Apr 26, 2017 Last Updated 5:21 PM, Apr 26, 2017

The Wardrobe Review

Published in Adventure
Read 707 times
Rate this item
(0 votes)

There are few things I love as much as a fresh, sparkling-new title that manages to teleport me back in time to the long-ago video games that helped define my tastes in gaming. The Wardrobe is a distinctly pleasant experience in that it seamlessly captures the point-&-click yesteryear, conjuring forth memories of Lucas Film Games' classic Maniac Mansion and other early-generation SCUMM series. It's a big dose of ‘90s era nostalgia, but has Adventure Productions published an experience worthy of such beloved associations?

The Innate Danger of Plums

In The Wardrobe, players assume the role of Skinny, an animated skeleton who perished at the hands of Ronald, his best friend. It all happened five years earlier, when Ronald and his buddy decided to enjoy a picnic, complete with plums for dessert. Sadly, Skinny was unaware of his deadly allergy to the purple fruit, and Ronald was traumatized by his BFF's sudden, horrific demise. Skinny, our boney protagonist, then found himself mysteriously teleported into Ronald's wardrobe, which served as his home while he watched over Ronald in the years that followed. However, fearing for Ronald's eternal soul, given his denial about the plum-induced death, Skinny decides that it's time to venture out and convince Ronald to confront his unintentional crime.

The highly detailed but amusing environment of Ronald's house is slightly overwhelming at times, but it is an impressive starting point for Skinny's quest, and I eagerly explored all the things. The Wardrobe has a great mechanic which allows players to illuminate all items that can be examined or interacted with (by pressing the middle mouse button). The controls are intuitive and simple to use; right-clicking allows examining, dialog, and other commands, and left-clicking provides quick, brisk navigation around the scene.

Random Objects, Obscure Solutions

One complaint that I have about The Wardrobe is that the gameplay gradually delves deeper and deeper into obtuse puzzle solutions. Instead of using an item in a remotely logical way, players have to experiment with increasingly wild combinations. While I enjoy unique object selection and challenging puzzle solutions, I tend to get frustrated when the design feels intentionally convoluted and confusing, rather than cleverly deceptive. Here is a theoretical example (so as not to spoil): When you need to throw a screwdriver at a person to blind them, rather than using it to unscrew a panel, wedge something closed, or pry something open, the items you encounter start to feel inconsequential rather than entertaining. This tactic often leads to haphazard click-and-drag attempts and backtracking to test everything in your inventory against each object open for interaction. It's an effective way to prolong the gameplay and increase duration, but those are minutes spent frantically throwing stuff together rather than enjoying the quest for solutions.

A similarly annoying, not uncommon issue was a touchiness involving the dragging of items from my inventory to combine them with objects in the environment. Several times, I would have a theory of a combination that would be a solution to a current roadblock, only to try the pair, get no result, and – after a half hour of floundering – come back to the same combination, only to have a different result. It seems that there's a level of finesse required for some of these combinations – a tiny hitbox, so to speak – so, if you find yourself stuck and shocked that your solution isn't correct, be sure to try to mesh the items together in different ways before giving up entirely. [EN: Now, That's What I Call Frustrating, Vol. 7!]

That said, I enjoyed the variety of content within The Wardrobe. The hand-drawn, vividly colored landscape was charming and chock-full of pop culture references. It seemed as though each screen I encountered and every location I graced had some reference to another title, series, or franchise; I especially loved the tributes to other point-&-click hits like Day of the Tentacle, and popular Adventure sagas such as Don't Starve.


The Verdict

Point-&-click titles like The Wardrobe, or any series within the genre, bears an inherent risk of low replayability. The story unfolded, the items utilized, the puzzles conquered – upon completion, few players return to the game for another run, lovely artistic style notwithstanding. Thus there is extra importance placed on the novelty each experience, if the adventure is to stand out in the sea of retro-inspired, pixel-laden, nostalgic options. The Wardrobe manages to pull this off with only a few setbacks, and I don't think that's simply my Maniac Mansion obsession leading me to this conclusion. The story is witty, the vast cast of characters is intriguing, and, while the ending isn’t very satisfactory, the journey is a worthwhile one.

