Johnny Why 2
Not so long ago, gamers grappled with the question Johnny Why Are You Late? Now keybol is back with another point-and-clicker, this one as an entry into JIG's own Casual Gameplay Design Competition #9. Perhaps taking us down a more profound road, the title of this one is simply Johnny Why 2. Johnny Why What, you might be thinking. Well, in this case, it's possibly "Johnny, Why Has Facebook Overstepped Its Bounds Beyond All Possible Expectation and Actually Reached Into the Real World to Suck In Four People Whom You Probably Could Live Without But Feel the Need to Rescue Anyway?" A bit long for a game title. "Johnny Why 2" was probably the wiser choice.
As one would expect from a point-and-click title, you point and click your way through several screens, picking up items and combining them to solve puzzles as they present themselves, with the sure knowledge that somehow, these unrelated tasks will somehow coalesce into your final goal of rescuing your friends. There's always an inventory screen at the bottom, and on the top there's a menu bar with a few external links plus a link to the main page of the game. From the main page, you can visit your four frenemies by clicking on their icons on the left and then clicking on their screen on the right to confirm. Be as quick yet precise as you can, because your score is trickling away with every moment and every click.
Analysis: Time was, you had friends, and if you made a new one, you befriended him or her. Friend, the theme word of CGDC9, was strictly a noun. But there has been a rather seismic change in that. We now all speak of friending and defriending and while a number of websites use these terms, Facebook is probably the biggest and most prominent currently. And the bigger they are, the riper they are for the kind of parody that Johnny Why 2 goes for.
The people Johnny is rescuing are in a literal sense his friends, and two of them are even members of his family, but towards none of them does he have anything approaching friendly feelings. In fact, Johnny's primary motivation in rescuing them is a promised nixing of a $10 debt. An extreme example of the superficial, hostile and nonexistent relationships between many "friends" on services like Facebook. Each of the pages you visit is a parody of a prominent Facebook game, and keybol gets some skewers in here too, particularly towards the microtransactions that have caused many a kid in real life to sneak his father's credit card.
The puzzles are fairly logical from step to step, and while some hotspots are tiny, when you hover over something clickable, it gets a label, which evens things up. The only real grief I have with the gameplay is that the ending is a total deus ex machina. The "ex machina" part is even literal in this case. This is a step backward from the first Johnny game, where everything you did had a logical connection towards getting you to work. On the plus side, while the hostility between Johnny and his son and wife are still there, it's definitely been toned down from the first game.
Once again, in addition to simply beating the game, there are five achievements possible for the savvy player. Having finished a respectable fifth place in the tight race of CGDC9, point-and-click fans won't want to miss this one.