Impressions: Lone McLonegan

Lone McLonegan is a Western point-and-click adventure game developed by Sonomio Games and published by Flynn’s Arcade. I was incredibly interested in this game based on Western and Point and Click alone, but was also pleasantly surprised how much influence this game got from old school point and clicks. While a lot of point-and-click adventure games try to have a more modern flair, this one really felt like it took me back to the 90s ones, in the best possible ways, while still managing to feel fresh and new.

* Note, parts of this Impressions piece might feel a bit vague, and that is intentional. I want to do my best to not spoil anything as I really want to encourage people to play the game for themselves. I also felt like I could say what needed to be said without going into more detail. Anything you are left wondering “I wonder what means” I promise playing the game will make it pretty clear *

In it, you play as Lone McLonegan. The game starts with the news being released that Bragg Badass has robbed a bank and thus become the most wanted outlaw in the west, a title that once belonged to Lone. Lone then sets off on an adventure to steal Bragg’s stolen goods and reclaim his title as most wanted outlaw.

The first part of the game is a pretty decent introduction to the various puzzle types and ways you will play the game. It is relatively short and limited but serves as a decent tutorial without feeling like you are actually playing one. Once you finish the first part, with a bit of a twist, you will then get into the meat of the game, a much longer, more complex second part.

Like 90s point-and-clicks, Lone McLonegan is filled with a lot of humor, references, and 4th wall-breaking jokes. Lone will frequently talk to the player, especially when you want him to do something he doesn’t want to do and/or will cause you to lose the game. Which, by the way, is a great difference from a lot of 90s point-and-clicks, this game is not unwinnable. If you try to do something that could cause you to fail, the game simply won’t let you. I appreciate this, a lot of old school developers were fans of unwinnable states, which I think hurt the overall point and click genre, and there really isn’t much of a reason to bring it back (unless you have a great save system and are soft on how much you can be punished, see The Cat Lady).

Some of the humor is a tad immature, and a bit of it felt borderline to me (playing with stereotypes, etc.), but most of it was pretty fantastic, and nothing felt too far or too immature. I also appreciated the variety. You have the standard of references to other things in geek culture, to silly moments, to how some characters interact with you, such as a mean as heck granny. There were also moments that made me think of games like Monkey Island, where you totally break away from your setting and have a moment of being transported into something/somewhere else.

The game also has a variety of puzzle types. You have your one action button (the mouse) and click through for walk, look at, talk/eat, use, and kick.

– At first, I found myself wishing for a more modern point-and-click style where most games will just pick the most logical action for you, click on a person you mean to talk to them, click on a door you mean to use, or knock on it, etc. However, after getting used to cycling through, I realized it really did help with the old school feel, which the longer I played, the more I realized how vital it was to the game. This game doesn’t just want to be reminiscent of older point-and-clicks; it wants to really transport you back in some ways, and I liked that more and more as I played –

The puzzle types are fairly standard. You’ll have to find a lot of items to give to people and use at different points. There is a lot of needing to go through multiple steps to complete one thing. As an example (and hopefully not too spoiler), you will need to find what’s needed to fix a water tower, find a bucket to use for the water, find where you can get the water from the water tower, fix the bucket, and then take the bucket somewhere else. This all ends up being one step in a pretty important puzzle. This seems overwhelming, but it’s not. Classic point-and-clicks often required multiple steps to solve one part of a larger puzzle, and while laid out like that feels like a lot, there is a natural logic to seeing there is somewhere to get water and realizing, “okay, I am going to eventually need to use that.”

Although I will say this game for sure dips into moon logic territory. For those that don’t know, moon logic tends to refer to puzzle games that present puzzles where you aren’t going to naturally and intuitively say, “oh yes, I can see exactly how and why I will need to do the steps to solve this” and was something present in a LOT of old school games. I felt myself torn between really appreciating it as a callback but also remembering why they weren’t the most popular at times. Still, it’s nothing too much or too far. Although I did personally get stuck and embarrassingly had to reach out for help, but I think a lot of gamers will fare better than I did, especially those with experience with the old-school point-and-clicks.

You will need to go in with the attitude of interact with everything, talk to everybody, pick up everything, etc. I found myself just collecting tons of stuff in my inventory without even knowing for sure when I would need it, but it all comes around, and it’s just sort of how you have to play these games anyway.

But on needing to talk to everybody, there are also a couple of solves that are starting with object A and then trading for B, to C, and so on. This part got a bit tedious, and it can be a problem because unless you exhausted every dialogue option and have a good memory, you might forget who wanted what. Yet again, though, this is part of what helped make it feel like an old-school experience. Old school point-and-clicks had these moments, and thankfully Lone McLonegan doesn’t get as bad as them. Also, and importantly, exhausting all the dialogue is pretty worth it in this game because there are a lot of funny lines.

It can feel slow at times, but that is the nature of this type of game. It never felt so slow that I was bored, even at its “worst,” I was still enjoying it. Though the latter half with the trading was probably the closest, I ever felt to it. The gameplay has a lot of callbacks, but it is never as bad as some of the worst offenders of the old school games, so it struck the balance of making me feel like I was playing a 90s game without all the frustration.

But while feeling old school in gameplay, humor, and dialogue, it does not in the way of graphics. The only comparison there is a lot of zany and fun locations to explore. However, this game looks fantastic. It feels modern, colorful, and fresh. It has good music and solid character designs. Every location has that southwestern vibe to it, but you aren’t just repeating the same dusty old town. It is also pretty well done in how it brings “modern” things in, such as the radio to let Lone know that he’s been bumped from the number one outlaw.

Bottom line? If you like old-school point-and-clicks, I think you’ll really enjoy this game. It is incredibly good at replicating the feel of a 90s point and click but with added spit and polish. Meaning it looks better and plays a bit better while still replicating the humor and the puzzle style that we knew and love. If you prefer more modern ones, you’ll still probably find a lot of enjoyment here too. You might be a bit frustrated by some of the puzzles. I imagine guides will be coming soon, and it’s worth playing through to get unstuck. If you have never played point and clicks… I am a bit harder pressed to recommend it. I think it’s a solid entry and fairly approachable, but it might be a bit much for people who have zero experience with the game type. I still think it’s worth checking out the demo, though, and if you enjoy that, you should be fine. So all around for most people, yeah, recommend.

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