Point-and-click adventure games are a dying breed which I think is a terrible shame, because while they make me feel incredibly dim-witted I do rather enjoy them, which is why I’m thankful Daedalic Entertainment keep on making them. Journey of a Roach is their latest incarnation of the genre, and it’s a rather sweet and charming little game. If only it were longer…
You play as Jim, a cockroach â€“ everybody’s favourite creature, we know â€“ in a post-apocalyptic wasteland. How the world became this wasteland is entirely up to your imagination, as upon starting the you’re flung immediately into a rather crudely drawn and poorly animated cut-scene, in which you see friend and fellow cockroach Bud, who much like me is fairly dim, scurry across the arid wastes after finding some rare vegetation. In all the excitement as he makes his way down a pipe poor accident prone Bud gets trapped by a barrel of toxic waste.
This is where the gameplay starts and thankfully the art style improves, now we’re greeted by far more fluid animation and vastly improved graphics. This is also where the perks of being a cockroach come into play, aside from being able to survive the nuclear apocalypse, you’re also able to climb up walls and across the ceiling, provided that they’re clear of obstacles like pipework. For the most part this new found freedom of scuttling around on whatever surface you please works well, the transitions of changing surface is fluid, and the camera changes so you always look like you’re on the ground. Occasionally this does provide some problems though, a few times during my playthrough I found myself getting stuck trying to go through doorways, and the first few transitions of floor to wall to ceiling left me feeling quite disorientated.
However I soon got used to the new wall-climbing ability, and after saving Bud, went off on my adventure with my accident-prone friend. He is very accident-prone, too, and plays the general role of ‘damsel in distress’ throughout the game. Usually through the medium of being trapped. Or falling through the floor.
During quests to save Bud you’re introduced to a variety of truly interesting characters, who you must help in order to progress. What’s most amazing about these characters is that they manage to be so interesting and have such large personalities without saying a single word. Nothing understandable at any rate. The ‘dialogue’ in Journey of a Roach is a series of high pitched squeaks, mumbles and grunts, and the occasional picture inside a speech bubble when the game is trying to help you out with a puzzle. This adds to the games immense charm, and really makes you bond with some of the characters you meet this desolate world.
Graphically, Journey of a Roach resembles the same art style found in Borderlands, only more blocky. The hand-drawn art style certainly adds to the games character, and suits the game very much. The music and sounds are wonderful too, adding to the atmosphere and fitting incredibly well with the overall style.
Unfortunately though, there is a major problem. Even I, as thick and useless as I am when it comes to puzzle games, was able to complete it in around an hour. Someone who’s good at this genre would be able to finish it in around 20 minutes. There’s even an achievement to complete the game in under 18 minutes. That just isn’t long enough, and it’s a real shame because Journey of a Roach is a fantastically heart-warming and enjoyable little puzzle game. There just needs to be more substance to it to make it a worthwhile purchase, especially when it’s on Steam for the price of Â£11.99.
Currently available on PC, Journey of a Roach is a very charming, heart-warming game full of personality. It’s quirky art style and interesting characters give it the credentials to be a great game, but with such a short story the price-tag doesn’t make this a justifiable purchase.
Reviewed on PC