Point-and-click adventure game’s roots lie in wit, wild characters and clever puzzles. So, it seems like it would be a fit to deconstruct the superhero genre within the medium. And possibly if developer No Bull Intentions based Supreme League of Patriots more on comic book tropes and lampooning superhero blockbuster film there could be some solid comedy.
Unfortunately, SLoP is all over the place in regard to its humor and as a result it feels like a mixed bag. It seems like a funny concept in theory, but not in its execution.
The game is broken down into three acts, or issues as the developers call it, and puts players in control of Kyle Keever who partners with his roommate, Melvin through the game. It’s all standard fare if you have played classic adventure games leading to seemly impossible puzzles that are solved in humouredly ludacris ways. Some will revel in the puzzle’s zany design while other will curse the game’s name. If you are into this kind of madness, you probably know what you are getting into.
You’ll collect items and place them in an inventory. The screen animations for onscreen menus look slick and fit the cartoonish comic book aesthetic. The environments Kyle and Melvin walk into feel a bit bland in some areas, but the areas have plenty of unique items to click on leading to essential solution to puzzles or you’ll hear a witty quip from Melvin. The areas are rather static and some subtle animations would go a long way to make a environment feel lived in.
Movement involves pointing and clicking to the desired location. Puzzles are usually a Rube Goldberg-esque mind teaser as players will have to use various tools to complete the task. Melvin is around to offer any tips for solving a puzzle and is useful the majority of the time. He is usually pretty helpful which will definitely come in handy for many of the puzzles.
Puzzles are presented with a set up through Melvin or secondary characters. A typical room or room is littered with interactive points. Hover your mouse over some items and click and a wheel of interactive options are presented. Some are there for comedic reasons while some are an integral part of a puzzle’s design.
It’s apparent early on that Melvin will be the source of most of the humor. Some of his best jokes take jabs at pop culture and other video games including Mass Effect and Duke Nukem as Kyle fumbles through the game’s narrative. Even if a lot of Melvin’s jokes are out of date, they make fairly good comedy with the reference. Kyle is dopey and a source of frustration for both the player and Melvin. It almost makes me wish the game revolved around the player playing as Melvin trying to clean up after Kyle. There is not a lot of joy in playing as the butt of the joke for hours.
The early moments of the game task the player with getting Kyle and Melvin to an audition for the reality TV show “America’s Got Superpowers.” Due to series of mishaps, Kyle obtains super powers and becomes The Purple Patriot.
It’s an amusing series of events and the first issue does a fine job in introducing players to the obscure puzzle solving, the inventory system, and secondary characters. It’s later on where the game drags. It drags in relation to the puzzles, story and most importantly the humor.
A problem is the lead up to the punch line takes all the wind out of the actual “joke.” A common occurrence is listening to Kyle’s often jingoist, chauvinist, transphobic or homophobic remarks leaving Melvin with a punch line that is usually falls dry. Politically-incorrectness can be hilarious, but it’s a rough territory in comedy to dabble in and more often than not SLoP misses the mark. On top of that, it just take so long to get through blocks of text to set up a joke.
Furthermore, once Kyle suits up as The Purple Patriot, he becomes more of a one-line joke and as a result Melvin’s interaction with him feel slighted. Their interaction with each other devolves into Republican bashing, which is funny once in a while, but it eventually became the joke you can see a mile away. Eyes will roll to the point where it becomes too cringeworthy to continue playing.
It becomes apparent that the developers created characters that are aware of the game they are in and that is where some of the better humor comes through, but it’s few and far between the dragged out conservative bashing.
The game feels very patted and it could have been stripped down to a single or two-chapter game. For a game that appears to be spoofing super heroes, the hero of the game doesn’t get around to fighting crime, but rather the game forces the player to complete mundane chores. Sure, that is par-for-the-course for games in this genre, but it usually comes with a comical self awareness or happenstance that relates to the main plot of events. In SLop, it feels like filler.
It’s a shame the set up for many jokes take too long for a less than stellar punch line because No Bull Intentions has an humorous template. Tone down the conservative bashing, tightening up the body of the jokes and maybe you’ll have a streamlined comedy rather than an adventure puzzle game that grabbing at too many low hanging fruit. Diehard click-and-point adventure fans will find some enjoyment thanks to Melvin’s witty humor and the outlandish puzzles design. But, if you are a fairweather fan of this genre or have little to no interest, stay away from this game.