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Viktor, a Steampunk Adventure (PC) artwork

Viktor, a Steampunk Adventure (PC) review

"This tagline was set to be an animal pun - but they boar me."

Viktor, a Steampunk Adventure is an adventure game with a steampunk feel featuring Viktor. Bet you didnít see that twist coming. Now onto the mundane stuff: Viktor is a grumpy wild boar road sweeper who loses his job in the opening seconds of the game. Rather than shuffle off to the job centre to seek new employment, he decides the best way to fix his circumstances is to oust the ruler of Austria-Hungary.

Perhaps he sees it as the next logical step on his career path, which makes at least as much sense as the rest of the game. Viktor is a surreal swirling of tongue-in-cheek political satire, anamorphic history rebinding and adventure game logic, written by someone who I imagine spent a lot of time binge watching Monty Python with his eyes propped open by matchsticks. It wears its nonsensical inspirations on its sleeves, sprouting literal gibberish (spoken lines are just accented mumblings that play over the top of your text options, as seems to be the styling of the times) and asking you to advance via buffoonery.

Thatís not uncommon in the point 'n click genre, where the ludicrous actions you have to undertake are commonly hidden behind a strong veneer of snark, but it feels especially appropriate here. Viktorís cartoon aesthetics mesh well with the outlandish cast (who sometimes take on well known personas such as Dr. Frankenstein and Nikola Tesla) and the oft-eccentric actions youíll need to undertake. Some of this is traditional item-based puzzle solving, where you use whatever crap you find lying around Viktorís world to mash together peculiar solutions to peculiar situations, but just as much is dialogue-based. Branching conversations options allow you to try bluffing or threatening your way through some puzzles.

Viktor, a Steampunk Adventure (PC) image

Probably my favourite thing about Viktor Is that, unlike any other adventure game Iíve ever played, that are multiple routes to bypass many obstacles. Some of this is pretty straightforward. Donít want to play a gussied up sliding block puzzle? (Of course you donít; no one does. Why do they keep putting these in games?) You might well have to, if you want to fix some faulty wiring and continue on with the game. That is, unless you found a battery in previous chapters, in which case you can just utilize that and put the whole sorry experience behind you. But thatís not all thatís on offer; you can also solve an early puzzle by successfully locating enough coins hidden around the place to buy your way out of the problem. Or you can trick a guard into a dirigible race on the pretense that heíll let you pass should you win; if you lose, he gets the pleasure of kicking you for free. Or you could disguise yourself as a Scottish Jew and take the place of a disinterested athlete to slip past the guard unnoticed.

Bypassing some puzzles should be pretty straight forward for genre veterans, but some (even more) out of the box thinking is required. For example, in-game hints are cleverly disguised with phone calls made (via a coal-powered mobile) to Viktorís best friend, Martin; the bath-obsessed psychic owl. But, sometimes, something he tells you is the trigger point for an entire solution. And then, sometimes, he just speaks plain nonsense that has absolutely nothing to do with the situation youíre in. He has been huffing on a hookah pipe all game, after all.

Viktor, a Steampunk Adventure (PC) image

Sometimes, he doesnít even answer at all, which is never too big an issue, because Viktor Is neither a particularly difficult nor lengthy game. The multi-path approach to reach the same destination is especially valid once you lose your barely-disguised hint line, because if you find yourself coming to a dead end in one avenue, you can sometimes try your luck tackling the situation from another angle. Viktorís quirky like that, offering other original little options, like being able to dictate your own BGM depending on which hidden vinyl records you discover dotted around the game -- to the point when one particular puzzle is made significantly easier should you marry it up with the right soundtrack. The tracks are mostly of the classical variety, but you might find other options if you seek them out in more obscure locations.

Viktor shines bright but shines short, getting its tale over and finished with before it ever starts to wear out its welcome. You could probably burn through it quite comfortably in a single afternoon and, even though thereís a bloody sliding block puzzle right in the middle of it, I dare say that experience wonít feel like a waste of your time.


EmP's avatar
Staff review by Gary Hartley (March 30, 2017)

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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