Independent developers have the difficult task of compensating for a lack of budget and resources with an extra bit of creativity. The title must have a sign of identity that allows it to be differentiated from the rest and be recognized quickly. And this was something that Joe Richardson was clear about when he shaped The Procession to Calvary , a point-and-click graphic adventure that runs through Renaissance paintings whose story is told with a markedly British humor.
It is a very similar formula to Monkey Island , only that the staging is more than enough to consider it a striking work and worthy of capturing your attention. We do not promise that you will laugh out loud, but we do promise that a mocking smile will appear at certain moments in the story.
It will be a journey through the paintings of authors such as Rembrandt, Botticelli, Bruegel (one of his works gives the game its name) and Michelangelo that will leave you speechless for minutes looking at every detail of the map. And on top of that, these are accompanied by musical pieces by classic authors —you will find them wandering around the stages— that get you fully into the action.
The title was first released for PC , but later came its versions for PS4, Xbox One and Switch . In total, it should not take you more than 4 hours to complete, although if you are one of those who enjoys recreating yourself in each brushstroke of the paintings, it is possible that you take a few more.
The Procession to Calvary , strolling through museums
The plot takes us to the end of the Holy War, where the vanquished are repressed and killed. The protagonist is an insane hit man who works for royalty and enjoys violence, justified or not. He has been entrusted with the head of Heavenly Peter and, to find him, we have to do all kinds of missions in which we will have to make various decisions that will set the course of history. Being merciful or acting with tyranny will be the main dilemma throughout the adventure, and depending on what decisions we make, we will obtain one ending or another.
You will have to interact with the environment to the fullest, conversing with all the NPCs, collecting items and solving puzzles. Don’t be fooled by the serious and dark aesthetics of the paintings, because nothing could be further from the truth: the video game is reminiscent of a Monty Python movie, with bizarre situations (you’ll have to drop some cake) and not without blood or action . The satire emphasizes the criticism of the consequences of religious fanaticism.
Its setting is spectacular. No matter how little you know about Art History, you will recognize several of the world’s most famous paintings , adapted and animated so as not to weigh down the gameplay and the character’s movement too much.
It is a very simple work , perfect both for lovers of the genre and for strangers who have been attracted by the aesthetics and structure. It’s easy to follow and, barring a few unexpectedly solved puzzles, it’s generally a ride filled with wacky conversations and moving artwork.
Why you should play The Procession to Calvary
In a context in which, although there are fewer and fewer, graphic adventures tell original stories or have a photorealism that has little to envy the great movies, this work by independent developer Joe Richardson shines especially. He knows how to make the most of the aesthetics and the historical context of the paintings, he uses them in a brilliant and original way and, although the plot is not very complex or deep, he brings out the best of himself with hilarious and absurd humor .
No matter how little you connect with him, you will appreciate this breath of fresh air. It is very short and you will undoubtedly always remember it: either for its particular set-up or for its unique humor. Thanks to the amazing work of creators like Richardson, the gap between indie titles and triple-A titles is getting narrower.