Even after just ten minutes of play, it’s almost impossible not to fall in love with Bilkins’ Folly. A light-hearted puzzle-solving romp starring one Percival ‘Percy’ Bilkins as its main protagonist – a wannabe pirate turned wide-eyed explorer, Bilkins’ Folly thrusts players onto a set of Caribbean islands during the Age of Piracy, as Percy attempts to track down his missing relatives and uncover the treasures which lay beneath the sands of those isles. Filled to the brim with charm, engaging puzzles, a real sense of exploration and a mechanic centred entirely around a Very Good Boi, Bilkins’ Folly isn’t just the perfect palette cleanser for much of the AAA fare that we’ve been exposed to lately, but it also cements its place as a tremendous adventure for the younger folk, too.
Bilkins’ Folly PS5 Review
A Light-hearted And Charming Puzzling Pirate Adventure That Everybody Should Play
A puzzle solving adventure that’s absolutely dripping with soul-affirming wholesomeness, Bilkins’ Folly’s tale of a wayward soul looking for his missing mother and grandfather unfolds in a isometric fashion, as Percy must wander the islands of the Caribbean trying to put together a crew so that he can expand his horizons even further still by digging up some lost forgotten treasure all the while he searches for his long-lost relatives.
Perhaps more than anything else that you’ll be doing in the early going of Bilkins’ Folly, digging for treasure is (perhaps unsurprisingly) the order of the day, not least because it’s the primary method by which you’ll collect many of the items and trinkets that are needed to progress through the game. There are layers to do this however. Though you can quite easily dig wherever you want, doing so with proper direction means you’ll be scooping up handfuls (or spade-fuls) of sand and pretty much little else.
Brilliantly, this is where the core design of Bilkins’ Folly comes into play because early on Percy reacquaints himself with the family pooch, Drayton, who as it turns out, is an adept hand at sniffing out buried treasure and other such hidden objects by barking in the vicinity where Percy should be digging. Additionally, by interacting and spending time with Drayton, as well as giving him treats, you can unlock a range of additional skills to make him a more capable doggo companion too – increasing his treasure-finding efficiency and gaining a range of additional skills (and tricks) to boot, as well.
As well as bringing a neat element of progression to the proceedings, the relationship between Percy and Drayton also happens to be devastatingly wholesome and the gorgeous pixel-art visuals do a fantastic job in underscoring it. With multiple animations for stroking and hugging Drayton, Bilkins’ Folly absolutely provides the most satisfying and best depiction of our loyal furry friends – I mean just look at that gif below – have you ever seen anything more pure and wholesome in your whole life?
And really that’s emblematic of the entire experience in that Bilkins’ Folly, is a largely wholesome, charming, combat-free adventure laced with brain-tickling puzzles and the sweet satisfaction of discovery. Equally, the dialogue of the various folks that you’ll speak to is also frequently light hearted and amusing, with multiple dialogue options that each have a touch of Monkey Island flavoured absurdity to it, making every conversation a real delight.
When you’re not island-hopping with your four-legged friend and digging up items to allow you progress through the game, Bilkins’ Folly also has you solving a wide variety of different puzzles too. From relatively basic block-fitting puzzles whenever you start to pick a lock, to more sophisticated conundrums involving all manner of symbols, numbers and more – each puzzle can be solved logically and as such, they present a decently proportioned challenge for gamers of all ages.
It’s also worth mentioning that there is a fair amount of backtracking in Bilkins’ Folly, not least because you’ll gain access to items that will in turn enable you to delve into previously inaccessible areas. Thankfully, a handy fast travel system mitigates the frustrations of this largely, though the fact remains that Bilkins’ Folly is a laid-back, somewhat plodding puzzle adventure, so if you were expecting something with more urgency, Bilkins’ Folly might not tick all of your bingo boxes, so to speak.
There’s also a real sense of discovery and wonder to Bilkins’ Folly too. Whether you’re tearing through the depths of a forgotten mine in a rickety cart, paddling over to an abandoned galleon or even just taking part in a wealth of varied minigames, there always seems like there is something new and fresh to get stuck into in Bilkins’ Folly.
And then there is the visual presentation of the whole package. Though it’s a pixel-art only affair viewed from an old-fashioned isometric perspective, the animations on the character models often exude more character and charm than many of the more high-end, fully three dimensional character models that we see in contemporary AAA offerings. Bilkins’ Folly just oozes charm and loveable character from every digital pore.
While the relatively laid-back and plodding pace likely won’t be for everybody, it’s fair to say that Bilkins’ Folly represents an almost perfect storm of engaging characters, gorgeously framed visuals and refreshingly non-combat focused adventuring that gamers of any age can fully enjoy.
Bilkins’ Folly is out now on PS4 and PS5.
Review code kindly provided by PR.