This Monty Python-esque Renaissance painting point-and-click adventure is comedy gold.
A few days ago, Xbox added a whole bunch of new games to Xbox Game Pass, and like I always do when that happens, I had a look to see if anything took my fancy. One game that caught my attention was the point-and-click adventure by Joe Richardson, a daft and hilarious title bathed in Monty Python tropes and gags. Known as The Procession to Calvary, this is the spiritual successor to 2017's Four Last Things, and I've spent an evening exploring what it has on offer, and from my experience this is definitely a great way to kill a few hours.
The storyline puts you in the shoes of a knight, who following the conclusion of the holy way, which left the churches of the old gods in ruins, is out for any blood she can spill. But, with the land now being under the rule of Immortal John (who isn't really immortal), our protagonist is reigned in and told not to kill anymore, much to her dismay. But, upon learning that the tyrant Heavenly Peter managed to survive the war and escape to the South, our fearless warrior comes to an agreement with John to find Peter and make one final killing blow, which will in turn wrap up the events of the Holy War.
With this objective in mind, the protagonist sets out on a journey, where she must first navigate to the South and then find and kill Peter, all while not striking any other killing blows, as to honor the creed she swore to Immortal John. However, as the land is recovering from a holy war, travelling isn't the easiest and communicating with the stubborn and unusual folk make it even more of a challenge to reach your end goal: which is wherever Peter is hiding away. What this makes for is a point-and-click adventure that's quite heavily themed around solving puzzles, which often require you to interact and mess with the environment to find items and gear that will allow you to progress onwards.
This design style is largely pretty great, with solutions being simple and relatively straightforward, even if they do require you to think out of the box and beyond normality a lot of the time. But, with that in mind, it is worth noting one experience I had with the game when I decided to break my vow and kill a character just to blitz past a puzzle. When you kill someone, the repercussions are usually not immediate, in fact a lot of the time, you'll find your willingness to slay wheely-neely will actually force you into an inescapable hole further down the line, which is exactly why the main character suggests you should save, before trying to to talk you out of the move before you make any kills.
As for the actual story and the narrative, this is conveyed in a truly hilarious manner. Whether it be through the dialogue, the way the characters interact, or perhaps even in the setting of a level (which is designed to look like a Renaissance painting), The Procession to Calvary is a genuinely funny game. And, it really sets the bar of what type of humour you can look forward to when you simply enter the settings menu and tag the "Trigger a monk blowing a raspberry on exiting this menu" option, which does exactly what it says on the tin and is still just fantastic.
Following up on this, it's worth looking at the visuals of the game once again, because the animated and interactable painting design is incredibly well-done and excels at elevating the humour and comedy that this game revolves around.
It is also worth mentioning that The Procession to Calvary is a particularly short game. You can blast through the entire storyline in around two hours, assuming you don't get stuck on the puzzles. I would like to see a longer version of one of Joe Richardson's games, to see whether the developer can truly flesh out a deeper campaign, and maybe their next project, Death of the Reprobate (which currently lacks a release date) can do that.
Either way, The Procession to Calvary shows one thing for certain: that Richardson has a handle on medieval comedy. This game is daft, funny, and a perfect way to spend an evening, especially if Monty Pythonesque humour is right up your street. If it isn't, I'd highly recommend grabbing this one while it's on Xbox Game Pass just to have a laugh at the monk blowing raspberries in the settings menu, as that really is comedy gold.
7 / 10
Genuinely hilarious. Renaissance painting visual style is fantastic. Puzzles are well-designed and not too complex.