While it’s obvious the developer spent a lot of time on the art, Just Take Your Left is sparse enough on other details to make me wish I’d gone right.
Developer: Mehrdad Rezaei
Publisher: Petite Fleur Productions
Release date: 18 November, 2020
I adore point-and-click games, and I adore detective stories, so putting those two together is a surefire way to pique my interest. Although Just Take Your Left sounded like it checked both of those boxes, in reality the game experience was too short and random rather than the advertised fun and humorous. I completed the full game in under 45 minutes, and I honestly think it could have been less time if I hadn’t been looking for more.
Art Style and Graphics
The art style is where Just Take Your Left really shines, with over 3,000 hand-drawn animations according to its store page. However, as will be detailed in the following sections, the problem at the end of the day is this is meant to be a game rather than a movie.
More details of the story’s premise and the main character are given on the store page than is given in the game. Unfortunately, I also believe English may not be the developer’s first language, and it doesn’t seem he invested in a translator. From the store page, I know that the plot is meant to be funny, but for me it was mostly confusing and felt very random. Who is the rat character? What are his motives in preventing the detective from getting the diamond? Unlike in many point-and-click games, there is no dialogue or comments from the main character to help you in solving the puzzles. When there is dialogue that maybe is meant to be a clue, it is so poorly phrased that it’s uncertain it is a clue, so it definitely isn’t particularly useful.
Gameplay and Mechanics
The gameplay experience mostly amounted to randomly clicking things due to the aforementioned lack of clues. As an example, there is a door knob that the player is meant to click on three times to get it off, but the character doesn’t say, “This knob seems loose,” or “Maybe I just need to pull harder,” or anything that could potentially clue the player in that it needs to be interacted with further. The lack of clues to aid in solving puzzles led me to expect that the game might take longer to complete, so I was very surprised when I completed the full game in under 45 minutes. Some of this may have been due to puzzles that were really more like quick time events, where the character just keeps dying until the right object is clicked fast enough.
One of the reasons that the gameplay experience being so short is very off-putting is that there were indications that there was more to explore and do. For example, there’s a door that is labeled “Seven Door” that never leads to anywhere or serves any role in the game. Why was it included at all? This isn’t to say that point-and-click puzzle solutions always make logical sense, but generally what makes them work is the in-game dialogue from the character. Lacking that made it all seem very random without anything to make it humorous.
There are a couple of notable music tracks. There is a particularly chipper song that seems like it belongs in a jaunty retailer commercial, and the song that plays when ghosts are encountered is nicely on-brand. Sound effects are minimal, but what is there makes sense. There is no voice narration.
Despite being cheap ($3.99 at the time of review), I still would say to give Just Take Your Left a pass for those looking for a point-and-click adventure game. While it had no technical performance issues, the game lacks the mental engagement level I’ve come to expect from point-and-click genre puzzles, and there are no achievements, trading cards, or other bonus materials to extend the experience.