Developed by Webbysoft and published by Armor Games Studios, Bilkins’ Folly is a brand-new puzzle adventure game that follows the story of Percy Bilkins and his dog Drayton. What seems to be inspired by titles like Monkey Island and the classic top-down Zelda titles, Bilkins’ Folly is a stellar title that has its own unique character and tough-as-nails puzzles that will have you rummaging your mind for solutions. After a very long time, we have seen a developer taking the puzzle genre to this level and Bilkin’s Folly is a treasure trove of not just booty but plenty of puzzles that will satisfy every last brain cell in your body. This is our review of Bilkins’ Folly on the PS5 in which we explore beautiful islands and dig up some lost treasure.
The story of Bilkins’ Folly begins where every pirate story begins, in the sea aboard his very own ship. As Percy Bilkins, you are out on a hunt for your lost family members including your grandpa and mother who were pirates and excellent treasure hunters as well. Since both of them have gone missing, you are now on the hunt for them and going through their path to find clues and figure out what happened to them. For this very reason, you will explore different islands, meet a colorful cast of characters, and dig up tons of treasure. Everything is going fine for you however a storm appears and your ship is wrecked and you end up on an island. This island serves as a tutorial of what you can expect from the rest of the game.
Here, you meet the ghost of a dead pirate who helps you find a shovel, and a sword and also gives you a little hint on how you can escape from the island and where you should head next. Using what you have gained, you start hunting for treasures using maps and other useful items that you find on your journey. Nearly all of the puzzles in Bilkins’ Folly are finding the right spot to dig for an item and progressing in the story. There are some choices to make as well that make small changes to the world around you, but nothing is as major as completely altering the story or the ending of the game. From the basics of the first island, right when you arrive on the second island, the puzzles start to get much harder. Bilkins’ Folly is not a very complicated game when it comes to its narrative and is fairly straightforward because its focus is mainly on solving puzzles.
As you progress in the game, you unlock additional items and mechanics which help you solve different puzzles but naturally, as you get better equipped with tools and knowledge, the puzzles start to become harder as well. Initially, the clues are fairly clear with clearly marked landscapes and directions but later, you have to figure out distances and exact spots by using a bunch of tools as well. You are also accompanied by your trusty dog Drayton throughout these puzzles and while Drayton does not really help in the main quests, he will sniff out and let you know of any buried treasures randomly on the islands. You can pet Drayton and use him to level him up and unlock additional skills to make him more effective in helping you out as well. Apart from your main shovel, you will end up with different tools such as a pickaxe, telescope, and more to help you out for later levels.
As you explore the different islands, apart from your main quest, different NPCs will give you side quests and sometimes, you will get these side quests by interacting with different items in the world as well. Most of these side quests will also require you to find hidden objects and for that, you will need the help of maps and clues to find the right spot and dig them out. There is a lot of backtracking in the game as well because sometimes, you will have to go back to previously explored areas to complete side quests or you might stumble upon a puzzle for which you may not have the required items to solve it at that particular time. To complete these challenges and puzzles, you will have to go back to islands or areas and complete the puzzles once you acquire the correct tools or items. Backtracking does not feel like a chore here because, with a game like Bilkin’s Folly, you already expect to revisit the areas and find more puzzles and stuff to dig out once you acquire more skills and tools.
The world design and the visual aesthetics of Bilkins’ Folly are just gorgeous. Each island is unique and has its own unique NPCs, areas, and places that you can visit and explore. Not to mention cool area puzzles. You will find forests, swamps, small villages, and a lot of activity throughout the islands. As you explore the islands, different POIs are marked on your map including the locations of NPCs and the items that you dig out using your tools. This turns your map into a really cool glossary of things that you have explored on that particular island. I love the animations and 3D art of Bilkin’s Folly as well. The pixel art visuals are really good and satisfying to look at. The audio design is pretty decent as well. There is no actual dialogue but the sounds for dialogue are pretty funny and greatly add to the overall aesthetic and sit perfectly with the theme of the game.
While Bilkins’ Folly is not a very visually demanding game, there were framerate dips in different locations throughout the adventure. In areas where there was a lot of activity or shadows like in the swamps of Crabb Island, the framerates dropped a lot, and it wasn’t very pleasant. These dips were not something like a one-time thing that the frames would drop and it would go away but these drops lingered as long as I was in those particular areas. Bilkins’ Folly certainly requires some more optimization at this point because these dips are not normal because PS5 is pretty powerful and can easily manage a lot of demanding titles fairly easily. Apart from these framerate dips, Bilkin’s Folly runs fine on the console, and I do not remember any sort of other game-breaking bugs throughout my 17-hour playthrough of the title.
Bilkins’ Folly is a fun little puzzle adventure however the puzzles will really demand a lot of your attention. After completing the initial few quests, the difficulty of these puzzles quickly ramps up and you really have to use your brain and sometimes lucky guesses as well to solve the puzzles. Most of the puzzles are simply digging up stuff but you have to find that exact spot using treasure maps and other hints. There is enough in the game to keep you busy for around 20 hours if you take your time with the puzzles and this is a fairly decent enough time to spend in a colorful and cozy world of pirates and treasure hunting. The lack of hints may annoy some players, but this is one of the charms of the title.
Bilkins’ Folly is a beautiful and mind-tickling puzzle platformer that is a treat for players who love puzzle games. It’s no hand-holding puzzle solving is surely challenging but not so challenging that would have you pulling your hair out. If you love playing titles like The Secret of Monkey Island and similar puzzle games, Bilkins’ Folly is yet another great puzzle title that will have you solving puzzles, braving the waves, and exploring a colorful world with great NPCs. If you love pirates, puzzles, and exploring islands, Bilkins’ Folly is a must-play title for you but make sure that you bring your thinking cap along.
Final Score: 8.0/10