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Bone: Out From Boneville review

AT A GLANCE
  • Cute, clever, and comical
  • Great characters for this type of game
  • Buy online, be playing in minutes
  • It's pretty short. Sweet, but short
  • Some frustrating puzzles
  • Not particularly impressive graphically

Bone: Out From Boneville is based on a whimsical, almost Disney-esque comic book series starring three short, sassy, semi-human cartoon cousins called the Bones. They're a handful just by themselves, but they're further complimented by and extended cast that includes a beautiful girl, a bored-looking dragon, an apron-clad grandmother who races cows, a bug named Ted, and an army of talking rat creatures who entertain a strange love of quiche. It's clever, charming, and a little bit timeless; the kind of stuff kids love because it's vibrant and goofy, and adults love because it's smarter and more meaningful than its cartoonish look would suggest.

 It's also now a video game, thanks to Telltale Games and the book's creator/writer/artist Jeff Smith. The Bones: earnest hero-protagonist Fone Bone, scheming huckster Phoney Bone, and the clownishly silly Smiley Bone, make an ideal band of would-be heroes. Thanks to their distinct personalities and a cute-but-not-sappy visual design adopted faithfully from the comic, this humorous, light-hearted point-and-click, fantasy adventure is one thing over all else: fun.

Creator Smith's style comes through unspoiled, with clear storytelling that emulates the light-but-clever tone of the comics quite well. Several of the jokes are even funny, and are helped along by solid voice acting ( Fone Bone in particular is pitch perfect) and plenty of likeable, well-paced dialogue.

The puzzles are a mix of real-time action scenes, logic puzzles and even some spatial awareness stuff, all of which are simple, but effective. None are particularly complex; even the most fiendish brain-ticklers can be defeated with a few moments of lateral thought or careful observation. They are, however, occasionally too irritating for you to want to defeat, so patience and persistence are necessary virtues.

Our favorites are the dialogue puzzles, where saying the right things to the right characters in the right order will decide your success. The conversations are usually fairly silly (which we love) and there are moments when the solution is a happy surprise instead of the obvious conclusion typical games would require. Disappointingly, a few of Bone's conversations trees were broken in our review build, but that should be fixed by the time you read this.

Ultimately, Bone: Out From Boneville is probably too lightweight, too easy and unsophisticated for most adventure gamers... but don't hold that against it. So it's not Grim Fandango. What is? Bone: Out from Boneville is full of charm, and the price is right: it's downloadable directly from www.telltalesgames.com for a very fair $20. Stay home from a movie and play this instead. It'll make the world a better place.

More Info

Release date: Oct 03 2005 - PC (US)
Dec 20 2005 - PC (UK)
Available Platforms: PC
Genre: Adventure
Published by: Telltale Games
Developed by: Telltale Games

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