Just when you thought point-and-click adventure games were dead and buried, last year's Bone: Out From Boneville sent a pale hand shooting up from the soil. Adapting the comic-book antics of three cousins who look like marshmallow femurs, Boneville was charming and fun, but its two-hour runtime (and $20 price tag) left something to be desired.
Bone: The Great Cow Race - the second chapter in the series - has no such problems. Available on the developer's website for $12.99, it offers Bone fans a deeper, longer adventure, packing in more minigames, more personality and much higher production values. The characters are more expressive, there's more to see and do and you can even switch between characters on the fly.
Like the first game, Cow Race is a mouse-driven, "find the things to use on other things and solve the puzzles" adventure. Exploration through the 3D environment is broken up by quick minigames, puzzles and conversations, and overall the action is slow, thoughtful and pressure-free. (Seriously, you can even click a question-mark icon for progressively more detailed hints if you get stuck.)
For those unfamiliar with the comics (or the first chapter of the game, which we reviewed here), Bone is the story of three cousins - sweet-natured protagonist Fone Bone, miserly schemer Phoney Bone and empty-headed hobo Smiley Bone - who get run out of their hometown on a rail. They end up in The Valley, a medieval-fantasy land populated by cigar-smoking dragons, an insanely tough old woman named Gran'ma Ben and vicious, man-sized "rat creatures" who argue endlessly about the merits of quiche.