Gibbous - A Cthulhu Adventure PC Review

Although its story lacks focus, Gibbous - A Cthulhu Adventure is an enjoyable point-and-click adventure that mixes lovecraftian horror with comedy and a snarky talking cat.

By Woozie, Posted 05 Aug 2019

Lovecraftian tales like to focus on people facing the incomprehensible and saying goodbye to their sanity in the process. But what would happen if they also came with a hefty amount of comedy, a snarky talking cat and a fair share of references to the adventure game classics of yore and popular culture? Gibbous – A Cthulhu Adventure aims to answer that question.

A classic-style point-and-click adventure game with a modern sheen, Gibbous – A Cthulhu Adventure follows the journey of protagonists Don R Ketype, an aptly name private investigator with a penchant for sinking into noir-like monologues, Buzz Kerwan, a naïve librarian brought into a situation bigger than anything he’s ever faced and Kitteh, a non-talking-cat-turned-talking-cat after Buzz reads from the Necronomicon. The fabled book lies at the center of Gibbous’ story which sees the trio going from the depths of cultist-infested Fishmouth all the way to Transylvania in an attempt to undo Kitteh’s truly horrifying change and maybe save the world in the process.

Gibbous - A Cthulhu Adventure, PC, Review, Screenshot

To anyone who’s played older adventure games, Gibbous – A Cthulhu Adventure will feel instantly familiar. Taking the point-and-click term to heart, you’ll spend most of your time investigating objects and points of interest, which can be handily highlighted using the Spacebar, talking to NPCs and combining items for solutions to puzzles. On top of that, Buzz can sometimes ask Kitteh to interact with objects or portions of the environment that he can’t reach, while Ketype earns an eldritch ability that lets him tap into an object’s history to learn more about it. While these two mechanics do come into play at specific points, they’re ultimately underused which makes for gameplay that’s a bit too familiar and almost risks becoming stale.

The puzzles in Gibbous run the gamut of those expected in the genre. Some require you to combine the right items, others to simply retrieve them. A few involve dealing with symbols or placing words in the right order. There are also dialogue-related puzzles which send you exploring when you don’t quite have the solution, or going through a bit of trial and error – and a number of funny retorts – before you get to progress. Although you’re dealing with eldritch matters, the puzzles themselves rarely require contrived logic and, most of the time, the solutions lend themselves easy to figure out in exchange for a modicum of attention.

Gibbous - A Cthulhu Adventure, PC, Review, Screenshot

Gibbous’ seven chapters send you to different places, from the cheekily-named Darkham to Transylvania and beyond. It’s a rather cool mixture of eerie locales that developer Stuck in Attic has gone for. Aside from comedy, talking cats and noir detectives, it also included myths and subtle musical elements from their home country of Romania. Needless to say, if you’re expecting a gruesome tale of madness and insanity, Gibbous will only partly provide. While the handcrafted environments are excellently done in an almost Disney-like cartoonish style, featuring some ominously cozy warm lights, the chapters themselves never quite linger enough in any of these locations. Each chapter only consists of a rather small number of areas and, while they all have their own NPCs and puzzles, you never quite get accustomed to them.

Despite the 12 hours I spent among fishy cultists and with a talking cat in tow, Gibbous felt a bit too much like a sprint towards its conclusion, and that’s with inspecting as many objects as I ran into and listening to every dialogue line. Of course, this comes with a handful of benefits, as well. Its rather alert pace doesn’t give you time to be bored. The small number of areas in each chapter also means that, with the exception of one puzzle involving interpreting symbols towards the end, the solutions are always intuitive and won’t send you scurrying off to find the nearest walkthrough.

Gibbous - A Cthulhu Adventure, PC, Review, Screenshot

There’s quite a broad array of voices in Gibbous – A Cthulhu Adventure and they’re all done quite well, with a rich amount of tones and even the odd accent thrown in there. But while the voice acting shines throughout, the game lacks any truly memorable characters. Kitteh and Ketype get closest to the status, with the former’s sharp sarcasm and the latter’s stereotypical hard-boiled detective attitude and monologues, but even they don’t quite have the personality and pizazz of a Guybrush Threepwood. Although some of them sport their own strange quirks, the NPCs you encounter remain largely unremarkable once the dialogue concludes, while Buzz Kerwan never quite manages to fill the shoes of an unprepared protagonist unwittingly thrown into a situation that’s much larger than him.

That doesn’t, however, mean that Gibbous lacks its share of great moments. It’s rather hard to forget a rap battle against a descendant of Vlad the Impaler donning sick cornrows or throwing rotten eggs at a cultist crier after making him say bad things about his gods. Indeed, there are plenty of remarks, exchanges and moments where Gibbous effortlessly steals laughs or chuckles in the least, and it’s here where it’s at its best. That’s largely because, on occasion, the game manages to tap into that Monkey Island mojo. There’s definitely wit to be found in the game’s writing and that’s largely what makes Gibbous so enjoyable to see through to the end and inspecting every object very much worth it. You’ll find plenty of references to current or past trends and videogame tropes, all tastefully presented, sometimes with the occasional fourth wall break.

Gibbous - A Cthulhu Adventure, PC, Review, Screenshot

That being said, the main story feels a little too disjointed and uninvolved. Although its main thread introduces a number of mysterious characters and follows a potentially world-ending event, the journey that Buzz and Ketype undertake lacks both punch and a strong antagonist. Neither one of its threads, whether related to turning Kitteh back into a non-talking cat, or the threat of eldritch abominations being brought to life, carries enough weight to draw more attention than clicking on a random object and listening to a funny quip.

And yet, I enjoyed my time with Gibbous. Although it doesn’t deliver on all its promises, it remains rather chock-full with short, funny conversations and cheeky remarks that make investigating every object worth it. My gripes with the game don’t come from a place of being sick with what it offers, but rather from wishing there was more to see. Kitteh and Ketype’s abilities could have been better used to spice up gameplay and Gibbous could have lingered a bit more around its several areas, expanding on its comedic exchanges and showcasing more of its gorgeous locales. Its lack of focus and consistency, especially in its main story, will inevitably disappoint some. However, if you’re craving a point-and-click adventure game like they used to do them way back when, Gibbous – A Cthulhu Adventure will give you your fill.
 

Bogdan Robert, NoobFeed
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General Information

Platform(s): PC
Publisher(s): Stuck In Attic
Developer(s): Stuck In Attic
Genres: Point-and-click Adventure
Themes: Lovecraftian, Comedy
Release Date: 2019-08-07

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