If it weren’t for the obviously spoileriffic title, I’d have loved to present you with a riddle. A riddle that’d probably go a bit like this: “What looks like an early Sierra adventure, plays like a late Sierra adventure, smells a bit of Lucasarts and does stand up comedy?” I am certain that nobody would have cried “Comedy Quest!” to that and that’d be sad. Hence, this post’s title and, frankly, this very post itself.
Now, you see, you know.
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You may even have guessed that Comedy Quest is a freeware, AGS-powered adventure with game a traditional interface and you’d be absolutely right. It is. It is also a game about being an aspiring standup comedian trying to make it big(-ish), and thus light-hearted, inoffensively offensive and, twice, downright funny. By being of a humorous nature, Comedy Quest also manages to ensure its typically paranoid puzzles do not feel out of place; not that they are nonsensical or demand demented applications of lateral thinking. Far from it, but they do follow that strange adventure game logic.
All the puzzles are easy and feel integral to the whimsical plot. What’s especially interesting is how you (well, in-game-you) collect and tell jokes, and how intuitive, clever and correct that process feels. It’s something both seasoned adventurers and genre detractors will appreciate.
Also, I must admit I love its graphics. They are old-fashioned, yet also colourful and charming in an albeit garish way, consistently out of proportion, and with too-wrong a perspective to have ever made it into any point-and-clicker of the classic era. I like that. When coupled with the emphatically unprofessional but superbly appropriate voice over (possibly recorded in a cupboard), Comedy Quest sounds and looks exactly like the games I imagined would appear after reading the scratchware manifesto.
Rather surprisingly it’s a big game too, at least by freeware standards. Then again, you don’t get to become a modestly successful comedian by working a single club.