Weirdos on a Train
Wasabi, Sara's cat, ever appreciative of being rescued from cat-nabbing goblins, looks her deeply in the eyes and says, "Sara, we have a train to catch." She's quite miffed that her cat waited all this time to reveal his loquaciousness. Still, she gives in to his insistent demands and boards the midnight express, unanswered questions rolling through her thoughts, to travel through the countryside with a bunch of Weirdos on a Train.
You begin this point-and-click adventure from Tucker Bowen, author of the Something Amiss series, in your cabin in train car one. By following clues and using a bit of ingenuity, acquire the five tickets needed to reach—a mysterious someone in—car six. It feels a bit like an escape-the-room game meets Alice is Dead; the teasing discoveries, need to sleuth and narrative elements are here albeit the tone is much different, more unique to Tucker's talent as an artist and storyteller. Navigation seems a bit awkward, especially since one black and grey shaded cabin door looks much like the next. Still, you have a talking cat and enough guideposts (car numbers, quirky occupants, imposing conductor) to help you make the necessary distinctions.
Weirdos on a Train is the fourth in the saga, Sara and the Sarcastic Creatures, and it is by far the best of the bunch. Sara's story started as a coffee shop simulation/hidden object game called Javinians, then continued in a quiz game called I Dream of Weirdos and, after that, another point-and-click adventure, Stupid Cat Snatching Goblins. Truthfully, none of the previous three have much to recommend them in terms of game play. Nonetheless, they're worth taking a look at for the intricate and quirky artwork and characterizations. It's also nice to see how Sara's story unfolds and to notice Bowen's improvement as a game developer.
If the trend continues, we can look forward to more adventuring (or platforming? or metroidvania?) in episode five. Where will these sarcastic creatures lead Sara next? What's the big secret Wasabi's hinting at? And why, if Wasabi could talk all this time, didn't he speak up sooner? One thing I do know: if weirdos jumped out from behind my espresso machine, a talking cat would be the least of my worries.