Ben There, Dan That and Time Gentlemen, Please! are two typical indie point & click adventure games that try to bring back the atmosphere of the old wacky LucasArts titles with a large dose of British humour. And it’s not just a gut feeling: the games are full of references and easter eggs about titles such as Sam & Max, Full Throttle, Day of the Tentacle and all other loved classics.
The first game was originally released as a freeware, and like most of the freeware adventure games, it’s more of a showcase of the writing and game design capabilities of the two creators, not a full game. Still, the story works in its own completely absurd way, the places you visit are designed well, and the puzzles are sometimes hard, but not too difficult. And it’s one of the few adventure games where item usage does not equal the main protagonist robbing every person blind, the items come from very logical sources. (Well, mostly.)
The sequel was made as a commercial game and the developers really wanted to give as much as they got. And the problem is that they gave too much. The story takes a very drastic turn in Time Gentlemen, Please, and in the end it becomes too convoluted even for the writers. The puzzles start as quite challenging and I the end they reach almost impossible levels. In the meanwhile the trademark absurd humour start to fade slowly to give room to the increasingly complex plot.
But the game has saving graces, and mostly in the main ideas behind the different time periods, where the developers constructed the most far-fetched, zaniest alternative timelines you can see outside of Doctor Who. And all of those are featured in Day of the Tentacle-like four-dimensional puzzles of course.
To sum it up, these games – particularly the first one – are excellent for those who love British humour and still hold a special place in their hearts for the LucasArts adventure library. And if you like a good challenge in brain-twisting puzzles, then all the better.
But if you don’t like games where some puzzles remind you of Gabriel Knight 3, or absurd humour is not your cup of tea (or pint of ale), then you will find very little enjoyment in these two.