Reemus is a
down-his-luck private exterminator. Liam, his sidekick, is a purple bear
who likes to play the lute. Their goal in life -- to live an adventure
worthy of a heroic ballad. One that will generate deafening applause
when performed at the local pub.
The adventures of the exterminator and his bear
have been chronicled in previous Indie games: The Several Journeys of
Reemus. These can be played for free on the
Click Shake Games website (currently the free adventures include
four chapters, the most recent being The Beastly Blackhole of
In this, their first commercial game endeavor,
Reemus and Liam begin their odyssey in the town of Fredricus. During an
extermination procedure they destroy the local bartender's bed. This
makes him so sleepy that he can't serve drinks. Their mission to replace
the bed will include captivity in the house of the Swamp Witch,
negotiations in the throne room of the Red Ant Queen, and food service
at a birthday party in a termite's nest. The bugs they meet, cheat, and
(metaphorically) Deet are as formidable as one-eyed giants and
traditional monsters -- and far less predictable.
"Less talk. More rock." Sal, Construction Boss
The Ballads of Reemus: When the Bed Bites is
a third person, point-and-click cartoon style adventure. It offers
interaction with a large cast of whimsical characters. The game is
effectively voiced, and dialogs are written with a flair for backtalk
and absurdities. Animated cartoon cut scenes show the characters in
close-ups that let you see the whites of their eyes (or whatever else
might be reflected there). You can click through the dialogs and skip
the cut scenes if you choose.
At various times you assume the roles of both
Reemus and Liam. This eccentric duo enjoys a longstanding friendship
based on their business partnership and its unintentional disasters.
Reemus is a force for disruption. He acts on impulse and he isn't too
concerned about collateral damage. Liam thinks more strategically and
sensibly. He's sweet-tempered and conscientious.
The game environments are colorful, stylized , and
quaint. The human inhabitants favor medieval garb. The insect hordes
lack individualism (and, usually, clothing), with the exception of the
tyrannical rulers and a nasty magic wielder. Background music is
rhythmic and edgy. It's sometimes twangy (this is a story, after all, in
which a bear plays the lute). Often the music is electronic (from
energizing to raucous).
"It kneads. It pleads. It bleeds." Vick, Gadget
Since Reemus and Liam find themselves in sticky
situations, they have to think up cunning uses of objects and the
environment in order to get out alive. You'll encounter many inventory
challenges, some of them multi-stepped. There's also a fair amount of
pixel hunting, as useful items can be non-intuitive and may blend into
the scenery. At times you switch back and forth between the two main
characters, cooperating in order to achieve the goal.
Other puzzles include symbol creation, matching
items in specific categories and using them in combinations, and messing
a bit with motion, temperature, and magnetism. The most difficult
challenges are the optional Achievements -- visual challenges, like
finding and assembling jigsaw pieces or locating tiny bugs and squashing
them. I managed to acquire five of the eight Achievements. The Moth
poster pieces defeated me despite two attempts. I don't even have a clue
as to how to proceed with the Butterfly and Seagull Achievements.
"Get them out of my scent area." The Termite
When the Bed Bites is available in download,
browser, and disk versions. I played the browser version, which took a
few seconds to load each time I returned to the game.
Pressing the "F" key brings up full screen mode;
pressing the "Esc" key puts the game back into a window. This game has
an autosave feature, but it also has a scene selection function which
allowed me to go back to the start of each chapter and replay. This was
essential in allowing me to pick up some of the Achievements. I'd like
to see a similar feature in all games that rely primarily on the
autosave function. Scene selection isn't as flexible as allowing you to
save your own game, but it's a lot more flexible than autosave-only.
Quick List for The Ballads of Reemus: When the
A surprisingly clever
comic adventure featuring Reemus (an accident-prone exterminator) and
Liam (a soft-spoken bear). Colorful graphics and cut scenes reminiscent
of Saturday morning cartoons. Well-written dialog. None of the dialogs
are lengthy and all can be clicked through. Good voiceovers.
perspective, point-and-click interface. I played the browser version and
encountered no problems or glitches.
The bulk of the
challenges involve finding and using inventory items. Medium difficulty
level. The Achievements are optional and are more difficult. The final
challenge is mildly timed. No mazes, no color or sound based puzzles, no
sliding tile puzzles. You can't die.
Appropriate for older
children and up. Autosave only, but the scene selection feature allows
you to replay from several set points. About six hours of gameplay.
Aimed at lovers of tall
tales, oddball characters, and comedic escapades.
Final Grade: B+
What I played it on:
Dell Studio XPS 8000
Windows 7 Home Premium
Intel Core i5-750 processor
6GB DDR3 SDRAM
1024MB NVIDIA GeForce GT 220
The game is available in download and browser
versions. The Collector's Edition includes a disk version. For more
information, visit the
GameBoomers Review Guidelines