Let’s put this right out there, I am generally not a fan of point-and click adventure games. Games like Monkey Island, King’s Quest, and other famous titles have never attracted me overall. However, recently I realized that I hadn’t sat down and tried a good adventure game in a while, so mobile-device-friendly Bik – A Space Adventure seemed like a good place to test out the genre again.
I was knee-deep in the game a few minutes later, and lo-and-behold, I was having fun! The characters were genuinely interesting, the setup was both lighthearted and adventurous, and this was just the first few minutes of the game! It was great, and I couldn’t even remember why I didn’t like adventure games!
And then, came the first puzzle.
You are supposed to put out a fire. Simple enough, and hey, there was a fire extinguisher on the wall. All seemed set, until the fire extinguisher turned out to be empty. “Ok, fine”, I thought, I’d just have to find another way to solve this. Thus began about 15 minutes of unnecessarily frustrating trial-and-error consisting of combining objects and making sure I clicked on everything that was clickable. Then I remembered why I disliked adventure games: the puzzles. Either non sequitur logic (which is thankfully rarely a problem in Bik), or just puzzles that are massive click-fests are the two main issues that have kept me away from adventure games.
To be fair, Bik not only shadows out items that can’t be combined, but a tap of a button highlights only the items which can be interacted with, so there’s no wondering if an out-of-place sofa is clickable or not. This prevents puzzles from consisting of bizarre logic, but unfortunately, trial-and-error is still the ultimate, frustrating fallback when all clicks fail. It is in these moments that repetition quickly sucks the life out of the game, and though these moments are few, they are still there.
Don’t get confused as to my point: Bik is not a bad game. All I’m saying is that it is probably not going to attract new players to the genre, and it doesn’t fix some of the age-old adventure game problems.
That was quite a letdown of a setup, so let’s get to what Bik – A Space Adventure does well: tell its story.
Bik spins a heck of a yarn, one which captures the lives of two lima bean headed aliens, a human kid kidnapped from a campsite, and a Gameboy seeking revenge, among other things. One thing that surprised me was the amount of genuinely funny inter-character dialog and the overall quality of the plot. I was actually interested in the developments of this space (mini) epic, and though the tone is lighthearted, it was still intriguing. The typical adventure game flaws are better swallowed when offset with the great tale that Bik provides.
A quick word on aesthetics, before we close. Bik – A Space Adventure is a pixelated affair, and those are so popular nowadays that it doesn’t necessarily stand out. However, some 3D cut scenes manage to feel bigger than most pixel-art games normally allow, and a techno-bit soundtrack pushes the game along.
I can assuredly say that Bik – A Space Adventure won’t convert those who dislike the genre into adventure game fanatics. However, it won’t drive away people who don’t normally point-and-click away either, and those who love adventure games are in for a treat. Carrying the game through its low spots is some great dialog and character development, and players can coast to the end on nothing but those. Overall, Bik may not be a masterpiece, but it will still manage to eke out some entertainment for the player.