I certainly couldn’t make a
game, let alone design a game engine, but from what I have read Mr
Howard has done both with Bayou Island. Taken from his website, it is
also made “with the love and inspiration of the point and click
adventure games of the 90s”.
The game casts you in the role
of a ship’s captain, who is missing his ship. Missing a lot of things in
fact, including his wife. He comes too on a beach, not sure of what
happened, and sets off to see what he can discover. Talking to the only
other person he can see seems like a good start. About an hour later, he
will have unravelled the mystery.
Bayou Island is point and click
all the way, using hotspots and action icons to explore your world.
Interestingly, you can use either the left or right mouse to do the
interactions; perhaps there are particular ones that require one and not
the other, but in playing around they seemed completely interchangeable.
You can click the environment to walk to that spot, or you can choose
the “walk to” icon if you want to go to one of the hotspots (usually an
object or a person).
The little magnifying glass
bottom right of screen will highlight the hotspots for you should you
want to use it, and the treasure chest below it contains your inventory.
Drag icons within your inventory to combine with each other, select the
“look” icon to examine them further, or the “use” icon to utilise them
in the game world. Successfully using them removes them from your
inventory, and I don’t think I ever had more than about five at any one
You can’t play full screen but
you can play in a window almost the same size as your screen. The game
ribbon will remain at the top and depending on how your taskbar is set
up to behave, it may be visible below. There will be a small black band
left and right of the game world, hiding the rest of your desktop. There
are about a dozen game locations, some which scroll left and right.
A little speaker icon top right
allows you to adjust the speech, music and effects volume, and since a
recent update, a floppy disc icon top left enables you to save at will.
Exiting the game (just close the window) autosaves as well. You can
continue where you left off, but you can’t play more than one game at a
time. Starting a new one will erase the old one. I don’t know why that
has to be, but it is short and relatively straightforward, so it isn’t
Voices are fine, the music more
than fine, and the sound effects do what they need to do.
It is modest graphically, and
the character movement is a bit slide and glide at times, but I can’t
draw characters let alone make them move around. In truth, modest is
also perhaps the best description of the game itself. It isn’t hard, and
there are only a few puzzle solves that may hold you up for a short
while. Some solves are a bit silly, and one puzzle won’t let you do what
you clearly have to do until you have a reason to do it, which is a bit
out of whack with picking up random things for no reason at all except
that you can. By contrast, another will let you solve it whether you got
the relevant information from the relevant character or not. The plot
was somewhat less than modest, and wasn’t helped at all by an abrupt and
Bayou Island did leave me
underwhelmed, but it’s so much more than I could do.
I played on:
OS: Windows 10, 64 Bit
Processor: Intel i7-6700 4GHz
RAM: 32GB GDDR5
Video card: AMD Radeon
RX 470 8192MB
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