Gather around and listen to the great Ballad of Reemus – The Exterminator, Don’t want to listen to it? Well that was Reemus’ problem too. Too many stories to tell, and no one to listen. Ballad of Reemus is an adventure game that is a great source of fun and laughter. I am a very picky gamer, I don’t like most mainstream games, I think they are fluff pieces and you have to wade through a lot of trash to find a true gem which is why I really look forward to playing Indie titles, but when I saw the word ‘bug’ I literally shuddered. I am not a fan of Sci – Fi or bugs or man eating plants. If it’s got aliens or yucky looking monsters or insects you’ll probably see me a hundred yards away. So when I took Ballads of Reemus to review, a game that’s part of the ‘Ultimate Bug Out Bundle’ at IndieBundle.org I was sure I would regret the decision. But as a reviewer you sometimes have to play games that you don’t necessarily like, so I figured this game would be just that, a game that I had to suffer through because it was part of my job.
I can however, happily say that I was completely wrong, and I have never been this happy about being so wrong. Ballads of Reemus has all the elements any game needs to be good. It’s got a good story line, its funny, and addictive. My only regret is that it wasn’t longer. But I understand this is going to be a series and I couldn’t be happier.
The Ballads of Reemus tells you the (very humourous) tale of Reemus the Exterminator and Liam the little bear sidekick. Reemus is an exterminator in a small village in a fantasy themed world, where there are ice cream cactus and hot sauce plants, and breakfast plants that make you bacon and eggs, basically its a world we all wish was true. The game starts with a tutorial mission, you have to catch a fly in a house, the story is definitely worthy of a ballad as everytime Reemus fixes something, he breaks something else getting him into even more trouble than before. The writing and dialogue in the game is brilliant and you find yourself actually laughing while you play it.
It is a point and click adventure, but not one that will make you rip out your hair in frustration. It’s not too simple but its a game that relies more on the joyful experience than intense gameplay. There are other super secret mini games too but you have to find them first. You get items, clues and so on by interacting with the world around you. You move from ‘scene’ to ‘scene’ by clicking the pointers, there is also an achievement system which rewards you for your skills in observation. Instead of collectibles the game has ‘bugs’ in almost every scene and if you squish them all, you get an achievement. There are also quite a lot of other achievements that can be yours if you have the patience to keep any eye out for things you might have missed on your first playthrough.
It is a point and click adventure title but one that has its fair share of puzzles, they may not be frustrating or overly challenging(thank god!) but they aren’t too easy either. I did have quite a bit of trouble towards the end solving the puzzles but eventually I was able to get through. Reemus and Liam both give you subtle hints when it you click or interact with an object you can control both of them, albeit only one at a time to solve certain puzzles. But being the classy guys they are ClickShake games have a button on their menu which takes you straight to the walk through and achievements section.
The artwork of the game may not be too different from what you have seen in other ones as far as the main characters are concerned. But what really impressed me was how each scene was done. It didn’t have a static background where nothing happened, it wasn’t about bare minimum. The game has a very polished feel to it, something that numerous indie titles sadly lack. The characters are pretty amazing, their visual appearance a clear indication of their personalities. Let it be intense, lazy, stupid or just plain damn goofy. They’ve got it covered.
Undoubtedly the biggest part of the game. The dialogue, the voice acting and the music are all done exquisitely well. And I mean it. I played an Indie game the other day, where it was very clear that the developer himself voiced all the characters, which is fine if you are as good as Seth McFarlane but sadly he wasn’t and it ruined the entire game. Even worse was the fact that it sounded like he used his laptop’s inbuilt mic to do the recording. The reason I mention that game is because Ballads of Reemus is a clear example of how important voice acting is, and proper voice acting at that. I don’t know if they hired people to do the voices or if they did it themselves but the fact is, they nailed it. Every joke had its punchline, every character had his own voice. The voice acting is what takes this game from good to just plain brilliant.
This is a game I really hated going in, it had bugs, man eating plants, and more bugs. But I am very happy that I gave it a chance, because it is Ballad that everyone should listen to. Reemus, the Exterminator and Liam the sidekick bear are both aces in my book.