Wardrobes! They’re typically not a furniture item that you give a lot of thought about during everyday life. You store your clothes and other bits in it, visit it in the morning when getting dressed and move on for the day. The wardrobe doesn’t enjoy the same lofty reputation that the bed has, but in C.I.N.I.C Games’ The Wardrobe this furniture item, unsurprisingly, becomes the most important object to the protagonist of the story. That protagonist is the formerly alive Skinny, whose skeleton is transported to a wardrobe in the home of his friend Ronald, who probably deserves it after accidentally causing Skinny’s death.
The Wardrobe is a point and click adventure where your lateral thinking skills are tested. It’s a staple point of the genre to think outside of the box, but some of the solutions feel way out there at times. That’s when you resort to the age-old solution of just trying to combine different things until something works. Doing this will get you accosted by Skinny as he questions your intelligence, but sometimes he’ll say something that suggests you’re on the right track, just that you’re missing something to progress in that direction. This does point to a lack of being able to deliver clues that feel logical logic. While some puzzles are paramount to keeping the plot going, a few are out of place and don’t have any major impact on the plot.
The Wardrobe’s story just doesn’t flow very well and scenes feel stitched together to get from A to B. There are plenty of characters you can talk to but who have very little bearing on the story whatsoever. Aside from Skinny, everyone is only around for a few moments and they act more like plot devices than anyone you can actually get attached to. Skinny’s mission is to save Ronald from damnation, but there’s no character building for Ronald, which in turn reduces any feeling of care for his fate.
The Wardrobe colourful and cartoonish aesthetic wouldn’t look out of place on TV, though there’s a heavy reliance on pop culture references to dress the world up and fill space. A few subtle nods to other franchises would be fine, but with the sheer volume of pop culture shoved into the game can be distracting at times. What has been done well is the humour which is often deadpan and reliant on situational humour. When it comes to jokes, delivery is key and Skinny’s voice actor does a good job, though, as ever, some of the humour can be a bit hit and miss.
A word of caution for those who do play the game: The Wardrobe lacks autosave which I discovered after going back to it after a break. Remember to save often.
The Wardrobe is a point and click adventure that had a lot of potential, but it lacks what better games in the genre have done. The plot of the game is poorly held together by scenarios that barely make any sense, puzzle design leads to a lot of guesswork with very few clues to steer you in the right direction, and characters are mere plot devices. Yet the humour can be funny if a little crass at times, and while Skinny is a moody and annoyed character, his personality fits for someone who died suddenly in their teens. The Wardrobe had the scope to be better, but a lacklustre plot and strange puzzle design make its hard to recommend for point and click fans.
Version Tested: PS4 – also available on PC and Nintendo Switch