The game starts with the scene of the Yoda-like character McGuffin, a gremlin archeologist, writing in his book and all the while telling the player of the war between the Alliance and the Shadow Army (guess who the good guys are) and how he may have discovered the existence of an artifact that could change the course of that war. In that same intro the helpless professor is kidnapped by Mortroga, the witch and boss of the Shadow Army, and his son Munkus. They want to take him in for “further questioning”, but thanks to the lovely Ivo, a wood elf, he manages to escape for a brief second and hand over a ring (interestingly called “the One Ring”) to Wilbur Weathervane the hobb-, no wait, the gnome, instructing him to take the ring to his mage friend who will know what to do with it. I wonder why I said hobbit first? Strange.
Anyway, during the game you will swap between these two characters and the charming Captain Nate Bonnet. Until a point in the story where you will be able to choose which one you want to play with.
BoUT is a point-and-click adventure game so controls couldn’t be much simpler. You use the spacebar to see what objects in your surroundings might be of help and clicking those objects will make your character inspect them, sometimes to much of that character’s displeasure which they will point out to you very colourfully. Inspected objects may be picked up if clicked again to be used later, or they will give additional information. Either way, fully inspecting everything is key to solving every puzzle so take your time for it. The puzzles are not very hard and can all be solved with good old common sense. I believe it was Descartes who said: “Common sense is the only fairly distributed thing in the world, for everyone believes to have enough of it.” (Don’t judge me for this, I can’t help myself.)
What I liked particularly about this game is that it manages to be so simple in terms of gameplay and story, and yet it can be very refined when it comes to dialogue and choice of music. As an enthusiast of classical music my jaw dropped on multiple occasions when the choice of music for a particular scene was just glorious. The music and sound are part of a perfect atmosphere at every point in the story.
But those are not enough for this game. There is also the dialogue and the monologue. Dialogue, my dear children, is a conversation between 2 or more people. And obviously in a game like this one, there must be dialogue. A monologue however is just one person talking, and there’s a lot of that in this game as well. Upon inspecting objects, the character you play with will, in their own personal way, describe to themselves (i.e. you) what the object is and in some cases what it can be used for. This may sound a bit daft at first but actually the game couldn’t do without those monologues.
The monologues are the center piece of this game, and these will either be the deal-breaker for some gamers while others laugh heartily at the witty comments of the characters.
There are 3 playable characters and they all have their traits. Ivo the elf as a character was a bit boring for my taste, but then again I found the puzzles she had to solve quite interesting.
The smug Captain Nate Bonnet is the last of the three you meet.
And then there’s Wilbur Weathervane :) I can’t help but smile. This incredibly naive gnome with a love for everything magical is, arguably, the protagonist of this story. He must be the cutest character I’ve ever come across in a game. Do bear in mind though, he can be mercilessly satirical, sarcastic or again just plain cute. MMORPG lovers beware, he definitely won’t spare you. And while Wilbur makes fun of the gamers, the game itself is not afraid to ridicule movies such as Star Wars, Indiana Jones or Lord of the Rings.
In conclusion I have to admit that I don’t really have a conclusion for this game.
Does the game offer a deep, intriguing story with plot twists? No.
Are the graphics so stunning you just have to see them? No.
Are the puzzles even challenging? Again no.
All I can say is I had a blast playing this wonderful game. I was playing the game with my girlfriend next to me drinking a cup of tea and she enjoyed it just as much as I did.
Having finished the game after a good 20 hours or so, I felt just like when I would feel after finishing a good book. A feeling of melancholy that the wonderful story is over. Which means that the game must have been good.