Bilkins' Folly, developed by Webbysoft and published by Armor Games Studios, is a narrative adventure where treasure hunter Percival “Percy” Bilkins and his dog Drayton are on a mission to find his missing mother and grandfather who disappeared years ago. In an adventure full of treasures and secrets, will Percy be able to find his loved ones or will he fall under the Bilkins' Folly? Well, let's find out.
And before you ask, yes, you can pet the dog. It's a legitimate gameplay mechanic that you are very much encouraged to do. More on that later.
Let's talk about the presentation first. The sprites and world are really good, with bright colours and bouncy animations that feel like you’re going on a jolly adventure throughout the land that also fits with the music, which goes for a jolly tropical vibe. Characters speak in some gibberish language I cannot understand without subtitles…that, or it is a real language and I may have just offended those who speak it. If it is gibberish, it at least sounds like they're speaking the sentences in the speech bubbles rather than just making noise. It adds to the world of Bilkins' Folly and makes the various people you meet on your adventure that much more enjoyable. It’s even a little emotional at times.
Although, for some reason, I was being reminded of The Secret of Monkey Island as I played. I mean, change the colours around and Percy would not look all that different from Guybrush Threepwood and while it doesn't have the witty dialogue, it still features a colourful cast of weirdos that can join your crew. That could just be my imagination. Like the game insists, you're a treasure hunter, not a pirate. And this is why one of the main things you will be doing is digging for treasure.
While digging is as easy as hitting the Z button and waiting, actually finding treasure is the tricky part, and that's where the puzzles come into play. There are various puzzles in the game that might require a little bit of logic, the in-game map and mapping tools, and maybe a pen and paper to keep track of things. Some might not be even solvable and you have to go back once you have the right skills and equipment. It feels good to assemble all the pieces by yourself and there are hints if you are getting stuck. I personally spent a lot of time on the first puzzle because I didn't notice something until 30 minutes later, for a solution that would’ve taken no more than a minute if I had checked the map properly.
The treasures you collect throughout the game aren’t for nothing either. Other than filling out a spot in your collections tab, you can also earn money by finding various items like coins or gold, which can be used to get more equipment and upgrade your ship (still not a pirate, by the way). There is a game-spanning collection quest where you must assemble a map leading to a treasure, where each piece can only be obtained by collecting junk.
However, as useful as your map and shovel can be, your most important asset is your companion; Drayton the dog. He not only sniffs out buried treasures, but you can level him up to make him that much more useful. How do you level him up though? Well, by showering him in love and affection, of course! When he does a good job, you pet him, or give him treats, he'll grow closer to Percy. Once you earn enough, you'll get a skill point to spend on his skill tree. Make him stay put, follow commands, pull levers, or jump across chasms. He is the good-est of boys and I am ashamed that I didn’t find the pet button sooner.
On to technical performance and gripes…I don’t really have any other than surface-level issues. I really didn’t like that Drayton’s pathfinding isn’t the best at times, sometimes getting stuck somewhere until he teleports off-screen back to you. I also found the fast travel a little lacking here and there. The islands you travel to can be rather big, and yet some of the locations of fast travel points can be kind of annoying. It’s just a personal grievance though, I just didn’t like the extra 10 seconds needed to walk into town or head to puzzles I wanted to return to. There were also some puzzles that told me I solved it even though I felt it was unearned.
Bilikin’s Folly is a jolly adventure across the seas that makes treasure hunting fun. I liked the characters, the story, the puzzles, and Drayton. While I did find some parts annoying, sometimes caused by my own stupidity, this doesn’t really affect what is otherwise a great game.
Bilkins' Folly (Reviewed on Windows)
This game is great, with minimal or no negatives.
Bilikin’s Folly is a jolly adventure across the seas that makes treasure hunting fun, full of tricky puzzles and great characters, and the only time you’ll get frustrated is from your own folly.