The Procession to Calvary is a point-and-click game for anyone who enjoys unique visual styles, Monty Python-esque humor, and appeasing the devil.
The Procession to Calvary is a hilarious adventure game by indie developer Joe Richardson. It’s full of some of the world’s most celebrated art and music, clever puzzles, senseless violence, and as the game’s trailer puts it – nude men wrestling by the sea. Truly a game with lots to offer.
It’s Definitely Art
The Procession to Calvary is named after a famous painting by the Renaissance artist Pieter Bruegel the Elder. This concludes the educational portion of this review. The title isn’t just a homage to a great piece of art, though. The entire game takes place inside similar oil paintings, to the sound of (royalty-free) classical music.
The game is also a sequel to Richardson’s previous title, Four Last Things. You don’t need to play the original to enjoy the sequel, though, as the two are only loosely connected, or so I’m told. I haven’t played Four Last Things and had a blast with The Procession to Calvary, although now I kinda want to play the original game as well.
The visuals may be taken from some of history’s most impressive pieces of art, but Richardson makes sure they always seem grotesque and slightly disturbing by using wonky cut-out animations. Though scenes with screaming crucifixion victims or a man being slowly roasted alive might not need Richardson’s help. Art is weird sometimes…
Think of playing The Procession to Calvary as playing through one of those slightly creepy Monty Python animation segments, and you’ll know what to expect. Monty Python’s Flying Circus is actually one of the game’s most significant sources of inspiration. If you’ve ever seen a sketch by the group, you’ll immediately recognize the silly, sometimes macabre humor.
And that style of comedy works great with the game’s plot and your character’s proclivity for murder.
Fighting Tyranny for All the Wrong Reasons
The Holy War is over, the tyrant Heavenly Peter has fled, and all the senseless killing has stopped. Most people would be thrilled, but not your character. She is pretty fond of murdering people, so she takes on herself one final mission – chasing down the former tyrant and, well, murdering him. You know, for the good of the people and stuff…
Off you go, arms and legs flailing all over the place. But the way to the south is long and full of jerks – jerks you’re going to need to help if you ever want to reach the halls of Heavenly Peter. You’re going to be facing a few puzzles in The Procession to Calvary. You’ll help a street magician (who might be the messiah) perform his greatest trick yet, solve a riddle written by the devil himself, and win the local talent show.
Since this is a classic point-and-click game, you can solve every puzzle with logic, and the game does an excellent job of easing you into its logic. The first few problems require just two or three steps, but by the end, you’ll be completing long quest chains that have you running all over the place. Luckily, if you take the time to talk to people, you’ll find plenty of clues to help you figure out how to approach each puzzle. Or you can kill everyone.
Violence Isn’t the Answer, but It’s OK to Make Mistakes
If you get tired of talking to people and going on fetch quests for them, you can actually just kill them.
The Procession to Calvary lets you skip entire puzzles and even sections if you want. Usually, your action wheel lets you examine, talk, and poke everything you click on. But if you right-click, your character draws her sword, and the “poke” action becomes a little more deadly. Just “use” your sword on the person giving you grief, and you’re free to move on – just be aware there will be a price to pay later on.
This killer mechanic is an interesting choice. I mean, you usually play adventure games for the puzzles, not to hack and slash at random bystanders. However, the game’s brand of humor makes it feel perfectly acceptable. After all – you did go on this quest to find more people to murder.
Frankly, most of the puzzles aren’t all that challenging that you’ll feel compelled to sharpen your blade on someone’s skull (well, maybe except that ONE puzzle). I’d say the difficulty level is just right, with enough “eureka moments” to make you feel smart for figuring out the answer.
High Culture, Low Comedy
The Procession to Calvary’s weird mix of high culture and low comedy just works. The artistic visuals only serve to amplify the physical humor and fart jokes. Not every joke lands, though – there are a few moments where the game breaks the fourth wall that just feel awkward and pointless.
Still, any adventure fan who appreciates a unique visual style and the power of silly jokes will enjoy this wacky title.
Developer: Joe Richardson
Publisher: SUPERHOT PRESENTS
Release Date: Apr. 09, 2020
Available On: PC
Reviewed On: PC
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