Game Reviews

Jacob Jones and the Bigfoot Mystery: Episode 1

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Jacob Jones and the Bigfoot Mystery: Episode 1

Given the incredible popularity of the Professor Layton series on Nintendo handhelds, I find it somewhat strange that it's taken all these years for a worthy equivalent to surface on a PlayStation portable.

In Jacob Jones and the Bigfoot Mystery, Lucid Games infuses the cute story of one boy and his yeti with enjoyable conundrums and head scratchers.

Saying that, anyone who is familiar with Hershel's DS adventures might feel a little short-changed.

Bigfoot, littlefoot, cardboard box

Young Jacob is a bit of a recluse, so his parents send him off to a summer camp to make some friends. It's there that he meets the mysterious Bigfoot. Cue the big adventure.

Before I address the nuts and bolts of the game, though, let me just say that Jacob Jones and the Bigfoot Mystery is a genuine looker. It's undeniably cute, has a distinctly sketchy feel, yet is rough around the edges at the same time. All of that adds up to a delightfully unique art style.

At the heart of the story itself, though, is a series of interactive scenes, which you can flick around and explore. You complete objectives and uncover hidden items with a tap here and a tap there.

Jacob is presented with puzzles that, naturally enough, you need to solve to progress. This is where the Professor Layton comparisons are most valid. From the presentation of the puzzles to the way in which you're awarded with merits when you complete problems, the similarities are striking.

There's some nice variety in Jacob Jones and the Bigfoot Mystery, mind, with puzzles ranging from simple "pick the answer" to your classic "Light's Out" style board. You'll definitely get a run for your money over the course of a few hours here.

Not yeti

The problem with the puzzles in Jacob Jones and the Bigfoot Mystery, however, is that for the most part we've seen it all before.

Nearly every puzzle is a rehash of an old conundrum that has stumped gamers elsewhere multiple times already, especially in the aforementioned Professor Layton games.

Okay, there are a handful of interesting / novel brainteasers dotted around, but in truth I found myself thinking 'I've seen this before' a little too often. It's a well-worn genre, sure, but the designers of the latest Prof Layton game showed that there are still plenty of fresh puzzle concepts to explore.

In Jacob Jones and the Bigfoot Mystery, Lucid also borrows the idea of collecting items to accumulate puzzle hints (in this case, they're empty cans and birds). It's actually sort of fun hunting these down, as you have to tilt the scenes to find them all.

This is, of course, just the first episode in the Jacob Jones and the Bigfoot Mystery saga. I'm sincerely hoping that future chapters will contain more devilishly complex and innovative puzzles, for there is real potential here.

Jacob Jones and the Bigfoot Mystery: Episode 1

The first Jacob Jones and the Bigfoot Mystery episode definitely has the style. Now, it just needs more substance in its puzzles to back that style up
Mike Rose
Mike Rose
An expert in the indie games scene, Mike comes to Pocket Gamer as our handheld gaming correspondent. He is the author of 250 Indie Games You Must Play.