Once a Knight
Let me introduce you to Digital Bounce House. This is a small game development studio with tales to tell based on how we used to play games. One such tale is that of Tick’s Tales with its subtitle of Up All Knight as it places you in the environment of an 8-bit sword and sorcery adventure with all that that entitles.
Not only are you taken back to a time when attaining knighthood and winning a girl’s heart is obtained by force of arms and deeds of bravery but also to a period in game playing history when help in playing the game was rather sparse on the ground. Forget features such as a Hint icon or a built-in map feature that reveals locations where tasks need to be completed. With Tick’s Tales, this game plays homage to those adventure games of old that those of us of a certain age use to while away the hours playing in true classic adventure style situations. Any success and progress would come about from the ingenuity of the player rather than the tools available.
When starting this 8-bit adventure game you are given the opportunity of adjusting settings. You can adjust the volume levels for music and sound effects plus whether to play in full screen mode with a handheld camera mode to follow your progress. The game is a single player adventure with no option to create profiles for multiple adventures to take part when ever the mood takes them.
Your role in the game is that of Tick of the title. He is a young boy who finds mischief impossible to resist. In fact your character’s name is often used in some parts of the country to describe a young lovable rogue who spends time upsetting adults and anybody else who happens to be around.
The initial introduction to your on-screen persona is in a dream sequence as Tick is given a choice of the career he is meant to follow. He can be a gravedigger by selecting a shovel or a janitor by picking up a broom. However Tick has ambitions to be a fearless knight, so that he can earn the love of a girl of his dream called Georgia McGorgeous, so he selects a sword.
This first chapter in the game involves you working out how best to proceed with most of the action revolving around dialogue that is in printed format (sorry no spoken dialogue in this game) between Tick and his very un-fairy-like godfather who feels that Tick should not get above himself with regards his aspirations. But then without these aspirations we would not have this game of Tick’s Tales.
Moving on through the game, Tick has to visit various locations without the benefit of a map as he scurries along pathways, explores buildings, indulges in text-based conversations with other characters and complete tasks that will eventually lead towards him becoming a knight. Once a knight, Tick will be able to withdraw the legendary Sword of Blergh. As a result Tick will gain his heart’s desire by saving Georgia and the entire town from the evil clutches of the wicked goblin Bloodclot.
In order for Tick to achieve his aim, you will need to keep a close watch on the mouse cursor. This will change shape to indicate when possible actions or objects and clues are available in the immediate vicinity. Any items that are collected will be stored in Tick’s rucksack until needed in the game. The rucksack sits in the lower right corner of the screen. Located in the top right corner of the screen are icons to save the current game position and return to the main menu when taking a break from helping Tick obtain his heart’s desire.
As mentioned this game’s graphics are from a by-gone period. The various characters are in miniature and, apart from Tick who scurries on his travels, are fairly static while the scenery is definitely retro in style. The game is full of humour although it is often of the type that will make you groan rather than chuckle or guffaw. This blast from the past is available from various on-line stores including Phoenix Online Store and Humble Bundle Store priced at $7.99.
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