The Beard in the Mirror – Review
Follow Genre: Adventure
Developer: Oh, a Rock! Studios
Publisher: Oh, a Rock! Studios
Platform: PC
Tested on: PC

The Beard in the Mirror – Review

Site Score
7.5
Good: Hilarious, entertaining gameplay.
Bad: The retro style won't be for everyone.
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0
(0 votes)
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Rating: 0.0/10 (0 votes cast)

A regular guy unhappy with his life, a mysterious maiden who seems to know all about him, a fantasy world outside his bedroom door, and a little vine that wants to touch him forever. The Beard in the Mirror is a modern homage to the classic point and click games of the 80’s and 90’s. If you loved playing Monkey Island pre-remaster and trying to work out which item those tiny pixels were meant to represent, it’s time to brace yourself and get a grip on that mouse. The adventure is back on.

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Story

Paul, a 22 year old man who is unhappy with where his life has taken him, awakes to find a strange woman in his room and his bedroom door mysteriously locked. Upon opening the door he finds himself transported to another world, a world of lords, castles and strange creatures. Here he is charged with meeting a powerful old sorcerer who will reveal his true destiny.

As he travels, Paul discovers more about this strange land. It was once ruled by cruel and evil forces, but was saved by a great hero 50 years ago known as Lord Paul. Lord Paul’s descendants now rule the land, but he disappeared long ago. It also becomes apparent that Paul has quite a striking resemblance to the royal family… Imagine that.

You will encounter a world filled with magic, danger, mystery and romance as you begin to uncover the mystery behind Paul’s life, and meet the weird and wonderful denizens who live there. Expect a lot of laughs and ridiculous situations along the way (cross-dressing to to impress a visually impaired noble, and creating a fake hand so that a one-handed ventriloquist enthusiast can be part of the show to name but two.)Graphics

Think old-school graphics. Alright, now think older. The Beard in the Mirror takes us back to the old days of pixelated adventure games where it was difficult to see exactly what the item you are collecting is actually supposed to be. Those that never played these classic games may understandably not be a fan of the ancient style graphics. However, those that loved classic titles like the original Monkey Island, Loom etc, will exult in the surge of nostalgia that this look brings.

Sound

The soundtrack keeps in theme with the old-school style and is actually very pleasant, if slightly repetitive. There is no voice acting and all dialogue and interaction is provided through text on screen. There also isn’t a whole lot in the way of sound effects, but again this is in keeping with the whole retro aesthetic that has been crafted.Gameplay

The Beard in the Mirror is a retro point and click adventure game for the modern age, and is certainly accomplished in making you feel like you have been transported back to the heyday of adventure games. (Think LucasArts and Sierra in particular). You can click on the screen to move around, or else use the keyboard. To interact with the environment you must choose between looking, touching, talking to, or walking.

You can collect items, combine them, use them to solve puzzles and find a way to progress to the next challenge no matter what it takes. You can also die in dangerous areas, although you thankfully do not lose any progress if the grim reaper does happen to come and claim you. Just like the games which have inspired it, The Beard in the Mirror is all about using your brain to work out how to overcome challenges using only the environment and the items that you are carrying.A special point system is also visible from your inventory that tracks which items, secrets and scenes you have discovered so that you can measure how well you are doing against a perfect score. Attempting to use items at the wrong time or place can also produce hilarious quips and dialogue, although unfortunately the vast majority of wrong interactions cause nothing whatsoever to happen. This was a little disappointing as one of our favourite things about those classic point and click games was that there was almost always a response for every wrong or ridiculous item or action.

The puzzles are actually very good and generally well thought out. They tread in that sweet spot, the fine line between too easy and too hard, although hardcore fans might wish for a little more difficulty. Whilst it is the puzzles that keep the game flowing, it is the humour that really makes this title shine. There are a host of ridiculous situations and characters to discover and Paul is a likeable and fun protagonist. The Beard In The Mirror should take you around 4-5 hours to complete which may seem a little short but it is fairly reasonable for the price tag.Conclusion

If you are a fan of old-school point and click games, then The Beard In the Mirror is a must play. It is a labour of love dedicated to those old Sierra and LucasArts classics that we grew up with. The humour is fantastic, and the upbeat atmosphere and jokes really help to keep the mood light. If however you are new to the genre or the retro style, you may find yourself confused and disappointed on exactly what this game is trying to achieve with its raggedy old graphics and text based communication. Which is a shame, because you would be missing out.

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