It was back in August 2019 that the French development team, La Poule Noire, announced that their inaugural game as a studio would be a point-and-cluck (technically a point-and-clicker still) adventure. Edgar – Bokbok in Boulzac is the title in the spotlight here and, in a nutshell, it tells the tale of a man and his faithful companion, a hen. Inspired by the likes of Night in the Woods, Monkey Island, and Sam & Max, the aim is to deliver a narrative-focused adventure, with a relaxing vibe and a zany edge to it. Will Edgar – Bokbok in Boulzac be seen as a memorable experience worth taking in, or is it a journey to forget?
Well, I don’t believe you’ll forget Edgar in a hurry, but Bokbok in Boulzac in its entirety doesn’t quite match up to the pinnacles within the same genre. There are still some positives to take in though, so you’d be clucking mad to write it off without allowing me to expand.
Bokbok in Boulzac introduces us to Edgar on what appears to be just an ordinary day, performing his daily task of harvesting squashes on a farm in the woods, alongside his most loyal friend – his only friend – a chicken named Precious. When the crops get ruined by insects and he runs out of the Razidium needed to curtail the plague however, he must venture out of isolation for the first time in order to acquire more. With Precious by his side, Edgar embarks upon a journey to the nearest inhabited city in the hope that someone can fulfil the request. Despite being without human contact for years and unfamiliar with local customs, Edgar soon realises that something strange is afoot and he could be on the verge of uncovering dark secret.
Conversations take place via text dialogue only and there’s a real insight into how these people go about their business. As a main character, Edgar is a very odd chap, but what’s funny is that this middle-aged guy – who seems a bit too close to his chicken – is relatively normal in comparison to the residents of Boulzac. The developers have ensured that each interaction as you wander around the city will offer a glimpse into the lives of these weird, yet interesting, folk. Whilst not all of the silly stories and waffling on between characters leads to laughter, there’s enough intrigue to keep proceedings engaging.
Bokbok in Boulzac does a decent job of drip-feeding the crux of the story, with Razidium and our Precious playing a huge role in uncovering the mystery surrounding the ongoing, rather strange, behaviour of certain residents after dark. It’s unpredictable too in terms of those involved in the conspiracy and the way in which these people are being coerced. The little side tales of an unorthodox doctor, a swindler, a bartender who has lost his passion for what he does, and the fastest cat you’ve ever laid eyes on, are great for filler.
There are a couple of noticeable drawbacks though; the first of which has Edgar traipsing back and forth to chat. In spite of the Boulzac only consisting of a few areas, it becomes tiresome when you’re unsure of where the next progression step is going to be. Sometimes it’s merely a case of acquiring an item for your inventory or a piece of information, but you’re not always sure of what that is. Everything’s fairly straightforward upon locating these necessities however, and that could be seen as another minor fault. There just aren’t enough strings to its bow, with the odd inventory-based problem the only regular change-up to the flow of the game.
Don’t be mistaken, the story is enjoyable, but it doesn’t excel enough as a main feature that’s able to carry Bokbok in Boulzac to the upper echelons of adventure games by itself. And whilst I understand the constraints, the characters would’ve absolutely thrived with voiceovers and truly enabled them to show off their unique personalities, but alas there are none. The audio that is present can be split into two; the mostly unnoticeable backing soundtrack, which is fine, and a bizarrely captivating performance when the credits roll – it’s well worth hearing/seeing.
The artwork is fascinating in Bokbok in Boulzac, with angular shapes used to create everyone and the surrounding environments. Granted, the people look distinctive, but it’s the buildings and overall style which are deserving of praise. Visually, the houses and landscapes are akin to those found in the French countryside, paying a wonderful homage to the inspirations behind the game and the tales emanating from such places.
Whether Edgar – Bokbok in Boulzac should be your next purchase or not is dependent on what you’re after. It’s a very laid back, weird, wacky, and interesting story, in which there are plenty of minor side-tales to pad out the adventure to around three hours in length. The inventory ‘puzzles’ won’t be overly taxing at all, so there’ll be no need to get stressed, but it does become tedious without something else to break-up the random conversations and, unfortunately, there aren’t enough properly funny moments to make you laugh out loud. The setting is great though and and the way the team at La Poule Noire have created the locations using such a strange art style is impressive.
There’s no doubt Edgar – Bokbok in Boulzac is a fun adventure, but it’s slightly lacking in a couple of areas. Given the expected cost of around £15 on Xbox One, I believe it’s a safe bet to hold off until Edgar – Bokbok in Boulzac drops a little in price to avoid any disappointment.