Yo ho ho and a bottle of comedy! It’s time for another quick first impressions piece as Frankie and I meander our backlog savouring the wonders of adventure games of all kinds. We’ve accidentally conjured up a feline theme too, it seems — following our recent Evening With Gibbous, it’s time for both cat and chicken to take the stage with Chook & Sosig: Walk The Plank.
Wittily written — although not voice acted, not that it needs to be — Chook & Sosig: Walk The Plank is a comical foray into a world not unlike that of Grace Buxner’s fantastic Frog Detective games.
Extremely silly yet wryly dry-humorous animals of every species get up to all sorts of downtempo yet genuinely amusing hijinks, in other words. Following a visual novel debut that I’m keen to get stuck into sometime, this game takes the much-beloved piratical theme that adventure games so adore and runs with it – albeit with a twist.
A couple of twists, actually, from our hour or so with the game so far. Firstly, Sosig the cat inhabits a relatively mundane world, and the pirate theme of the entire adventure game that is Walk The Plank arises because he and his buddies are sitting around playing a tabletop game about pirates. A game within a game, in other words.
This tabletop game, as well as being the narrative framing device of Walk The Plank, is also hosted by, well, a rather mild-mannered monster. Several of the cast of Walk The Plank, including Chook the chicken, are supernatural beings of one kind or another who are quietly, cheerfully accepted by their mundane-animal brethren — Chook himself is actually a ghost chicken.
So far, so scrumptiously silly — and it’s something the gags and dry comedy run with superbly so far.
Because the characters know they’re role-playing characters in a tabletop game, they enjoy subverting the rules of the game, breaking the suspension of disbelief in casual conversation about it, and generally goofing off. This gives a wonderfully laid back vibe to Walk The Plank that’s reinforced all the more by its sumptuous cartoon art, relaxed island opening scene and frankly wonderful reggae and calypso soundtrack.
The animals playing the pirate roleplaying game often discuss what’s going on as you solve puzzles, talk to characters and generally progress — it remains to be seen how often this is going to happen during Walk The Plank as its plot gets up to speed, and is amusing enough, but can sometimes interrupt the flow of the game. You have to remember it’s actually telling two stories at once, after all — both of which are rich in wit.
True to its pirate theme, the puzzles so far are affairs of the scavenger hunt and skullduggery variety, with plenty of mischief and lazing about besides.
All in all, Walk The Plank makes a solid first impression, and to be perfectly honest, I think a lot of us would be a lot better off if we had a phantom chicken in our lives whom we could ask for general hints and lifestyle advice.
Looking forward to giving this game a lot more time and attention in due course!