Agatha Knife is served as a side scrolling action adventure game, tethered to an interesting story that manages to hold its own through the use of some great dialogue. Players take on the role of the titular Agatha, a young girl that’s every bit as confused as her lifestyle choices. You see, Agatha runs a family butcher shop alongside her mother, but her love for the animals, grouped with her unwavering love for meat, makes for some pretty unconventional choices. The biggest issue, however, is that the butcher shop isn’t getting any customers, so it falls to Agatha to set things straight once and for all.
The game starts you out by showing Agatha and her mother entering a church, hoping that they’ll find a way to change their fortune and luck. It’s here in which you’ll get a basic feel for the game as well as its functionality. Agatha Knife is a point-and-click experience first and foremost, falling inline with such classics like Monkey Island or even SEGA’s Beavis and Butt-Head. There’s a wide range of well scripted, colorful characters to engage with. Before long, you’ll meet a man that claims he will create a new religion to help anyone in need. With this knowledge in mind, Agatha decides that a religion known as Carnivorism is the answer to her prayers.
Carnivorism for Agatha is like hitting two birds with one stone. Agatha believes that through the power of Carnivorism, she can convince the animals to sacrifice their flesh, which will grant them the secret to eternal happiness. That’s about as far as I’m willing to take the story here, because if anything, Agatha Knife’s unafraid, dark and humorous plot, is something that simply needs to be witnessed firsthand. That being said, this game isn’t shy of poking fun at controversial topics, using touchy set pieces such as religion, culture, and animal rights, to carry along its compelling tone.
The controls are pleasantly simple. Movement is tied to the left stick, with the right stick controlling the pointer, which is used to interact with other characters and items. Mercifully the pointer will be outlined in black whenever you hover over something that you can engage with, which is a nice touch that many other point-and-click games tend to overlook. Agatha can indeed pick up items to use at a later, often more relevant, time, so it’s wise to pay close attention to your inventory frequently. The puzzles do have a nice difficulty curve to them, lending the game its challenging edge.
If you’ve played point-and-click games before, you’ll know exactly what to expect. Most of the game takes place within one overarching neighborhood, so backing-tracking never really becomes much of an issue, unlike The Inner World. Puzzles tend to rely on little other than merging objects or using key items at the right time in the right place. It sounds simple on paper, but Agatha Knife manages to keep these moments relevant with the game’s pace and story. If you find yourselves getting stuck, a few conversations with the correct town-folk will usually set you on the straight and narrow, with each and every unique character offering subtle tips along the way.
Don’t get me wrong, Agatha Knife doesn’t remold the genre, nor does it particularly go to new lengths to throw in anything new, but it does a stellar job at mixing its elements together to produce a worthwhile adventure. It helps, of course, that the decent soundtrack and the hand-crafted visuals go hand in hand to bolster its theme and design. The dark humor that’s present throughout the entirety of play is held together well by this choice in art style, and it’s all the better for it. The same can be said about all of the game’s cast of wacky, funny and bizarre characters too. Safe to say that if you’re looking for a comical outing that’s not like anything else in its genre, Agatha Knife has your back.
Agatha Knife is well written, funny and unique. The gameplay doesn’t take the genre to new heights, but it does tick all of the boxes that it needed to, to ensure that the adventure remains fresh and engaging throughout. Group this with the fitting soundtrack and the colorful hand-crafted visuals, and there’s little reason to dislike what’s on offer outside of its potentially touchy controversial subject material.
This game was tested and reviewed on Xbox One. All of the opinions and insights here are subject to that version.