobe deserves to be commended. C.I.N.I.C. Games have created what might just be one of the best point and click titles of the year, and whilst bigger releases like Red Dead Redemption 2 will no doubt generate more revenue and publicity, gamers looking to experience less mainstream fare will do well to open their wardrobe doors to this unique adventure.
Although it was over too soon, The Wardrobe was still a hilarious and heartbreaking return to form for the point and click genre.