Review: Jacob Jones and the Bigfoot Mystery Episode One – A Bump in the Night
Summer camp is a customary part of life for some kids growing up, being shipped off to the woods under the care of wacky camp consolers and hanging out with “interesting” camp mates. You interact with nature, eat questionable food, hear all sorts of crazy stories/myths, and solve mysteries with your Sasquatch friend…well maybe not that last one. But in the first episode of Jacob Jones and the Bigfoot Mystery the title character does just that as he attends Camp Eagle Feather.
Being on the Vita Jacob Jones does a great job presenting itself. The world has a unique look to it combining a papercraft style for the environments and vinyl figures for the characters that works great together. The games is also fully voiced and besides one character, Billy Jackson whose voice seems a little off quality wise, are all voiced rather well and help bring across each characters personality and the humor in the story.
All 24 puzzles (and in fact the whole game) are controlled using just the touch screen and I found that they all controlled well, with one exception that involved holding down on a puzzle piece to rotate it. Through playing the game you will have to put your math, logic, observation and lateral thinking skills to the task as you solve the problems that the residents of Camp Eagle Feather are having like helping Billy Jackson figure out which of his action figures is the strongest and trying to cut a pizza in a way that satisfies each camper, which proved that my pizza cutting skills were definitely not up to par. Each rewards merit points (that go towards an overall score) and a wittily named merit badge, for example the Errant Timber Disposal badge for removing a fallen tree out of the way. Out of the 24 there are a couple of puzzles that are similar, but for the most part I found a nice variety with none that I disliked. The game also does a wonderful job of creating a little bit of tension before letting you know if you were successful or not which made those right answers feel that much better. I probably enjoyed more then I should have and the only penalty if you are wrong is that you would get the full merit points for the puzzle, you can try as many times as you like.
Warning: Playthrough Preview may contain spoilers.
Since you can retry a puzzle as much as you like the only penalty for a wrong submission is not getting the full merit points for that puzzle, but to help you out with some of the harder ones you can take advantage of the hint and pass systems that the game uses. Each puzzle has three different hints you can use that offer helpful advice without straight out solving the problem for you with each costing one, two, or three phone credits (more on these below). You also have three puzzles passes that can be used to bypass a puzzle altogether for those ones you just can’t figure out no matter how many times you try. What is also good about these is that you do not get penalized for using them, so if you do need that little push in the right direction you don’t have to worry about it negatively affecting you. The game also includes a memo that allows you to take notes on the screen or place letter/number magnets to help you figure out the puzzles which while a nice addition I found it more useful in theory then in practice.
To increase your stash of precious phone credits you need to collect empty soda cans that are scattered all across Camp Eagle Feather (what a bunch of litter bugs those campers are). Each piece of litter will give you one more credit to use for hints and it will take quite a lot of searching to find all 130 cans, taking advantage of the Vita’s tilt function to do so. By tilting the Vita left and right the view angle changes slightly, allowing you to see and collect hidden cans behind object like grass and signs. I found this to be a neat little addition to the standard collectable searching you find in games, but this is also where I ran into one of the problems I had with the game. Some of those cans can be pretty small on the screen and there were times when it would feel like I was tapping directly where the can was located but the game wouldn’t pick up on it or worse when I tried to tap a can and it would end up moving me to the next screen instead.
The game does run good on the Vita though with no slowdowns and only a couple of moments of NPC’s feet not moving when they were walking that stood out to me. For the most part the game is also light on the loading times for puzzles and moving around in the same area , only experiencing longer loading when switching main areas.
You will be able to play through the episode in around four hours which I found to be a good length for an episodic puzzle game (and for the price). But if you want to get some more gameplay out of the title there are six trophies that task you to beat puzzles in the minimum amount of moves possible, which I found to be quite the challenge. You can access all your completed puzzles from the pause menu so you don’t have to worry about achieving them while you are plaything through the story, well that is all but one which for some reason is unavailable.
Overall Jacob Jones and the Bigfoot Mystery provides challenging puzzles in an entertaining and charming world. Lucid games haven’t announced how many episodes there will be or what the release schedule will look like, but if the rest of them are similar in quality as “A Bump in the Night” was I will have no second thoughts jumping into them as soon as they are released.
A copy of this game was purchased for review purposes. For more info on our review policy click here. This review is for the PlayStation Vita version of the game.
What I Like:
- Vinyl + papercraft = awesome
- Great voice acting
- Challenging puzzles with good variety
- Hint system
- The price
What I Dislike:
- Hearing Hans getting electrocuted about 500 times
- Touch not being as accurate as I want when picking up cans
- Not being able to replay one of the puzzles that is tied to a trophy without replaying the game