I don't think the misadventures of Skinny and Ronald are enough to convert into enthusiasts gamers who dislike this style of gameplay, but I certainly would recommend The Wardrobe to any point-&-click fans in search of a challenging, lengthy excursion; the hand-drawn world and tongue-in-cheek, slightly sophisticated humor further freshen the appeal of the title, compared to your run-of-the-mill franchise in this classic genre. The pop culture references, smooth controls, quality voice acting, and challenging puzzles made my experience as Skinny a memorable one, solidifying The Wardrobe's worthiness in a library full of infamous series like Sam & Max and Monkey Island.

Lori May

Lori is an avid video game enthusiast who enjoys blending her love of gaming with her work as a writer. She first cut her teeth back on the NES and Sega Genesis systems, and continues to be a Retro-gaming advocate with a soft spot for Point-&-Click Adventures. She's also a Survival Horror and Psychological Horror game collector, when she isn't coercing friends into any number of Co-Op multiplayer titles. If she isn't gaming you can find her working as a journalist and social media consultant, or perhaps dabbling in video game design among other hobby-with-big-dreams endeavors. Born in the heart of the Midwest, she's currently living in Colorado, where she prefers to avoid skiing, snowboarding, and other Mile High City attractions.

Related items

  • Viktor, a Steampunk Adventure Review

    While not everything works, the cartoonish world of Viktor, a Steampunk Adventure shines, and the comedic-relief factor makes it an even more worthwhile addition to a point-and-click library. Although it's a relatively short journey – roughly four to five hours, give or take a few mini-games – the lasting quality of the humor and overall narrative make this title stand out in a sea of puzzle-laden adventure games.

  • Paradigm Review

    Paradigm is proof that quality isn’t the sole domain of big names and hefty budgets. Although the puzzles are a bit lackluster, the overall experience of the game makes it a must-have for fans of the genre. Players that enjoy absurdity and thrill at the idea geeky humor and internet memes brought to life will love Paradigm in all its weird and wonderful glory.

  • Saucer-Like Review

    Saucer-Like is a short-form art piece in its genre. Beautiful art is the main focus in the narrative, with over forty hand-drawn backgrounds, each featuring rich contrasts. Saucer-Like is a solid recommendation to classic point-and-click adventure devotees, and to gamers who seek stories that stick in their heads, the sole caveat being the length of the title, which leaves much to be desired.

More in this category: Chaos Drift Review »

Latest Shows

Mass Effect: Andromeda - AAA Anonymous Epi. 13

Mass Effect: And…

With AAA Anonymous, we discuss our latest AAA game addiction, until the next one replaces it. This episode covers what is to many the most anticipated PC release of the year: Mass ...

OPN DevLounge Monthly - February 2017

OPN DevLounge Mo…

Episode Four, Season One! OPN's DevLounge Monthly is a lively conversation between game developers on Twitch, on the hottest PC games to be released this upcoming month. Watch it o...

Out Soon

PC Gaming Incoming

Little Nightmares

Little Nightmare…

Immerse yourself in Little Nightmares, a dark whimsical tale that will confront you with your childh...

Sniper: Ghost Warrior 3

Sniper: Ghost Wa…

Go behind enemy lines with the ultimate modern military shooter. Play as an American sniper dropped ...



In Prey, you awaken aboard Talos I, a space station orbiting the moon in the year 2032. You are the ...

Planet Nomads Early Access

Planet Nomads Ea…

Given that Planet Nomads is in alpha, some of the issues get a pass, but there are other, more serious optimization problems with this title, and the building mechanic is borderlin...

The Sexy Brutale Review

The Sexy Brutale…

The Sexy Brutale is a lush, deliciously dark game that’s part murder mystery, part puzzle-adventure.Taken individually, the components of the gameplay in The Sexy Brutale are not g...

Lil Tanks Review

Lil Tanks Review

Lil Tanks is a solid title, providing four distinct game modes, twenty unique types of enemies, four tank variants, and multiple power-ups and weapon upgrades. The gameplay is unco...

Five Elements Review

Five Elements Re…

Five Elements is an original, challenging, and solid real-time strategy game. Apart from those accolades, though, there’s not much else that wows the player. If you are a lover of ...

PSYCHO-PASS: Mandatory Happiness Review


Faithful to the franchise, PSYCHO-PASS: Mandatory Happiness manages to involve the player into speculative science-fiction that poses fundamental questions about the human conditio...