Humorous point and clicks are definitely a complicated affair, in that everyone can sit down and be inspired by the classics of the genre (here’s looking at you, Monkey Island), but actually come up with something worth playing? That’s an entirely different affair. While I was never really partial to games that tried to cram as many jokes as possible in a few lines, I can appreciate humour that knows how to pace itself along with a light sprinkle of cultural references. In this, Justin Wack and The Big Time Hack succeeds quite well.
The story goes that unlucky nerd Justin is recovering from a breakup with his girlfriend, keeping busy by looking for something edible in the office’s kitchen. But that “No metal in micro” was quite the serious warning, as putting a tinfoil pie in the microwave opens a time portal to the prehistoric age. Exploring around Justin gets trapped in the past, while caveman Kloot goes around exploring in our present time. Clearly, this will have to be fixed, especially because there are robotic special agents on our tracks, looking to end this whole thing by killing both caveman and nerdy office man.
In the tradition of Day of the Tentacle, we will soon be able to control both characters in different times, Justin and Kloot. As anyone who has played the classic Lucasarts point and clicks will expect, they will also (soon) be able to share inventory objects with another. Luckily, this is done in quite a modern “drag and drop” mode, instead of having to go back and forth in one location. This comes into play in the third chapter, while before some of the puzzles will involve doing something in the past to influence the future and help Kloot adapt to our modern times.
The humour will come from a variety of different absurd situations, like the fact that the dinosaurs in the prehistoric age are controlling the cave folk and pretending to treat them well, only to then eat them. While Kloot in our modern time will adapt quite quickly to social media and dating profiles, he will still continue to have a complicated relationship with dogs which he calls “the dinos of our age”. There will be indeed several pop cultural references both to other point and clicks (I’ve definitely noticed the Mr Stobbart) and also to bands like The Smiths and The Cure, along with Twin Peaks and Airplane!, which the devs really seem to love.
All dialogue is dubbed, with some pretty valid voice acting overall, especially the robotic special agents, which all sound like a kind of bored Sean Connery, are definitely a standout. The puzzles mostly seem to make sense, even though the number of inventory items tends to grow over time and by the third chapter we’ll have something like 20 items between Justin and Kloot, which with the added sharing of said items between the two characters, may definitely cause some confusion. Luckily, there’s a quite handy “phone line” hint system built in, which gives one single hint on each objective, so limiting spoilers as much as possible.
Graphically, Justin Wack works pretty fine with detailed sprites with big heads and an overall exaggerated comic book style. Backgrounds are also well designed and kept clean, so as to not clutter each scene with too many potentially interactive items. Humour, as mentioned, is pretty much on target from what one might expect from such an adventure game, you can expect a lot of puns. Unfortunately, there are a couple of fourth wall breaking moments, which are my pet peeve, but luckily they are kept to a minimum.
Justin Wack and The Big Time Hack is definitely one for the point-and-click aficionados, one of those games that seem to be made by fans for the fans. With an overall solid design, some well-crafted (and quite fun) puzzles and good pacing of humour, Warm Kitten’s title is one that can be easily recommended to veterans and may also be a good one for newcomers. Going back and forth through time, the adventures of Justin and Kloot will definitely satisfy and keep adventurers happy.
Our Justin Wack and The Big Time Hack review was created with a review key made available by the developer. Justin Wack and the Big Time Hack is available on Steam.
Platform : [PC]
Developer: Warm Kitten
Genre: Point and click adventure
Release Date: August 2022
Justin Wack and the Big Time Hack: Justin Wack is a solid point and click adventure with some interesting pop cultural references and entertaining characters and situations. It definitely hits more than it misses, offering a delectable slice of time travelling fun. – Voxel Smash Staff