“What’s the weirdest game you’ve ever played?” It’s a question I’ve been asked a couple times but never had a proper answer. However, I think if I was asked from today onwards it would definitely be Edgar – Bokbok in Boulzac, a truly odd and unique experience full of personality that doesn’t take itself too seriously. Let’s clarify one thing though: To call this game weird is not to call it bad – in fact Edgar is a relatively enjoyable jaunt whose flaws don’t hinder the experience too much over the 3–5-hour playtime.
Couldn’t have said it better myself Precious
You play as Edgar, a squash-farming, colander-wearing oddball that lives out in the boondocks of Boulzac with his pet chicken, Precious. To Edgar, his squashes are his livelihood. No squashes means no eating, and no eating means death – unless he eats Precious, which is unlikely. One day, the machine that powers the chemicals that keeps the squashes bug-free breaks down and a hostile bug takeover ensues. With the squashes compromised, Edgar needs to find Razidium – a rare material that requires a trip into Boulzac. But upon arriving in Boulzac, Edgar notices that something strange (talk about pot calling the kettle black) is occurring in the town and to its people. So while on the hunt for Razidium, Edgar decides to make it his business to get to the bottom of Boulzac’s mysterious events.
Edgar’s gameplay is of the point-and-click variety; a linear and dialogue-heavy game with a smattering of puzzles included for old time’s sake. Edgar and Precious will wander the streets of Boulzac, interacting with its populace to learn more about the town, its backstory and its people. Sometimes they’ll point you in the right direction regarding your objectives, while other times you’ll frustratingly need to wander around until you stumble upon the right path. All the game needs to remedy this is a simple push of a button that displays your current objective on the screen, because walking around aimlessly kills the momentum at times.
There are also items strewn across Boulzac that Edgar can interact with and occasionally pick up and use to further in the story in some way, and herein lies another of Edgar’s biggest issues: the puzzles lack any real challenge, which is quite disappointing as games of this ilk usually pride themselves on strong puzzle-solving mechanics. Instead of giving you the pieces to the puzzle without the picture, Edgar simply tells you everything you need to know to progress and it feels more like a fetch quest in an RPG.
The people of Boulzac are full of useful information
Thankfully the dialogue in Edgar is quality, with the interactions with the locals making for some of the best moments of the game thanks to some zany stories or comments, especially from a local drunk that Edgar befriends early in the piece. In an interesting design choice, none of the characters in Edgar are voiced, with the only exception being Precious, whose boks are audible. Instead, the narrative is all written dialogue, and while it does help your imagination run wild somewhat, it feels like a missed opportunity to double down on the game’s whacky personality. Occasionally you’ll be presented with dialogue choices, but it doesn’t matter which option you choose as you can simply go back and select the other options once a conversation is completed.
On the whole the narrative is clever, erratic, engaging and humourous – you’ll have more than a few laughs along the way, and there’s a couple of nice twists that will have you curious as to what happens next.
The art style is another one of the game’s strongest assets, with its simple-yet-rough colourful visuals befitting of the game’s overall vibe. Edgar and the other characters are designed perfectly, and the town of Boulzac feels like a quaint town that you’d see in a heyday Cartoon Network show mixed up in some sort of mischievous scheme. The only letdown when it comes to the production is the soundtrack, which only really seems to feature in specific areas. Much like the lack of voice-acting, the lack of soundtrack does feel like a missed opportunity.
The perfect woman?
Edgar – Bokbok in Boulzac is like the good old A$2 mixed bag of lollies; there’s some things you love, some you like and others you don’t (the black cats can get in the bin) – but you’re still satisfied when you’ve finished because it hasn’t cost you a lot in the scheme of things. For all of its wackiness and shortcomings, the tale of Edgar and his precious chicken is a decent enough story that it’s worth a playthrough on a lazy weekend.
Reviewed on Xbox One X // Review code supplied by publisher