By Marty Mulrooney
The Adventures of Bertram Fiddle: Episode 2 – A Bleaker Predicklement is a comedy 2D point-and-click adventure game set in Victorian London, created by Seb Burnett and Rumpus Animation in collaboration with German game developer Deck13. In Episode 2, Bertram has been forced to take a job at Dulsworth’s Soap Factory and leave behind his exciting life of adventuring. However, it isn’t long before he becomes embroiled in yet another mystery involving the ever-elusive Geoff the Murderer…
The first Bertram Fiddle adventure – A Dreadly Business – was a short but sweet affair that showed plenty of promise for both the main character and the series as a whole. This long-awaited second instalment is just as funny as expected, but sadly takes a few steps backwards in the quality control department. Upon release, Episode 2 had a number of bugs including (but not limited to) looping dialogue, graphical glitches and progress-killing dead ends.
A few patches later and things are now much more stable. Having hit a bug in an earlier build that required a restart from the very beginning (the game autosaves), this reviewer managed to complete the game with no serious issues following patch 1.2.2. Therefore, if you were a fan of the first game but held off on this follow-up due to the early negative Steam reviews – now’s the time to jump in feet first!
However, don’t expect everything to be perfect. There are still instances of audio and graphical glitches, and it’s still possible to hit a dead end – although you should at least be able to exit to the main menu and then load your game to continue. There are also several characters that don’t feature any mouth movements when they talk, which is very distracting. It basically feels like Episode 2 could have used another couple of months to bring it in line with the quality of Episode 1.
This far into the review and all we’ve talked about are the negatives. Thankfully, the quality of the writing and the voice acting – along with some amusing puzzles – make A Bleaker Predicklement worth experiencing even if it does fight you along the way. Bertram and his one-eyed manservant Gavin are as charming as ever and the game really hits its stride once the duo venture into the countryside and enter the super creepy Wretchedly Hall.
The Adventures of Bertram Fiddle: Episode 2 – A Bleaker Predicklement offers approximately 5-6 hours of playtime (an improvement on its predecessor) and is very funny throughout. Yes, the storyline is rather thin and wraps up in a bizarre manner involving a hypnotic cat that nonetheless feels far too neat and tidy. Yet, despite these complaints – and the bugs that are still present at the time of writing this review – the British humour and oddball characters, along with the quirky music and voice acting, will encourage players to point and click to the very end.
If you loved the first game, you shouldn’t let the aforementioned negatives put you off too much. There is still a good game to be found here if you can persevere past some minor annoyances and it must be remembered that this project has been undertaken by a very small, dedicated and passionate team. The puzzles aren’t too difficult for the most part and there are a few laugh-out-loud moments that make the whole experience worthwhile. A Bleaker Predicklement may not be Bertram Fiddle’s finest hour, but I certainly hope it isn’t his last.
7 OUT OF 10