Mr. Pumpkin Adventure Review

By Megan Walton,
The point and click genre seems to be more popular than ever at the minute. The simplicity of gameplay matched with an (often) supernatural story and intruiging puzzles seem to make the genre irresistable to a wide audience. Cotton Games released their point and click adventure Mr. Pumpkin Adventure in China last year, but finally the rest of the world (well, America at least) now has the chance to join Mr. Pumpkin on his adventure. Unfortunately, it's debatable whether this is an adventure worth taking.

PumpkinHe looks ready for an adventure

The game begins with the titular character, Mr. Pumpkin, having a nightmare of some kind. After awakening abruptly, he realises he has no idea who or where he is, or what exactly is going on. You will join Mr. Pumpkin on his adventure to get his memory back and figure out what to do next. The world feels like something out of a Tim Burton film, with weird characters and mishapen buildings. As you move from area to area, it feels like you are constantly met with something strange. Whether it's the fruit and vegetable themed characters, or a person missing half of his peanut head, the game will make you wonder what on earth you are looking at half the time. This is coupled with an erratic soundtrack that feels very intrusive with its loud noises and sudden changes. The world feels off and this is reflected in the weird story.

A game with little gameplay often thrives with its storytelling, but Mr. Pumpkin Adventure starts as it means to go on — badly. The brief story is told across eight chapters at most — you could finish the game in chapter six, seven or eight, depending on what you do — all of which are fairly short and some of which are incredibly short. Unfortunately, the story feels unnecessarily confusing. It is told solely through disjointed comic strips with very little written word. These "cutscenes" do very little to tell you what's going on and leave you more confused after reading them. More of the story is told by some of Mr. Pumpkin's diary pages that you can find across the levels, which talk of a brain experiment and possible memory loss, but nothing is made very clear.

As expected, in Mr. Pumpkin Adventure you interact with items in the environment, pick them up and then use them to solve various puzzles. With no tutorial in the game, you are left to figure out how to use these items. Pressing A to pick them up is pretty obvious, but interacting with the picked up item involved clicking through a number of different buttons before finding the correct one. The items with which you can interact are not always obvious against the level's backgrounds either and you might find yourself getting stuck on a level simply because you missed an item somewhere.

PumpkinSome of the puzzles will no doubt have you scratching your head

There is a big variety in the type of puzzles you come across. You'll need maths skills, memory skills, some out of the box thinking and some common sense. One minute you'll be memorising chess pieces on a board, and the next you'll be interpreting smoke signals or arranging numbers in equations. Some of the puzzles feel too hard, though. Sometimes you have figured out how to solve the puzzle and what it wants you to do but just be interpreting the answer wrong; at times, the game feels unforgiving with the puzzle answers. If you are really struggling, the game offers a fun and unique way of providing you with genuinely helpful tips. You must complete a short jumping mini game and score 200 points, which will then earn you a picture telling you what to do next. This way it feels like you are earning the tip rather than just being handed it.

The game has three different endings, but this isn't made overly clear to you anywhere during your journey. Experiencing all of the different endings will allow you to unlock a secret chapter that is, again, very short. Manipulating the saves will allow you to get all the endings fairly quickly, but even running through the game three times will not take longer than a few hours, as certain puzzles can be skipped when you know what to do and where you are heading. Even with this confusing story, the game does ultimately offer an explanation as to why the world is so weird after combining what's written in the diary pages with a couple of the endings, in a Matrix style conclusion.

The achievement list is mostly straightforward with only 13 to earn in total. There's one for collecting all diary pages scattered around the levels, so you'll need to be on the lookout for those. They are mostly obvious, but once you have finished the level you can't go back, so restarting the game and playing through again is the only way to pick up missed pages. Manipulating saves can help you get all the ending achievements easily, and you'll then need to complete the secret chapter too. All in all it is not too bad a list, if you manage to get through the game that is.

Summary

Although there is a good variety in terms of puzzles in the game, there's very little else to shout about here. The story feels overly confusing from start to finish, and the variety in puzzles is let down by the sheer difficulty of some of them. A peculiar soundtrack accompanies a surprisingly short adventure that finishes way too soon and leaves you with more questions than when you started. Mr. Pumpkin Adventure could have been a really interesting point and click game, but only lands in the average category instead.
4 / 10
Mr. Pumpkin Adventure
Positives
  • Tips genuinely help and are earned via a mini game
  • Nice puzzle variety
Negatives
  • Story is unnecessarily confusing and very short
  • Some puzzles feel too difficult
  • Erratic soundtrack
Ethics
The reviewer spent 4 hours pointing and clicking her way through the game, not really understanding what was going on but managing to unlock all the achievements after a couple of playthroughs. An Xbox One review code was provided by the ID@Xbox team for the purpose of this review.
Megan Walton
Written by Megan Walton
Megan is a TA newshound and reviewer who has been writing for the site since early 2014. Currently working in catering, she enjoys cooking extravagant dishes, baking birthday cakes for friends and family in peculiar shapes, writing depressing poetry about life and death, and unlocking every achievement possible.