Dude, Where Is My Beer? (Switch): COMPLETED!

Dude, Where Is My Beer? (Switch): COMPLETED!

Before I start on the game itself, I wish to lodge a complaint. It isn’t about the game itself, and doesn’t affect the game itself, but it is something important and also something I’ve taken issue with before. Dude, Where Is My Beer? is rated PEGI 3. Right here on the Nintendo eShop:

You tried to click the play button, didn’t you.

PEGI 3 essentially means suitable for all, and isn’t actually that common as any mild language, violence (even cartoon violence), skimpy clothing or most sorts of peril bump the rating up to at least a PEGI 7 or 12. Heck, even the otherwise completely benign (and very excellent) Lord Winklebottom Investigates, another game in the same genre, was a PEGI 16 simply because the giraffe smokes a pipe. DWIMB, however has drinking (lots of) alcohol, being drunk, vomiting, sexual references, plenty of swearing, topless women… all sorts. As I said, these do not reflect badly on the game, but it does make a mockery of the PEGI rating system. I’ve previously lamented how Horace, with its swearing, drinking, domestic violence and executions was a PEGI 7, although that had now been changed to a 12 (which I’d suggest is still too low), and this is just another example of how the developers or publishers self-certifying the rating just doesn’t work.

The game even tells you it isn’t for kids.

ANYWAY. The game sans any sort of rating is what I’m here to talk about, I just had to get that out. It’s good! It’s not great, but it’s silly and funny. I’ll start with what I didn’t like.

First up, the controls. It’s a point and click game and you do literally have to point and click. You move the “mouse” with the control stick and have to keep choosing words from the bottom like you would in Monkey Island or Maniac Mansion. This is fine on a PC but come on, things have improved since then for controller input! I’d have liked to be able to have frequently used words as button shortcuts, not least because 99% of the time you only need “talk to” and “use” and I don’t remember using “push” at all. Related is a bug which kept frustrating me: If you choose, say, “open”, then the cursor gets stuck on “open” until something is opened or you change to something else like “use”. This means that if you don’t – or can’t – open something, you then can’t exit through a door or off the screen (which has no verb – you just click the door with no verb selected) as it says you can’t open it. There’s no option to “drop” the use of a verb. I found, eventually, if you go into the settings and then back out this “clears” it, but really, why can’t I just press B?

The second thing was that some of the puzzles were a bit obscure. Part of this was that some of the things you can interact with are completely miss-able, seemingly having a hotspot of about three pixels, and there’s a number of red herrings. “Use everything on everything even if it doesn’t make sense” is not my favourite way to play these games.

Finally, the ending. Or rather, lack of one. Sure, you finish the game, but it doesn’t finish the story. I hope they’re making a follow-up, but as with Netflix shows, games which rely on upcoming “episodes” to continue the narrative fill me with concern because often they don’t materialise. By all means complete the story and then drop an opening to a new story, but don’t leave the whole thing hanging, like Dude, Where Is My Beer? does. Honestly, if I’ve have known this was “episode 1” (and there’s nothing anywhere to suggest this is the case, until you reach the credits) I’d have passed on buying it until the next one came along.

That’s a lot of negatives, I know. They did affect my enjoyment of the game (the controls especially), but it was still worth playing because it’s genuinely funny. The plot is that you’re a guy on a bus trip, and it stops off in Oslo for a break and you want some lager. Except Oslo is full of hipster bars which only sell craft beers with funny names and the humble pilsner has essentially been outlawed. There’s a story about needing to find the Master Brewer (who it’s illegal to discuss, it seems) and the game is a sequence of convoluted point-and-click puzzles to get you there (…or not, as I imply above).

Same, mate. Same.

I very much identify with the main character’s refusal to ask for beers that aren’t lager because I feel the same in a coffee shop when asked “what coffee?” when the answer is “just coffee”. I don’t identify with his pilsner-only alcohol diet, though.

There is a lot of dialogue to get through, both conversations and examining everything, and it’s frequently humorous, even if often in a terrible dad-pun type way. Interactions with the other characters is fun, with the bar staff in each pub (there are a lot of pubs) each having their own personality and reaction to you asking for pilsner.

I like how you’re unable to talk to anyone except sellers of beer whilst completely sober, meaning you have to keep buying “disgusting” beer that “tastes of bread” in order to be able to be less socially awkward to converse with anyone else. It doesn’t quite work as a game mechanic, but it’s certainly something different for the genre.

Dude, Where Is My Beer? does some stuff well, suffers a bit trying to be too old school, and better have a sequel on the way, but you could do far worse if you like this sort of game.

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