Over the last few years, Psychotic’s Agatha Knife has been released on the PC, Xbox One and the Nintendo Switch, however, I’d not heard of it until the PS4 version was dropped into my inbox a few days ago. After spending a good eight hours or so with the game (multiple playthroughs to achieve the platinum), there are two major questions on my lips – why the hell have I not heard of this game and WTF have I just experienced!
Combining a decent selection of pop culture with some rather disturbing and borderline psychotic situations and events, developers Mango Protocol have created an original Point-and-Click adventure game which I’ll not forget for a very long time.
Agatha Knife is our titular protagonist, a seven-year-old child who loves animals with all of her heart. Her mother brings in new animal friends for her on a daily basis, placing them in the back room where Agatha lives in the family-run store. However, their friendship doesn’t last long as shortly after their introduction, it’s Agatha’s job to slaughter the animals and prepare their lifeless corpses for display in the front of the shop. Oh, the family business is a butcher’s shop – did I forget to mention that?!
With business declining, fresh meat going to waste, and the fear that the shop may shut down, Agatha and her mother seek out one last source for help – God… Neither of them believes in the Almighty, but there’s a lot to learn about religion and faith in general – someone could worship a block of cheese if they had enough faith in it helping them out in some form!
So, Agatha, with the help of
Marilyn… I mean Minister Manson and the Awesome Sandro, sets out to create her own religion, one which will bring in the punters, increase their sales, and temp the poor animals to wilfully participate in the preparation of the meat.
Agatha Knife is a rather simplistic point-and-click game but it does have a strange control scheme. Basically, you move our protagonist with the left control stick but once you move the right stick, a rather big pointer appears on the screen. This is the equivalent of a mouse cursor which you can move around the screen and click on things. This was my first issue, the sensitivity of the cursor didn’t feel right, I never felt fully in control of it as it didn’t move as smooth as I wanted – resulting in me having to move it back and forth to line up some interactions.
Once you have lined it up though, pushing Cross will bring up a context menu which usually consists of look or talk/interact by pushing either Square or Cross, but other interactions appear later into the game. There’s no button to highlight all of the interaction points either, something I strongly recommend modern Point-and-Click games should have as there is so much you can miss by not realising you can click on it.
Another annoyance is the lack of fast travel. You can warp from one end to the other (thanks to a certain person), but you can’t warp anywhere else or back to him once you’ve left. It’s a one-way trip from left to right. I wish there was a map to instantly jump to where you had to be.
Other than the movement, you have simple inventory management and can only use items with the environment (there’s no combing of items in your inventory in order to solve puzzles). However, this doesn’t mean the game is a walk in the park – there’s very little, if any, hand-holding as you try to figure out the solutions to the obstacles in your way.
Speaking of puzzles, Agatha Knife is a narrative adventure puzzle game which presents you with subtle guidance on what to do next, leaving the choice up to you. The reason why the game took me around eight hours (when it’s about 4 hours to play through depending on your skill level) is that some puzzles have multiple ways to solve the problem at hand.
I love games which do this as it not only opens up the game to more replayability, hinting at new ways to progress via the names and descriptions of the trophies, but it makes you think outside of the box. One such example is when you’re trying to take a book out of the library. you can go the easy route of having some photos done and getting yourself a new library card made, or you can figure out who has a card you can borrow and imitate.
As with all adventure games I review – I’d advise you to play it for yourself first of all with no guides or help (unless you get really stuck), taking in everything the game has to offer and generally enjoying the creative and imaginative narrative.
Agatha Knife has a lot of ‘shocking’ moments, times where I sat back and questioned if they really just said a certain thing or hinted at a horrific event taking place. However, I don’t have to question myself for long as a few minutes later, your suspicions are answered and everything starts to make sense! All I can say is that Agatha is a seven-year-old butcher who plays with animals then slaughters them, and she isn’t the most disturbed person in this town…
I personally loved the direction the game went in with its dark humour and references. Although I was a bit confused at said references as some were pretty much naming them, such as the One Punch Man comic, The Power Rangers Megazord, and Marilyn Manson, yet some like Aliens had changed it slightly so it looked the same but it wasn’t. Almost every screen had me laughing at how crazy the game was though.
As you get further into the game, the humour becomes much more disturbing and psychotic, as your
cult Religion begins to come together and people begin to believe in the things a prepubescent butcher tells them. However, there was never a dull moment and I was thoroughly entertained with great writing, a brilliant sense of humour and narrative which surprised me throughout.
Visually, Agatha Knife has a lot of charm and beauty within it, even though the game looks very simplistic and ‘flat’. The facial expressions, the animations, the random characters you encounter, and the random event scenes all fit the artistic style and presentation perfectly. If the game was more realistic, it would be more akin to a horror or slasher game with the amount of gore and sadistic themes – the cartoon-like appearance is almost nostalgic, especially with the 1990’s references.
One thing I didn’t notice at first, but couldn’t stop looking at once I did, was the PS4’s controller light-bar. Every building you can enter causes the light-bar to change a different colour and when you’re talking to you ‘God’, it flashes in unison with their mysterious voice.
Speaking of voices, Agatha Knife, unfortunately, has no voice acting at all. Every piece of dialogue is displayed as text for you to read rather than any kind of voice acting. For a small studio, this is fully understandable and I’d rather have no voices than bad ones, I just would have loved to hear some of the great dialogue verbally as the timing was comedy gold in some scenes.
In terms of the music, I thought the music was well done and varied enough to keep it interesting. I really have nothing bad to say in regards to this – it was fun and lighthearted despite the crazy narrative undertones.
Agatha Knife is like the South Park of Point-and-Click games, a cartoon aesthetic with very dark and adult themes. Mechanics-wise, the game is rather simplistic and very easy to pick up, but the solutions to the problems will certainly make you think. I love the fact that there are multiple ways to solve most of the obstacles in your way as well as tonnes of interaction points which expand on the brilliantly written narrative. There’s never a dull moment, even when you’re walking around due to a lack of fast travel.
If you’re looking for a fun game to play with a fairly easy platinum trophy, lots of humour and a psychotic seven-year-old butcher, Agatha Knife is for you! Out now on all consoles and PC.
Psychotic's Agatha Knife£9.49
- - Brilliant dark humour
- - Creative problems and 'puzzles' with multiple resolutions
- - Charming visuals to offset the disturbing and horrific events
- - Lots of interesting references and well-written narrative in every scene
- - Fitting music and effects
- - No accessible fast travel (except to go back to your home
- - No voice acting (although I got used to it as I did my own voices)