A jolly good show, but you’ll have to tune in next episode for the exciting conclusion.
Rumpus Animation is the developer of The Adventures of Bertram Fiddle, a point-and-click adventure game first released on Steam and mobile in 2015. Episode 1 introduces us to the eponymous protagonist, his assistant/sidekick Gavin, and a host of other colourful characters. The story centres around Bertram trying to locate a notorious murder who absconds with his wife’s dog Foofy, just as Bertram steps outside his door in pursuit of adventure. Two brief action sequences add some variety to the gameplay, but The Adventures of Bertram Fiddle is largely about using an on-screen cursor to talk to people, collect items, and solve simple puzzles with those items. Although brief, The Adventures of Bertram Fiddle is a fun and funny game that doesn’t reinvent the point-and-click wheel, but doesn’t overstay its welcome either.
The cartoony visuals and the great voice acting add significantly to the humour of the game. The puns are sometimes clever and often cringe-worthy, but it’s hard not to smile at their delivery against a vivid rendition of Victorian London. Sherlock Holmes appears in the game as a more serious foil for the lighthearted Bertram, and their first interaction sees the player basically drug Sherlock, causing him to fall asleep. Another comedic element is in the names of the characters: Lord Arthwipe, Lady Ravisham, and Count Fulchmuckle, to name a few. An interesting scene with Lady Ravisham features some lewd jokes that gave me a good laugh. The beginning of the game offers brief explanations of gameplay mechanics for those new to the genre. By holding down the action button, the player can see all of the objects and people in the background that can be interacted with, and I found this to be a helpful feature, particularly in darker areas. Of course, not all items that can be clicked on are taken into your inventory, but witty and humourous flavour text makes taking your time in each area worthwhile.
The Adventures of Bertram Fiddle’s first episode is divided into four chapters, each lasting 15-30 minutes. Despite its brevity, the game features a likeable and memorable cast with amusing interactions and dialogue. The puzzles in each chapter will be familiar to fans of point-and-click games, with a few that took some rumination to solve. I found the game challenging enough to be fun rather than frustrating, but a little more depth or complexity in the puzzle-solving would have been welcome.
Overall, The Adventures of Bertram Fiddle plays well on the Switch and is a wonderful little entry point into the genre made popular by games like The Secret of Monkey Island and Day of the Tentacle. The Adventures of Bertram Fiddle isn’t quite as epic or hilarious as those two gems, but it has its moments. I’m looking forward to doing more adventuring and “exploratoring” when Episode 2 hits the eShop in the near future.