Switch owning adventure game fans, take note: George Stobbard and Nico Collard are back in action for the first time on that console in Revolution’s excellent Broken Sword 5: The Serpent’s Curse. In terms of performance, the games looks and plays like the PC and other console versions and the added behind the scenes features split up into extra content are nice additions to an overall solid package that makes for a fine purchase. What starts as a murder in an art gallery switches into George and Nico getting involved in a bit of globe-hopping world-saving thanks to… oh, you’ll see. The game’s got a corker of a plot that takes time to kick in, but it’s got enough twists and turns to keep you playing until the wee hours.
Sticking to the familiar point and click style with inventory-based puzzles and snappy, often humorous dialog, this is a game to savor as it teases the brain with its ever expanding mysteries.Both leads are really great at figuring out (well, with assistance from you) how to cope with everything from trapping a cockroach in a matchbook to having to deal with a few near-death experiences where it seems almost unlikely they’d make it out alive. While somewhat lighthearted in tone throughout, things do get much serious as the threat evolves from what seems like a simple art theft gone wrong to all figurative (or is it literal?) hell breaking loose.
Your brain will get quite the workout with some of the trickier puzzles here. A few are simple as asking questions until you exhaust every dialogue option, while others require some deeper thought and messing around with that aforementioned inventory. There are also NPC’s to aid in order to progress in the game and yes, you’ll want to do your best to help when possible or hinder when necessary lest you become stuck. Fortunately, you can save at any time and the game doesn’t penalize you with a fail state if you make a few errors in your investigations. You’ll just need to get that grey matter percolating to get out of a few jams, is all.
I primarily played through most of the game in docked mode, but it was a nice surprise to switch to handheld mode and find touchscreen use was implemented. As this isn’t an action game at all, it was nice being able to tap and move or use items for a bit. My eyes have to thank Revolution for making the text quite readable in handheld mode, a great thing some ports to Switch seem to miss. Another reason to play on a bigger screen is finding those well-hidden Joey secrets which require locating the exact spot that robo-kangaroo toy thing appears in and activating it for a short bit of dialog. I didn’t find them all on the first play through, but the completion freak in me is compelled to try again once I free up some backlog space.
As George and Nico separate and rejoin during the their travels, you’ll see that despite the obvious attraction and respect they have for each other, they still haven’t gotten anything really romantic going thanks to stuff getting in the way. This is one of the more amusing hallmarks of the series and also a nice check on some games that toss romance angles around like elbows in a mosh pit. I kind of like the mildly flirty banter George and Nico share because you get the feeling that they’ll be quite the couple if they ever do make it legal. Of course, things could go all kinds of wrong and we end up with a far less effective version of Nick and Nora Charles (from The Thin Man series. But I think Charles Cecil (creator and director of the Broken Sword series had some better tricks up his sleeve for the future of this dynamic and handsome duo.
There are a few quirks here, such as an object in one areas being noted as a “stretch goal” when clicked on (which made me cranky because I really wanted to know what the heck it was (other than a Kickstarter goal that may have been unrealized) , the lack of a run button, (the game has a fairly laid-back pace) and a few odd accents. But overall, it’s truly wonderful to see this game appear on yet another console and still be just as entertaining to play as ever. Recommended? Absolutely, but let’s hope we can see the rest of the series gets this royale HD remake treatment one day.
Score: B+ 85%
Review code provided by the publisher