There’s just something special about frolicking in a meadow for a while without a care in the world and that’s the best way I can describe Danny Dread is On Call. A cool breeze blows through your hair as you prance through the beautiful flowers, even if you don’t have any real reason to do so and you have minor allergies.

But enough of my odd and slightly creepy analogy that will become a little more clear momentarily, let’s get down to the meat of Danny Dread. You play the title character who has been commissioned by his mad scientist boss to fetch an animal for the purposes of mad science. I’m not going to spoil anything, but let’s just say this game doesn’t have PETA’s stamp of approval. To accomplish his task, Danny must explore three whole locations, look death in the face, and, in his words, “combine two seemingly unrelated objects to make a third object.” The last one is what we’re here for, so let us attack the…

PUZZLES

Danny Dread‘s puzzles strike a very nice balance between the opposing values of challenge and clarity. In my mind, the best puzzles are the ones that you figure out yourself before you have to visit the help forum, and Danny Dread excels at this. Granted, most of them have been done before and a couple take a few annoying tries, but there’s always logic behind them. Even the ones that you can redo have humorous results when you mess up, which links me nicely to the…

Danny Dread

DIALOG/STORY

Danny Dread is really funny. Even the second time through, I found myself laughing at some truly gold material. The game is chock full of satire, most of which stems from the characters. The crazy scientist, the redneck baby, the overly cheerful clown, and the nagging girlfriend all portray their respective stereotypes beautifully. The only issue is that their existence seems arbitrary in light of the puzzle piece-thin story. It seems the narrative only exists to give some justification and context for the puzzles and humor, both of which are great, but they’re having to support something that couldn’t stand up on its own. Overall, though, it gets the job done and you’ll be having so much fun with the puzzles and humor that you won’t notice it. However, it’s my job to notice it so just be warned that this isn’t quite David Copperfield in terms of story.

EYE/EAR CANDY

While I certainly do not believe that good graphics can make a game, they sure as hell don’t hurt. Danny Dread‘s visuals are clean, colorful, and, um… cool. Rendered in glorious 320×240 resolution, Danny‘s pixel art graphics are nostalgia fuel, complete with handy verb GUI. I’d hazard that only a handful of other games have a “Kick” verb, which, unfortunately, seems to exist only for one puzzle and various jokes. The character sprites are great and the animations are smooth. The clown deserves a special mention, not only for his hilarious personality, but also for a sprite that matches it. The sound and music department is also well-covered, nice retro soundtrack, funny little sound effects, which nicely round out the experience.

Danny Dread

THE EXCITING CONCLUSION

Danny Dread isn’t a particularly ambitious game, it wouldn’t do well at GameSpot bingo for not being “compelling” or “epic,” but what it does, it does dang right. Compared to McCarthy Chronicles, which set out with an entirely different goal in mind, Danny Dread is On Call seems to be trotting over old ground, but succeeds at what it intends to do and is arguably the better game for it. If you don’t enjoy the colorful characters, clever puzzles, or pretty graphics, then you’re probably one of those people who don’t like frolicking in meadows. It’s definitely worth a play, even two. On last thing though, I’m not surprised that the game’s creator, Green Boy, is from New Zealand, considering the sheep jokes.

Drew’s Score: 3+/5 starks

+” for profound critique of the current state of the Canadian education system. I mean for funny jokes.

DDQScore™: Kiwi (small, sweet, has sheep jokes)


Note: Download Full Game Here

Personal Note: Drew Wellman is part of the Rebel Alliance and a traitor, take him away!