Sawbuck Gamer

Jacob Jones

My Pet Monster

You will believe a boy and his monster can solve logic problems in Jacob Jones And The Bigfoot Mystery.

By Derrick Sanskrit • May 29, 2013

Sawbuck Gamer is our daily review of a free or cheap game ($10 or less).

If imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, the people behind Level 5’s Professor Layton puzzle-mystery games should be touched by the release of Jacob Jones And The Bigfoot Mystery. The titular Jacob Jones is a 9-year-old adventure-minded boy who finds himself shipped off to summer camp for the first time. There he discovers a number of mysteries because of course he does. It’s up to Jacob and his new friend, Biggie The Bigfoot, to get to the bottom of those mysteries the only way they know how: by solving obtuse logic puzzles with tenuous relationships to whatever topic was just discussed. This episodic adventure cribs its notes from the Layton formula, right down to the dramatic zooms on the hero’s face as you find out whether you solved the puzzle correctly.

Where Jacob Jones stands out is in its presentation. The adventure sequences resemble chunky vinyl figurines with a shiny coat of lacquer. The menus and puzzles are presented as stacks of neatly arranged construction paper. It’s a DIY aesthetic that was ever-so-hip only a few years back and has since been reclaimed by the Etsy generation to become nouveau chic all over again. The colorful cast of characters is injected with life thanks to a cartoonish and expressive voice cast, even if Biggie comes across as a not entirely pleasant John Candy impersonator.

With a little over 20 puzzles, A Bump In The Night is a quick burst of logical entertainment, and in true episodic fashion, the story only just starts getting good as players approach the “to be continued” moment. It doesn’t hurt to give the old gentleman professor a bit of friendly competition.

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9 Responses to “My Pet Monster”

  1. duwease says:

    Jacoby Jones and his Bigfoot are a nasty team in Madden, too.

  2. vinnybushes says:

    The look reminds me of a slightly craft-y Psychonauts. Speaking of which. it’s summer camp season and I can only think of three summer camp games: This game, Psychonauts, and Bart Simpson’s Escape From Camp Deadly. Are there any others? I don’t know that the Friday the 13th Game counts.

    • Girard says:

      Willy Beamish is a pretty good summer vacation game, if memory serves.

      But, yeah, I’m drawing a blank on summer camp games. I feel like there should be, like, a ‘California Games’-style 80s PC sports anthology title built around camp games or something.

      • And that game will be called “Salute Your Shorts”

      • vinnybushes says:

         It’s weird, because you think about video games as genres of games (like platformer, adventure game etc.) but in terms of where a game is set they have a lot in common with the movies in terms of variety (outer space, a warzone, or a fantasy kingdom for example)  so you’d think there would have been more summer camp games over the years.  After all I could probably list twenty terrible summer camp movies without any difficulty.

        • Chalkdust says:

           I now have a dream sequel or at least spiritual successor in mind for Bully, which would have to take place at a summer camp.

        • Sleverin says:

           What was that kinda funny one with Stifler as a summer camp counselor who loved KISS?  I remember enjoying that.

        • vinnybushes says:

          @Sleverin:disqus  I’m pretty sure that’s Role Models, which is sort of camp-like but actually about a big brother program.