Publisher: 7th Level
Developer: 7th Level
Platform: Windows, Macintosh
When I received this game as an unexpected Christmas gift, I was excited. I found the movie incredibly funny and had read many positive reviews on multiple sites. But after playing Holy Grail, the only opinion I can justify is that this is absolutely the most irritatingly brain-chafing game I have ever played.
But to call it a game is a stretch by the most fervently liberal imagination. The painfully long experience this product offers is an exercise in perpetual clicking. There may be a couple of times where one has to delve into their own cerebral cortex to advance, but they are hard to distinguish amidst the otherwise numbing activities. I am not exaggerating when I state that nearly every “puzzle” consists of clicking a spot on the screen a half-dozen times or more, interrupted by jokes and witticisms that made me want to pop in the movie to remember why I liked it.
I am generally a fan of British humour and it can be side-splitting at times. The brilliance of Monty Python relies not only on sarcasm and boldness, but delivery and timing. I believe we all know someone who, when telling a joke, gets excited and begins laughing before the punchline is delivered. So by the time we finally reach the end we are disappointed no matter how good the material is. Well this game took that wonderful British humour and paraded it around like a trophy, gloating in its excess.
Even when lines are directly quoted from the movie, it is hard to laugh because the antecedent involves so much exasperatingly tedious clicking that the reward given feels like a cheat considering the effort invested. After all, if I can pay up to eight times less by renting the movie (or buying it) and hear the same lines without being forced to cause anguish to my wrist and fingers, where’s the payoff?
Simply put, no game matches Holy Grail in its sheer horrific game design. There were times where I was amused by the ever-present drolleries, but considering the sheer multitude of attempts the designers made, I am more inclined to chalk up those moments to luck than any facet of skill. Hell, just because someone allows themselves a laugh and a smile during a tax audit or a murder trial doesn’t mean that they are not tortured on the inside.
In fact, forcing a convicted felon to play this game to completion would be the perfect punishment. It sure as hell would deter me from recidivating.