Every now and then, I pop over to the Carmel Games website for two reasons. One, I honestly want to see how Dakota Winchester’s Adventures concludes and am patiently waiting for it to pop up when available. Not because the plot of where the third ruby is hidden is keeping me up at night or because the characters are a Joss Whedon-level of memorable, but because I like reaching conclusions for things I start, whether they are books, shows, or a less-than-stellar puzzle game. Two, I’m fascinated with the quality of these specific point-and-click adventure games.
Well, there’s no new adventure up yet for Dakota Winchester, but there’s been plenty of new additions from the last few months to peruse. I only have the name and a tiny sliver of art to go on, and so I went with Smells Like Art in the meantime, which actually does not reveal much about itself based on those two credentials. Turns out, it’s a game about poop. Well, dealing with poop. you know, making the best of a bad situation. Our hero Bosko has just inherited a bathroom off the highway from some dead relative, but quickly discovers it is in terrible shape in terms of…acceptable hygiene standards. He decides to change it into an art gallery instead.
That’s the plot. Don’t dig too deep into it. Grossness abounds. The puzzles themselves are not terribly difficult to figure out, as they more or less follow a logical path, save for the part where you are turning feces on the wall into framed artwork. You have a small inventory and can combine a few items together while using others on people or things in the environment. There’s only so many places to visit in the game and, generally, once you’ve acquired everything in the location there’s no reason to revisit, unless you found a pen and know a man who loves pens. You can speak to less than a handful of cartoony characters, but there are no dialogue choices, and they only say a few lines total.
Once again, the writing is silly and too direct, with most of the female characters voiced by a man with effects added afterwards. This doesn’t make them sound like a woman, but rather a woman on drugs or mutating into a small demonic critter. Not a fan. I’m totally fine with old-school adventure games where no characters speak out loud and you have to read everything that they say and imagine their voices in your head. I wonder if all of Carmel Games’ creations contain voicework like this, or it’s just been my luck with the few I’ve tried so far.
Strangely, for all of Smells Like Art, which I finished in just under thirteen minutes as I obviously work towards becoming a professional speedrunner and racking up millions of dollars through sponsors, “Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy” plays on loop. I don’t really understand why it was included. I mean, it’s a dance for a ballerina, not background tunes for some dude dressed like Fred Flintstone as he deals with his serious bathroom issues. In this case, I’d rather have no music whatsoever than this for seemingly zero contextual reason. Yup, you’re reading this right–so far, I want no music and no voices. Guess I’ll just turn my laptop’s sound down next time.
Don’t worry, Carmel Games. I’ll be back to sample some more of your bizarre creations. Maybe one day I’ll actually like the adventure, instead of simply going through the motions, clicking on everything, eyes wide in amazement, brain tingling with the words and turns of phrases I’ll use to describe the latest ordeal. If anything, these games help give my creative writing a big burst of energy.