The Adventures of Bertram Fiddle: Episode 1: A Dreadly Business – Review

The eponymous Bertram Fiddle made his debut on PC a few years ago. Making sense to start at the beginning, the first part of this on-going episodic adventure has now found its way onto the Switch eShop.

A point ‘n clicker with a decidedly British sense of humour, TAOBFEOADB (as we’ll be calling it from now on) sees likeable underdog Bertram Fiddle trying to solve the mystery of Geoff the Murderer.

If you’ve read the Beano or seen anything by Cosgrove Hall, you’ll know what to expect here. That is, puns. Puns, spoofs, and a winningly old-fashioned British sense of humour, albeit with a slightly darker twist. TAOBFEOADB is after the hearts of those who watched Count Duckula as children, and it does a great job of capturing that mood.

More than a few moments gave me a good chuckle, the great voice acting going a good way to selling the jokes.

If you’ve ever played a point ‘n click adventure, you’ll also know what to expect. Visiting numerous locations, picking up objects, and using them in obtuse ways to further your progress. TAOBFEOADB makes this process quite painless. The inventory management is very intuitive, and you can see all the hotspots at each location by a push of a button.

Our only grumble is that you can’t use the analogue stick for movement. Instead, the analogue stick acts as a mouse pointer (or can also use the touchscreen). We get that this port didn’t have the biggest of budgets, but it would have been a helpful optional feature.

Due to being a short adventure, as episodic affairs tend to be, some frustrations associated with the genre are minimised. You don’t have items in your inventory for yonks, wondering when you’re ever going to use them. You generally encounter an item only a few screens before it’s useful.

It’s uncommon to traipse back and forth looking for missed items, too. We completed the game in two sessions, with only one puzzle prompting us to turn off the Switch and have a little think.

However, it’s only when you play a game like this you realise the vexations of point ‘n click adventures are kind of, well, the point.

By removing a lot of the stupidity that players grumble about, the game starts to feel a little empty. The puzzles started to get in the way of my enjoyment of the comedy beats; they felt like a chore I had to go through to get to the next joke. Because they’re straightforward, I ended up just wanting to watch the Switch play the game for me.

And so, I ended up feeling like this was a TV show I really wanted to watch, but not particularly a game I wanted to play. Those new to point ‘n clickers may get more mileage.


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