First things first. Agatha Knife is a weird game. A really weird game. But I had a great time playing it, that’s for sure. It’s an adventure that goes to some dark places and tackles some heavy topics, but doesn’t necessarily push as many boundaries as it could have. It’s a relatively breezy point-and-click adventure that goes along at a quick pace, and I finished my time with the game feeling some combination of satisfied and unsettled.
Agatha Knife has you playing as the titular heroine, a seven-year-old insomniac girl who works for her mother’s butcher shop. She grapples trying to balance her love of meat with her love of the animals her mother keeps in the shop. The shop begins to struggle financially, leading Mrs. Knife to go to church to pray for assistance. Agatha learns about the concept of religion, and she eventually goes down a path that leads her to establish her own religion. One that will both help her mother’s butcher shop, and one that will allow the animals to live peacefully when they know their end is near. That religion is Carnivorism.
In case you didn’t believe me when I say this game is weird, then that description alone should clue you in. It’s about a girl trying to establish a religion to calm the animals she’s about to kill for meat. To create this religion, Agatha needs to go on a journey all around her town, helping various people along the way. In true point-and-click fashion, there will be a lot of backtracking, a lot of fetch quests. But I never felt bogged down by it all.
The fetch quests, unlike some point-and-clicks, didn’t feel unnecessary or out of place. I never once felt truly stumped by what I had to do next. Sure, sometimes it took me a bit to figure out what my next course of action was, but it always clicked for me. You may need to engage in some trial-and-error, but most of the time, your first guess is the right one. If you ever truly are stumped, though, you can use your advisor (a fortune teller) for some cryptic assistance.
As a fan of adventure games, I appreciated the simplicity of the game. This may sound like a knock, but it’s not. Sometimes point-and-click games can get overly complicated and obtuse, and thankfully, this one wasn’t that. I mentioned it earlier, but most of my time playing, following my intuition on where to go was the right course of action.
Agatha Knife is a 2D game with a slightly gothic atmosphere. Fitting, if you consider the subject matter. The animation is the smoothest in a game, but it never detracted from the experience. This isn’t pushing the Switch to its limits, but it’s not meant to be. Because of this, the game can easily be played docked or undocked. Naturally, though, the game looks just a tad better in docked mode.
The game tackles some heavy themes, but it doesn’t necessarily go all the way in some instances. The game makes some interesting points on the whole concept of religion, though it can be seen as one-sided. That alone may be a turn-off for some people, but if you aren’t sensitive to such topics the game does have some interesting things to say. Not anything groundbreaking of course, but its a topic that not a lot of games tackle.
The game does attempt to tackle other topics, too, though not to the same degree as its central theme. The ethics of consuming meat is one such topic, but it doesn’t dig too deep as it could have. Agatha loves animals just as much as she loves to eat meat, but that thread doesn’t go much past her trying to comfort her animals in death. It also brings up the question of whether certain meats are more ethical to eat than others, but again, it simply doesn’t do anything with that message. Even the issue of child labor is brought up, but again its swept under the rug. All of this doesn’t negate the experience of playing the game itself, but it would have been interesting to see it to explore these controversial topics a little more.
Overall though, the gothic undertones were really a highlight. The designs were slightly twisted, and the music really helped create a slightly spooky environment. Agatha herself is a great character. As a kid, she clearly sees the world differently than the others. She can be a bit selfish, but what kid isn’t? She’s also a kid who’s an insomniac and may be a little too into her job of killing animals. She has a one-track mind, but that’s the norm for someone her age.
This game also has a very twisted sense of humor. Sometimes it feels like certain elements are there just for the sake of being weird, but other times I wholly appreciated the absurdity of it all. The game is loaded with pop culture references, including memes and references to film and tv. Some didn’t land, some I appreciated, and some flew right over my head. If you didn’t figure it out by now, this is one twisted game.
Agatha Knife is a unique game. It definitely stands out from anything I’ve played, at least. It’s a point-and-click adventure that never gets too complex or difficult. It has a great sense of style and tackles some themes that a lot of games stay away from. It doesn’t always go all-in on these complex themes, but other times it does have some interesting things to say. The ending is one of the weirdest and most unsettling scenes I’ve played through in a while. All around, my journey to create Carnivorism is one of the more memorable I’ve been on, and I can definitely see myself going on a repeat adventure with Agatha again.
REVIEW CODE: A Switch code was provided to Brash Games for this review. Please send all review code enquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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