Review

The Will of Arthur Flabbington review

The willing and not so willing ghosts of the past, present and future... and pizza!

Juho Rutila

Review by Juho Rutila

Published on Tue Jun 18 2024

Fabio "Guga" Guggeri is the one-man-band running indie studio Gugames, putting out point'n'click games in his spare time. He has participated in multiple game jams releasing whopping six jam games since 2020. The Will of Arthur Flabbington can be seen as the culmination of those jam games as a full blown adventure game that saw the light of day in November 2023.

And what a game it is! The game tells the story of Jack Flabbington, the nephew of late Arthur Flabbington, who was left empty handed after his uncle's demise. Luckily, the uncle in question mentioned something about a treasure in his will. This is the main story we follow as Jack meets all kinds of living persons connected to Arthur, or just be in the way of Jack getting to his goal. But it is not just living persons Jack has to deal with, it's also the ones who have passed on, even centuries ago.

Having ghost characters in puzzle adventure games is nothing new, and there are quite a few adventure games following the same theme coming up in the near future. They give, quite easily, some twists to the puzzles as a ghost can walk through closed doors, possess people and talk to other ghosts. But they have limits, too, like touching and picking stuff up. In the Will of Arthur Flabbington the ghost characters are used really well, and many of the puzzles require some intricate use of the said special skills.

With the three act story being solid and captivating, it was the puzzles that really stood out for me in this game. There are a plenty of them (Over 60 hints' worth!) and the puzzle design is really good at making you think designing puzzles is one of Fabio's strong suits. The puzzles make sense without being obvious. There was only one or two puzzles where I was hoping them to be more clear what they were about, like the Bestia Roja's attack on the city. Some puzzles require repeating a pattern to learn how the world works to finally find the correct solution, and the solution makes sense after that. I didn't even count how many pizzas I baked in the game, it felt like a full work day in Italian pizzeria. Overall, the puzzle difficulty level is spot on, and I encourage you to try out the obvious sounding solutions and hunting for signposts, as this game has plenty of those, before resorting to a hint.

If you're stuck on a puzzle, take a walk. It's an advice that should prove useful several times, as new characters appear after certain events in the world. As a design decision, it's a slippery slope - the player is introduced to a puzzle that can only be resolved at a non-specific later point, when a random character finally makes their appearance. On the other hand, it does makes the world feel alive, as if the non-player characters live their own lives (or afterlives!). Still, the slippery slope can lead to a grind, where you might have to travel far and wide after every advancement. Luckily, the game's progression is quite natural and the "grind" mostly involves paying enough attention to spot these new characters as they appear. It could be worse having to hunt new seemingly random conversations that help you solve the next puzzle, for example. It is easy to spot this kind of constructs when writing hints in my site for the puzzles. It usually leads to a hint like: "Have you visited this unrelated place and solved this unrelated puzzle?" A few of my hints unavoidably prompt you to visit unrelated places to solve unrelated puzzles, but the game doesn't run into this problem often enough for it to become an obvious flaw.

In other aspects, the game stands out in the genre with its voice acting and great pixel-art graphics. On a personal level, I found the game's poster with the more generic vector art to be so off-putting that I nearly passed on the game entirely. Thankfully, the book is better than its cover, so if you find yourself put off by a first impression, don't worry - there's a lot to love beneath that face value. The game also has multiple references to other games, as is the shtick nowadays in the indie sphere. And the humor. This is a "classical" point'n'click in that the game hosts a good selection of jokes and funny bits. The dry, sometimes dark, humor that Fabio spreads in this game always gets me good.

Go look for the will of Arthur, the right Arthur, with Jack, and you will have a blast. And if a puzzle seems hard, remember to take a walk, try out some obvious sounding choices and finally, take a peek at our progress-aware hints, that keep the fun high and spoilers low.

Puzzle Difficulty

Spot on!

Puzzle Satisfaction

Nice

Story

Solid and captivating

Overall

Highly Recommended
About the author
Juho Rutila
Juho Rutila

Hi! I developed this site inspired by Universal Hint System. I really like the idea of gradual hints and I am determined to bring you more of those.

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