Review by Ben Pierson.
Cheery-as-f**k hobbit music greets us as the title screen loads and we enter the world of Ari, widely ignored chap and protagonist of OKAGE: Shadow King. A somewhat supernatural game that looks like a cross between Monkey Island and a Tim Burton movie, with our main character running about and chatting with other characters and having to collect objects to get through certain doors combined with egg faced monstrosities with eyes on the side of their bulbous faces and limbs like toothpicks who turn out to be our hideously deformed grandparents.
Chapter one opens with our Mum cooking a dinner that she’s oddly reluctant to tell us about. There are 3 conversation options that we can use to talk to the NPCs, though they don’t seem to have much of an effect on the direction that the actual conversation goes as most of what we say gets (often comically) ignored by others but it’s nice to be included. And you can be as salty as you like without your family getting in an arse with you or anyone trying to shoot you like in anything BioWare does.
Our first ‘mission’ is to go and fetch some bread for this illusive meal from the bakery in the nearby village. The game doesn't give you a huge amount of help in what direction to go to reach your objectives but the mini map is pretty simple and it’s easy to figure out where you need to get to.
You go to see a circus perform but you miss it because apparently this circus on puts on a show that lasts the same amount of time as the average fart either way, your sister gets got by a ghost, passes out and when she wakes up, can only speak in pig latin. Fortunately the day before this happens, your father discovered ‘Pollacks Bottle’ that can change people's future and ends up containing an Evil Butler called James and Evil Lord Stanley Hihat Trinidad XIV, who will save your sister but only if the rest of the family sells their souls to him. Bit of a steep price if you ask me but they all agree to do it anyway. Stan Hiphat Trippydude XXX cures your sister but also turns here shadow pink due to him being bad at maths, not so bad that he can’t manage to attach himself to our shadow and make us his servant forcing us to help in his plan to conquer the world, starting with the village down the road. Evil bugger doesnt even let us have breakfast beforehand. This doesn’t quite go to plan however as our Dad has been telling everyone how Stan helped save our sister and how lovely he is, so no one's scared of him at all, much to his annoyance. He doesn’t help himself when he ‘shows of his powers’ by retrieving an old lady's hat from a tree but, hey, you do what you gotta do when it comes to showing of supernatural abilities, right? When you enter the village you’re told there’s a ghost in the church after some kind of treasure. Stan what’s it to increase his (so far, rather tame) evil powers, so we have to go help him get it. We end up fighting with the ghost and two frog monsters in a simple, turn based fight, in which I die immediately because I’ve never played Final Fantasy. We’re booted back to the title screen where we can start a new game or restore a saved one. It is at this point that I realise that I didn’t save in my bedroom just before Stan showed up and that OKAGE: Shadow King doesn’t have an autosave feature. Bugger.
All in all OKAGE is a decent game with an entertaining story and descent gameplay. All I’d say against it is that an autosave would have been lovely. I’d recommend playing this enjoyable piece of whimsy but don’t do what I did. Remember to save whenever you can. You never know when a frog monster is gonna jump on your head and ruin your day.