#11 Lone McLonegan
Point. Click. Repeat. I am well versed. Of the one hundred and eighty-nine games that I have beaten so far this year, ninety of those have been point-and-click adventures. Sierra, LucasArts, and Revolution Software? I’ve played them all, with Broken Sword: The Shadow of The Templars still ranking as my all-time favourite game. Point-and-clicks hold a very special place in my heart, so naturally I snapped at the chance to play Lone McLonegan early.
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Based in Spain, in the city of Valladolid, Sonomio Games are a small indie studio, with Lone McLonegan as their eagerly anticipated debut. To quell the nerves of a first outing, Sonomio have teamed up with Flynn’s Arcade, an established publisher who also reside on Spanish soil. Together, they offer up an old-school point-and-click adventure. As a huge fan – a connoisseur if you will – of ‘old-school’ point-and-clicks, I can get nervous when this phrase is used in modern gaming. The golden era of adventure titles set very high standards. How old-school is Lone McLonegan? Let’s play!
Lone McLonegan is an old-school point-n-click adventure game inspired by old westerns with touches of acid humor. Help Lone become “The Most Wanted Outlaw In The Wild West” as you tackle fun puzzles and meet quirky characters.
The game opens with McLonegan living his best life. He is relaxing at home, breezily listening to the radio, secure in the knowledge that he is the most wanted outlaw in the Wild West. That is until the announcer declares that Bragg Badass has taken the number one spot by raiding the county gold reserve. This does not sit easy with our protagonist and subsequently the premise is laid out. You are to defeat Bragg Badass and reclaim your rightful position atop of the pile. Naturally, your immediate response is to rob a bank.
Right off the bat, there are no voice overs in this game. You will be reading every line of conversation. Initially I think that deflated me a little for a point-and-click in 2021, but in truth I quickly forgot about it. This is in large part due to the incredible score. It is so varied and there is so much of it – every time the screen changed the music followed suit. Step into a bar and you’ll get a bouncy fiddle running up and down scales. Visit the repair shop and you’ll get clumsy twelve-bar blues with half-bends and turnarounds. Brave the desert and you get the twang of slide guitar and staccato bursts of banjo, laced with quick conversations of harmonica. It all fits the game beautifully and really filled that space that I thought voice actors might have used. All the music was done by an Australian composer called Scott Buckley – Scott Buckley – Composer & Arranger / @musoscientific – and his score does a lot of the heavy lifting here. I suppose if the soundtrack is all you will hear, it has to be spot on, and it is.
The gameplay is certainly ‘old-school’. Locations, of which there are about thirteen, are wonderfully visualised in 2D environments. They are quirky, colourful, and each one inviting. You control McLonegan with nothing but your mouse. The right button will cycle through you options regarding interactions (look, use, talk/eat, and kick), and the left button is used for selecting and confirmation. Being able to kick is a highlight. Lonegan doesn’t knock on doors, he kicks them, and this really spoke to me on a personal level. I might employ this in real life and see how long I can get away with it.
No point-and-click is complete without a map and an inventory, of which you have both. You will unlock more of the map as you progress through the story, and if you have ever played a point-and-click before, you’ll know that your inventory is a bottomless pit. Being a fan of the genre, I’m used to having an eclectic collection of junk, most of which seems utterly without meritable use, until suddenly it is perfect for the job in hand. I have to say though, I’ve never played a point-and-click before where I’ve had upwards of forty items on me at one time. Quick remarkable.
Puzzle difficulty ranges here from ‘drop dead easy’ to ‘I’m going to die of old age because I haven’t a clue’. Longtime fans of point-and-clicks know their brains need to go a special place to think outside the box. If this is your first dance with arguably gaming’s toughest heritage of puzzling – essentially a game of ‘what am I thinking?’ – then you may struggle. Point-and-click games develop character. We’re a hardened bunch.
So far, so good. This is an old-school point-and-click. What takes it to the next level, making me feel like I stepped right back into the glorious 90s, is the tone of the game and the comedy deployed. At it’s heart, Lone McLonegan is a homage to the old-school. The developers clearly have a huge love for the shoulders they are standing on, in particular the games of LucasArts. They must have had fun with paying their respects. You can order grog at the bar but the barman will want to know if you’re a pirate, you’ll meet a strange figure in a voodoo tent who will set you the task of finding ingredients – that’s certainly familiar, and you’ll even meet a farmer with a Milk-O-Matic 3000. Each throwback really made me smile. The characters are bonkers, the comedy is irreverent and anachronistic (you’ll meet Indians living in Teepees that have an intercom system), and for good measure the 4th wall takes a beating. On top of this, the game is buttered with pop culture references, affectionately nodding at Star Wars, Harry Potter, Around the World in 80 Days, and Indiana Jones.
This game warmed my soul. Outside of the story, there are 32 sheriff stars to collect, which are scattered all over the place and fun to hunt down, and there are Steam achievements to unlock. There is also an arcade game at the saloon which you could get addicted to. It is a dueling challenge that requires impeccable timing skills.
With your head screwed on, you can beat Lone McLonegan in roughly three hours. The only downside for me is that I think it ran out of steam just a touch towards the end, with the last thirty minutes just consisting of taking one item to a character to get a different item that you take to another character etc. And dare I say it, but the final showdown wasn’t quite what I was expecting. But the overall experience was a delight. I have played a lot of point-and-clicks and I highly recommend this. I believe I’m right in thinking Sonomio Games is made up of two people – Verónica Rodríguez and Antonio Carlón. They have done, along with Flynn’s Arcade, an amazing job with this. It is well worth your time.
Lone McLonegan is out November 4th on Steam and Nintendo Switch