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Review: Bolt Riley, A Reggae Adventure - Chapter 1 (PC)By Adam Riley At 12.02.2018 17:32

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The concept of Bolt Riley, A Reggae Adventure is indeed an intriguing one, with the focus on joining Bolt on his pathway to becoming a Jamaican Reggae legend. With it being a 2D point-and-click adventure, visually similar to early Broken Sword outings and The Curse of Monkey Island, and the soundtrack - especially the title track - coming across as an homage to LucasArts' Monkey Island entries in general, hopes were high now that the first chapter of A Reggae Adventure has come out of Early Access. Sadly, however, the majority of fans loving this genre would be best off trying out another game Cubed3 recently took for a spin, The Adventures of Nick and Willikins, which is far better and actually completely free.

What is wrong with Bolt Riley, though? Well, to start with, this first chapter does not actually feel like a full chapter, instead more like a short sampler or demo piece, lasting perhaps 30 minutes to an hour, maximum, and even then that is because of some unnecessary padding. Then there are the puzzles included, which for the most part use the normal formula of using various objects in different circumstances, sometimes mixing some together before use - which in itself is nothing wrong there. However, they are very basic in their nature, not serving up any challenge. Need an address? Look at the phonebook nearby. Struggling to drum? Find the drumsticks next to the drum. There are some decent ones, such as trying to figure out how to hitch open a window, but then there are some unusual inclusions, like special 'Inspirational' powers that Bolt can use to augment situations; for instance, giving his friend extra confidence to chat a woman up. This particular example itself only comes after an extremely long-winded scene of working through many different conversation avenues to progress the early stages of that particular conundrum, each time having to knock on the woman's door and wait for her to answer before giving another response. Repeat ad nauseam.

The inventory is also clunky to use, with too many click-throughs to get to the desired place, highlight the item, and get back out to use it. The context-sensitive cursor is not context-sensitive at all, either, and always defaults to looking at something, when most of the time 'use' would be the sensible option. Also, items do not stick to the cursor when used in the incorrect situations, instead disappearing after the improper usage, requiring navigation back into the inventory when needing to access them once more. Normally, items will stay with the cursor until specifically right-clicked to discard, allowing for interaction with multiple items of scenery / nearby people on a swift basis.

Another issue is that skipping through speech causes a glitch, with the audio cutting out completely and lines not being spoken - this is on top of the actual subtitles not always matching what is being spoken. The animation is ropey, the resolution oddly becomes blurry in certain places, there are longer than expected loading screens, and even a few instances of freezing completely or hanging, requiring a forced close and re-open (thankfully auto-saves prevent too much frustration there!).

Unfortunately, whilst the premise is very intriguing, and the preview of Chapter 2 looks extremely fun, this first outing for Bolt Riley, A Reggae Adventure is terribly flawed, and does not even come with good humour packed into its script to save the day. It needed a lot of work when it was back in its Early Access state and, now it has been officially released, even though the price has been rightly dropped, it is still too disappointing on the whole to be worth the price of entry.

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Sadly, even paying the now reduced price for [i]Bolt Riley, A Reggae Adventure - Chapter 1[/i] after it exited Early Access status will be frustrating for many, not only due to its extremely short length, but because of the bugs still present, ropey animation, glitches with the resolution, weak user-interface design choices, and tiring puzzles included. There [i]is[/i] potential here given the stylish theme and good voice acting present, but so much work needs to be done between now and the eventual second chapter's release, and after sampling this, most will not be willing to take the risk with so much better competition out there.



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