reviews\ Jan 5, 2006 at 7:00 pm

Bone: Out from Boneville - PC - Review

Fone, Phoney and Smiley, the Bone cousins, have been booted out of Boneville for, allegedly, some shady dealings that Phoney had engaged in. But whether it was shady or not, Phoney is just a stingy type that grates on everyone's nerves, sooner or later. For some inexplicable reason they find themselves in the middle of a desert-like place, completely lost.

Never mind that they had to somehow get to the location that they are now lost in, but for the game’s sake, it is as though they were magically zapped to this place and are trying to figure out a way out. Well, it is a game and allowances must be made. After some personality classes that give a general idea of the type of characters involved, the trio angers a swarm of bugs, triggering the first of the “challenges” that players will encounter. This is a straightforward dash-from-the-bugs exercise that, while three-dimensional, is purely arcade-platform racer. You will jump the same rocks in the same sequence until, inevitably, you jump off a cliff and evade the bugs.

That is when the game kicks off. The trio is split up and Fone is left to try to find the other two, which starts with a search through a cave (he follows a trail of used cigar butts).

Bone: Out of Boneville is a short, three-dimensional arcade adventure based on the Bone comic books and developed by Telltale, a company that has several former LucasArts employees. The game itself is not that long, and veteran players should be able to get through it in a couple of hours, but the game does have some charm, looks good and has an intuitive interface. Ok, so you have to be very certain of where you click in this point-and-click style title. Precision, in that regard, is key. Early on, you see a scrap of a map under a rock that Smiley is perched upon. After clicking around trying vainly to pick it up, it suddenly dawned on me that maybe Fone (the character you play as initially) couldn’t pick it up. Sure enough, click on Smiley, work through a bit of dialogue (more on that in a moment), and he hops off the rock, and snatches up the map. That opens up a whole new dialogue sequence.

The dialogue is progressed through a series of choices. One of the characters will make a statement, and you are given several responses. Pick the wrong one and the conversation loops. This will happen until you get it right.


The game’s puzzles and mini games are simple and do not offer a whole lot of variety. Add to that the fact that the game itself is not overly long and you have a light gaming experience. However, what Bone: Out of Boneville lacks in substance, it makes up for with delightful animation, a solid look and some charm.

The game’s characters are not complex but they are more than serviceable in this setting. The game is very linear, which will cut down on replay value, but should players get stuck, there is a help button that offers a series of clues just short of actually telling you what to do. For example, to find the missing cousins, in the first level, you may click on the help icon and be told to follow to the cigar butts. But if you find that you can’t find the next one, the help button may remind you of the game’s jumping mechanics – which inevitably leads to the conclusion that you may have to walk to the edge of the cavern’s lips and jump across chasms.

All in all, the game is simple, but a pleasant little experience. Nothing too complex here. Bone: Out of Boneville offers solid graphics, a decent audio experience, easy-to-understand gameplay elements. This is the first outing for the Bone comic book, the first foray into the land of video games and Telltale did a good job of creating the world. Hopefully, next time, the game may offer up some more intriguing puzzles and be a little longer.

Review Scoring Details for Bone: Out of Boneville

Gameplay: 7.0
The game moves at a nice pace, and the control scheme is rather intuitive. Even the inventory is handled well, with colors to indicate when an item in the inventory can be used in concert with something in the world.

Graphics: 7.5
Solid graphics and a simple but effective three-dimensional world.

Sound: 7.8
The voice acting is very good. It’s just unfortunate that sometimes the dialogue options lead to repetition.

Difficulty: Easy/Medium
Generally this is a game that veteran gamers can whip through in a couple of hours.

Concept: 7.0
A nice translation of the comic books but the puzzles are not new and some of the arcade-style mini games are less than fresh in design.

Overall: 7.0
The game has charm. The look and sound are nicely done, but the game is just too short and does not present any major or innovative challenges. This is a simple game, but still it does manage to entertain.


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