The usual problem with puzzle adventure games is that they tend to get a bit boring for gamers who are more into more dynamic games. The gameplay tends to be more static and subdued than the usual triple-A fare that is in the mainstream market, so it tends to take a backseat. But whenever there is such a game that plays differently, it does merit some looking into. Journey of a Roach is one of those puzzle adventure games that puts something different on the table. It’s also a good change from all the serious games set in post-apocalyptic worlds, so that’s a good bonus.
Journey of a Roach, developed by Koboldgames and published by Daedalic Entertainment, is a puzzle adventure game that combines point-and-click elements with some platforming. It has a bit of A Bug’s Life vibe to it, and the setting is lighthearted and charming on its own way. You play as Jim, a cockroach living in a world void of human life, most likely due to a nuclear war. He is with his clumsy friend Bud, who seems to always get himself in trouble. Bud had found a flower, a rarity in this post-apocalyptic world, and he wanted to go find it with Jim. However, they get themselves into trouble while trying to get to the surface, and Jim must get them both out of whatever mess they’re in and reach the flower.
Despite the world being a supposedly dreary post-apocalyptic world, the characters within give it a laid-back atmosphere amidst the eeriely quiet ambience. Jim and Bud are not exactly bright, but they’re lovable enough as idiots though. They don’t really talk much though, as do other characters in the game. They just talk in thought bubbles with illustrations in them, and that’s it, so understanding whatever is supposed to be done may be a challenge. There is also some calming background music that matches the lighthearted feel of the game, so you are able to focus on coming up with ideas while trying to solve the puzzles in your way.
The most notable feature of the game is being able to climb walks and cling on to ceilings, obviously because you are a cockroach. When you walk up a wall, the screen turns along with you and you are able to explore in a 3-dimensional way. The puzzles that you have to solve are quite sensible and pretty fun to solve. Most of them are about finding objects and using them to solve problems, so must of the puzzle solving is about associating the items to interacting with other items, either by combining them or using them on whatever can be interacted in the environment. With the wall-climbing mechanic, looking for those items becomes more fun than in the usual hidden object games.
If ever you get stuck in a puzzle, you can find hints by hovering your cursor over the various objects in the level. Soon enough, you can understand whatever you need to do, so long as you are able to find all the items that you have to pick up. You have an inventory for accessing those items you pick up, as well as a map to see where you should go next. Even though you may get stuck in some of these puzzles, they are not unfair at all in their difficulty and can be solved with the use of logic and common sense, or at least anywhere near it. There are also quite a few red herrings though among the items that you pick up along the way, since some of them just disappear from your inventory when you go on to the next area without being used at all. Also, a lot of those items tend appear in the inventory as a silhouette, so you may not recognize some of them at the start, or perhaps never at all if you’re a bit on the thick side.
This game is a pretty good puzzle adventure game with a different way of exploration, making it less dull than most of its counterparts. The various characters in it have their own quirks and are well-designed as bugs. Its price point of $15 is alright for the most part, although some people may want to wait for a sale to really get value out of it. But if you want a break from all the intense action-packed games, then this is a good option for that.
Tested in PC. Final Score: 7.5/10