If all games were graphic adventures, I’m sure the world would be a better place. Were it up to me to decide, all games would be point-and-click adventures. There would be no Sony-style narrative-heavy games, no Souls-likes, no battle royales, no asymmetrical multiplayer survivals, no roguelikes - none of today’s popular genres. And they wouldn’t need to be traditional yarns about heroes and villains, saving the world or uncovering culprits for whatever heinous crimes, either. A point-and-click adventure could as well be about a seven-year-old girl who starts her own religion, which is just what Agatha does in Psychotic’s Agatha Knife.
Agatha loves animals. She loves to play with them, cuddle them, and then chop them up into pieces for her mother to sell in their butcher shop. However, it makes Agatha very unhappy that animals are so afraid of her when she takes out her knives. Besides, the butcher’s shop could do better, too, as the competitors are dumping their prices. At their most desperate hour, Agatha is pushed into building her own religion to solve the shop’s problems, the idea being that animals converted to “Carnivorism” would be only too happy to give their lives.
It’s not easy to create a religion and there’s a lot to do before the first mass can begin, like writing the holy book of Carnivorism and finding a suitable place for a sanctuary. Solving these practical issues, Agatha Knife plays out like any point-and-click adventure and follows a classic formula of “I scratch your back if you scratch mine” to overcome obstacles. However, instead of a weave of interlocking puzzles like in most adventure games, Agatha deals with one problem at a time. She’ll travel to and from locations situated along a short block along with a few offsite locations that make for a relatively small play space that lacks variety. Most of the game’s background locations were previously used in Mango Protocol’s last game, MechaNika, because it runs parallel with the events of Agatha Knife. Much to my delight some puzzles come with alternative solutions that puts a welcome amount of creativity into solving them. The game’s controls suffer as a result of it being converted to the PlayStation 4 from the PC, in which Agatha can be moved with the left thumbstick and the on-screen pointer is manipulated with the right stick, a system that is jumpy and too imprecise.
One glance at this review’s screenshots might give the impression that Agatha Knife could pass for a children’s game because of its naive and expressive visuals. And it might if it wasn’t so morbid. Anything weird and bizarre - like talking animals or a vet that sells meat from the animal he cares for – is normal in Agatha’s world. At one point, she meets up with Nika from MechaNika who has her own sinister plans and helps Agatha several times during the adventure. The game is chock-full of popular culture references and Easter Eggs, all warped to serve an unconventional delivery. For a seven-year-old child, concepts like doing sin or martyrdom are totally unknown and there’s fun to be had when Agatha learns what they are and how she applies that to her proselytizing. However, it’s best not to use the game as a textbook for children as it has a lot of cynical things to say about religions, faith and believers, waxing on about everything with a thick layer of absurd dark humor for a better effect.
However, for all that talk about the game’s subject matter, its satire is no stranger than what you used to see in South Park’s heyday. Agatha Knife is all barks and no bite as it makes fun without being mean or mocking. I expected to sit through some profound lesson but much to my surprise – and without spoiling too much – the outcome was positive for all the parties involved. In the end, the unique presentation and a curious premise hide a somewhat familiar parody and the so-called criticism the game likes to think it represents isn’t as sharp as Agatha’s knifes. Or maybe I’m so used to all things weird that it would take something more outrageous to freak me out. On the other hand, maybe it’s better that Agatha Knife plays it safer because even the most straight-laced individual can enjoy the charm of Agatha’s sincere antics set against a strange world of (make)belief.
Video game nerd & artist. I've been playing computer and video games since the early 80's so I dare say I have some perspective to them. When I'm not playing, I'm usually at my art board.