For some reason I haven’t played a good, honest point and click game in years, possibly decades (maybe not since the original Monkey Island or even Hook on the Amiga?), so it’s fitting that my return is with the Sublime is Excavation of Hob’s Barrow, a game that wouldn’t seem out of place from the genre’s heyday – albeit with a slightly quirky style that compliments its 19th-century folklore tale beautifully.
Something I forgot that makes these games special is the possibility – no, need – really taking the time to nudge and nudge the scenery and keep asking people questions, moves that see how truly rooted you are in the world.
Hob’s Barrow does this brilliantly – it’s an inspiring touch if you’re staying above a village pub, a natural way for you to meet locals and other visitors alike – and something else that makes it particularly good is the way in which They welcome its strange cast.
On notable characters, the action breaks abruptly from the established side view for a quick animated close-up, and those first greetings are often coupled with a disturbing detail, like a glassy-eyed, slowly swaying drunk fresh out of the pub, or a friendly priest suddenly doubled over to vomit as a grisly finishing touch.
“Jarring” is how Donlan described those moments in his review, and he’s right; I couldn’t get these scenes out of my head, which I think is quite fitting for the game itself, as Hob’s Barrow is less about jump scares and more about a slow-paced, brooding horror as you become more familiar with the village and its inhabitants. and the many mysteries of the title car.
Hob’s Barrow has inspired me to delve into a genre I’ve lost touch with – perhaps the aptly named Return of Monkey Island is my next calling? – although I doubt any other adventure will be as disturbing or have the same snarling badgers to compete in the same way.
Download at: https://www.eurogamer.net/games-of-2022-the-excavation-of-hobs-barrow-had-the-most-unforgettable-introductions-of-the-year