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Tick's Tales: Up All Knight (PC) artwork

Tick's Tales: Up All Knight (PC) review

"Retro Chic - Bitesized."

Pseudo-retro is in right now, but Tick’s Tales isn’t interested in half measures. It looks and feels like an adventure game lifted straight out of the Sierra era, which is no bad thing. It’s a real nostalgia trip, rather than something that faffs around the edges of retro, wearing homage as a get-out-of-jail-free card. There are a lot of gamers out there who will appreciate this – a pixel-drawn, chip-tuned point and click game relying on silly humour and honest inventory-based puzzles.

Here you'll witness the story of Tick, a slight young man with dreams of a Knighthood, laboring in the hope of impressing his obligatory love interest, Georgia McGorgeous. Her name alone should tell you plenty about the game’s tone. Tick starts his adventure in the midst of a dream sequence, trying to trick his fated career path away from janitor or gravedigger by frightening a magical old man wearing a purple onesie with the possible existence of a fairy Godfather-eating plant.

Tick's Tales: Up All Knight (PC) image

Tick’s Tales isn’t a long game. It only features a very limited number of locations, but it does manage to do a reasonable amount within them. Your first task is to pull a sword from a stone, because that’s always a popular go-to option, which you accomplish with devious Adventure Game Logic™. During this sequence, Tick proves willing to fall in line with the genre’s staple protagonist, and revel in a little bit of dickery. A nearby shop owner’s only memento of her long-missing son is the lad's old stuffed toy. But you need that for bartering, so steal it, or trick her with honeyed words! That stupid sheep trusts you enough to draw near? Pinch all its wool! Regain the trust of the local wizard after weathering his fury for freeing his pet dragon? Trick him into leaving his hut, and then rob him blind!

It’s also to the game’s credit that the puzzles never feel overly obscure, and you’ll probably never find yourself ranclicking* in an attempt to progress. I found myself majorly stumped just once, because I failed to pick up a collectible item that I had strolled past dozens of times. The limited locations help you in this regard, because the puzzles are more contained. Adventure games with vaster worlds force you to hedge your bets on solutions, not being able to fully commit to trying to puzzle through with what’s on hand, so long as the lingering worry that you failed to pick up a sliver of soap half a world away persists.

Tick's Tales: Up All Knight (PC) image

On the other hand, the game’s brief enough to not feel like a real, full-blown adventure. It has a subtitle (A Knight to Remember - always lead with a groan-worthy pun!), which might suggest it is an origin story that may be followed by further adventures in a sequel or two, but anyone expecting the run time of a classic Lucasarts game is going to find that Tick’s Tales comes up short. Even so, it offers a handful of hours of goofy fantasy-based brain teasing that serve as a welcome palate cleanser for adventure geeks of old, or even a decent entry point for genre newcomers who wonder why veterans still insist on finding ways to quote Monkey Island and kin every half chance we get.
*Ranclicking verb (Computer Action)
Portmanteau of Random Click. The desperate last resort of point and click players, wherein they randomly click random inventory items together or on random locations and/or characters in the hopes of stumbling upon a solution.


EmP's avatar
Staff review by Gary Hartley (July 03, 2016)

Gary Hartley arbitrarily arrives, leaves a review for a game no one has heard of, then retreats to his 17th century castle in rural England to feed whatever lives in the moat and complain about you.

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