The Excavation of Hob’s Barrow, the review of the horror point and click adventure

Here is our review of The Excavation of Hob’s Barrow, a point and click adventure that tells us about the horrors hidden in the English countryside.

Fans of graphic adventures in this period they were able to enjoy the return of a great series, Monkey Island, which becomes the standard-bearer of the golden age of the genre. Even if it does not represent the fulcrum of the videogame market by now, the graphic adventure is not dead at all, on the contrary, it lives in the independent market.

An example is the game available from today, September 28, 2022, on PC, Mac and Linux, The Excavation of Hob’s Barrowwhich offers a small but intriguing point and click adventure, with its mix of puzzle and plot, which falls into the horror genre.

For all the details, keep reading ours review of The Excavation of Hob’s Barrow.

A disturbing story

The protagonist of The Excavation of Hob's Barrow in front of the inn

The protagonist of The Excavation of Hob’s Barrow in front of the inn

There hero of The Excavation of Hob’s Barrow is antiquarian Thomasina Bateman, who is writing a book devoted to the burial mounds of England. The young woman receives a letter from a man from the remote village of Bewlay, who reveals the existence of a mound outside the town.

The woman arrives by train and stays at the only inn in the town, but her guest does not show up. Not only that, the village – immersed in fog and often grayed by the rainy sky – is full of people who don’t exactly seem happy at the idea of ​​a foreigner poking her nose where she shouldn’t.

The mound of Hob (barrow means mound) is supposed to be a famous place, but people seem to know nothing and quickly change the subject. Within a few days of stay, Thomasina (or rather, we for her) will not have to shed light on the mystery that revolves around this burial place, but also to discover more about her past. A series of flashbacks will take us back to when the woman was just a child and she was starting to learn the profession from her father.

The adventure of The Excavation of Hob’s Barrow lasts approximately six hours during which we will be able to immerse ourselves in the strangeness of Bewlay, making the acquaintance with various citizens of the village. The large cast of characters is pleasantly varied and detailed, managing to create a believable village, but always a bit strange.

A strange cat from The Excavation of Hob's Barrow

A strange cat from The Excavation of Hob’s Barrow

The Excavation of Hob’s Barrow aims to create a simple yet adorned place an air of suspicionwhere even a cat seems a threat and in which the first glance never manages to reveal the true nature of the people around us.

The plot and setting remind us above all of some tales of Lovecraft, with his obsession for the ancient, the rotten and for the set of unspoken that trace the boundaries of an invisible world. The game is in fact also classified as a horror, but do not expect “jump scare” or an exaggerated use of gore: the goal is “only” to make you anxious and never make you feel completely calm. He succeeds, although perhaps it ends a little too quickly: as soon as things get serious, you immediately enter the final sequence and reveal what is really happening behind the quiet facade of The Excavation of Hob’s Barrow. A few additional game sections would have helped, but the adventure already works.

Point and click

The Excavation of Hob's Barrow church

The Excavation of Hob’s Barrow church

Like any point and click adventure, The Excavation of Hob’s Barrow asks us to advance by solving a whole series of riddles and puzzles, on average simple. We will have an inventory in which to gather the collected objects, in some cases even to combine with each other, and we will have to explore the few environments available to understand how to find what we need to advance.

Mostly it is about solving citizens’ problems or convincing them to move to other places so as to act undisturbed in other sections of the map. The ideas put in place by the development team are very classic and rarely complicated. Just exhaust the speeches of each character available and act logically. A menu also helps us by keeping track of active “missions”.

Only towards the end will we have to collide with more structured puzzles, but still locked up in a few rooms and can also be completed by simply clicking around. The simplicity of The Excavation of Hob’s Barrow makes it very fluid and also suitable for those who are not particularly familiar with the genre.

A reminder of the protagonist of The Excavation of Hob's Barrow

A reminder of the protagonist of The Excavation of Hob’s Barrow

Speaking of the more artistic side of the game, the pixel art graphics, in addition to satisfying the nostalgic, also convince the eye. The environments are detailed and the final result satisfied us. What struck us the most is the dubbing: the adventure takes us to the English countryside and consequently the various characters have much clearer and less “citizen” accents. The whole game is dubbed and every single dialogue is a pleasure to listen to. The soundtrack is also well made and helps set the mood for the whole adventure.

However, it should be noted that the game it is not translated into Italian. Normally we do not consider it a big flaw for a small indie, which has understandable budget limits, but in this case we admit that it could be a problem for those who are not comfortable with the Albion language: there is no shortage of technical terms and idioms dialectal.

Comment

Tested version Windows PC

Digital Delivery

Steam

The Excavation of Hob’s Barrow is a classic point and click adventure, simple and not particularly long. It would have benefited from a few additional sections, but overall the atmosphere, intriguing storyline and great voice acting make it a good choice for fans of the genre. The puzzles are simple and could therefore be a good way to approach the genre. Just pay attention to your level of English, since there is no Italian translation and there is no shortage of technical and dialectal terms.

PRO

  • Nice atmosphere
  • Simple but intriguing plot
  • Excellent dubbing

VERSUS

  • An extra game section wouldn’t hurt
  • The lack of Italian could be a problem for some

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About Alex Marcell

He likes dogs, pizza and popcorn. Already a fanboy of Nintendo and Sony, but today throws anything. He has collaborated on sites and magazines such as GameBlast, Nintendo World, Hero and Portal Pop, but today is dedicated exclusively to Spark Chronicles.

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