Genre: Point-And-Click Adventure
Release date: September 11, 2016
Bayou Island is the first "official" title released by Andrew Howard, an independent developer who hails from Bristol in the U.K. To test the waters of mainstream gaming, he's made the first segment of his game available on Google Play and the iTunes Store. It can be downloaded, free of charge, and has no gimmicks. What a blessing -- no popup ads or in-game purchases! Instead, it's a first step to provide players with just enough gameplay to get the gist of the adventure and to catch a glimpse of Andy’s talent.
Bayou Island is a traditional point-and-click adventure done in the cartoon graphic style of The Secret of Monkey Island, a classic title from LucasArts released in the late 1990s. Andy admits that his passion for adventure gaming goes back to the days of Ron Gilbert and that titles like Monkey Island are what kick-started his love for the genre. He was further inspired by Ron Gilbert’s current efforts to develop Thimbleweed Park which is another return to classic adventuring and can be followed at https://thimbleweedpark.com/main. Andy notes that Adventure games can be as interesting as you want because they allow the developer to be creative in terms of both the storyline and the artwork.
Bayou Island (Part 1) is a short foray to a mysterious island. Our main character, a sailor, finds himself on an island with no knowledge of how he arrived. The adventure takes off as he begins to search for the truth by interacting with local residents. The game is implemented in the traditional adventure style with inventory and icons for actions. Commands such as "Use Object 1 on Object 2" are built by clicking on the objects and verb icons, in sequence. At this time, the game includes four separate areas to explore that are primarily still graphics with some moving parts. Thus far, puzzles are of the find-and-use variety, requiring creativity in "real world" scenarios. For this first release, all dialog is presented as clickable, on-screen text, and Andy is considering implementing voiceovers for the next phase.
Andy is busy working on Bayou Island (Part 2) and promises that it will “tie up loose ends, introduce more characters and puzzles, and provide a satisfying ending.” For those interested in following his progress, his blog can be visited at http://andyhowardgames.blogspot.co.uk/
I downloaded Bayou Island from the Google Play store and played it on my Android tablet. It's a short-but-sweet return to the classic type of point-and-click adventure that I enjoyed in the late 1990s. I look forward to seeing the second chapter of this adventure and would encourage point-and-click adventurers to give this title a whirl. As Andy pointed out: Developing a game is easy when compared to marketing it, especially when you are up against larger teams with bigger budgets. I applaud him for taking the try-for-free approach as a way to generate interest, and I look forward to seeing his future efforts come to fruition.