Point-and-click games will always hold a special place in my heart. As a child of the 90s, they made up most of the games that I remember, so I am always down for a good point-and-click. The Wardrobe is one such game that takes inspiration from classic 90s games like Monkey Island and Day of the Tentacle. With its absurd premise and pop culture references up the wazoo, it makes for an experience that fans of the point-and-click genre will enjoy.
The Wardrobe is the tale of Skinny who died five years before the events of the game when his best friend Ronald gave him a plum to eat while they were enjoying a picnic together. Neither were aware of Skinny’s allergy. When Skinny woke up after dying, he finds that he has become a skeleton and is sentenced to live in his friend’s bedroom wardrobe forever. Now, however, Skinny must save Ronald by getting him to speak and admit his mistake, or else Ronald will face eternal damnation. The only problem is that Ronald’s family is moving out of their house, and after finagling a way onto the moving van, Skinny and the wardrobe are separated from everyone else. Skinny must figure out a way to get his wardrobe to Ronald’s new home to save his friend.
From the beginning, the game is exceptionally self-aware. With a tutorial provided by an omniscient narrator who disappears for the rest of the game and Skinny breaking the fourth wall with every other comment, it sets up tongue in cheek, sarcastic humor that permeates the game. I love fourth wall breaks, and Skinny’s remarks, for the most part, are witty, even though most are insults directed at the player.
Skinny has four actions that can be completed when the cursor hovers over each hotspot. He can look at an object, use it, talk to it, or pick it up to store in his rib cage. One crucial detail that took me forever to figure out is that some of the different objects need to be combined to use them. Half the time that I thought that I wouldn’t need to pick up an object, like Grandma’s urn that is oddly filled with gum, I needed to come back later to retrieve the item. It didn’t help that every time I tried to pick up most objects, Skinny would insult my intelligence.
The game is broken up into two basic stages. The first is to find your way onto the moving van, and the second is to figure out how to get the wardrobe to Ronald’s new house. However, figuring out how to make this happen requires a ton of steps, and not all of them seem entirely necessary. Some of the puzzles are difficult to figure out and require much trial and error to determine the correct combination of items and where to place them to move forward in getting closer to the goal of merely moving the wardrobe.
Other than trying to move the wardrobe, the game doesn’t have a plot. Skinny doesn’t undergo any character development. He just moves from place to place on the map trying to make his way through different puzzles. Other characters are basically stereotypes, like a dumb jock and a stoner moving guy who falls asleep on the job.
The game has some areas to be explored, and if you like pop culture references in your games, then boy are you going to like this one. Every single area of the game is full of references from movies, television shows, creepypasta, and other games of course. Slenderman is all over the place, Frank from Donnie Darko stands in the corner of a party counting down to when the world is going to end, and a portrait of a Pikmin are just a smattering of what can be found. However, the game is not afraid to touch on politically incorrect and mature topics, so it never seems childish.
Visually, The Wardrobe looks as if someone took all those Look and Find books from childhood and turned it into a video game. Seriously, each of the game’s areas is packed to the brim with, for lack of a better word, stuff. Each scene is bright and colorful, and apparently, each one was hand-illustrated. It’s a lot to take in, but it’s clear that a lot of care went into them. The game’s sound is fine. I found the music to be reasonably whimsical to match the look of the game.
Depending on how long the puzzles take you to figure them out, the game will take some time to work through everything. It took me about six or seven hours to finish up the main story, and you can replay it if you’d like to hit all of the game’s achievements, like Speed Run. I mostly prefer my point-and-click games on PC, as you interact with everything in the game with a cursor that looks like a skeletal hand. Thankfully, you can change the speed of the cursor so that you’re not waiting for it to slowly drag across the screen, so I think it translated reasonably well to PlayStation 4.
For fans of the point-and-click genre, The Wardrobe will be a game to check out–especially for those who loved the style of the 90s. Overflowing with references to basically everything related to gaming, movies, television shows, and even creepypasta, it’s fun to pick out each one as they appear in each brightly colored scene to search around in. At times, the insults can become a bit grating, but overall the dialogue is cleverly written. Some of the game’s puzzles seem a little ridiculous. For instance, when you finally figure out that you need to mix pills with sewer water in a beer mug to feed to a dust pile, it can be hilariously frustrating.
The Wardrobe is a solid game, and even gamers who aren’t familiar with point-and-click games will find it to be one that they should check out.