spiceninja's Ben There, Dan That! (PC) review

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Funny, clever, and one of the best adventure games I've played.

Ben There, Dan That! may very well be one of the best adventure games I've played. It's strange saying that since it is such an obscure game and is available for free as a download from the developers website. It's very much an homage to the late great Lucasarts adventure games featuring lots and lots of humor and lots and lots of items to pick up that you don't use until your moments away from the end of the game. 
Since this game is very British and I myself am not, I'll be calling the British names for certain things in the game by their American name. Such as calling a flat an apartment and the telly a television. 

 Overworked and underpaid dinosaur video game developers
 Overworked and underpaid dinosaur video game developers

Ben There, Dan That! was developed by a very small independent game studio based in London called Zombie Cow Studios. They've made a few PC games that you've probably never heard of including this games sequel, Time Gentlemen, Please!. The game follows two friends, Ben and Dan, who have come home to their apartment to find that the television isn't working and if they don't get a new antenna to get a better signal they'll miss Magnum, PI. After fashioning a makeshift antenna from things lying around they stick it out the window and are promptly flashed aboard an alien spaceship. 
Ben and Dan hanging with a cow
Ben and Dan hanging with a cow

From here the game really begins. The spaceship acts as a hub and there 9 locked doors, one of which being the door back to their apartment. Every door has a different shaped lock on it and something you find in one world could be inserted into the lock to open it. You venture through each dimension behind the locked doors stealing items, using items, and solving puzzles while you inadvertently kill people. This is how the game progresses and while it may seem open ended it's fairly linear. You have direct control over Ben while Dan will follow you around. You can even tell Dan to do things though sometimes he'll tell you you're crazy and he's not doing that. It plays very similarly to Sam and Max this way.  
The dimensions you travel to are varied and unique. You'll travel to a church with zombie corpses strewn about and meet a priest who is protecting his newly zombified son. You'll take a long (albeit hilarious) elevator ride to the top floor of a video game development studio run by Star Wars reference spitting dinosaurs. You'll even see a dimension where everyone has useless superpowers ("My power is that I have sandpaper palms!").  

 Ben commenting on the ridiculousness of adventure games
 Ben commenting on the ridiculousness of adventure games
 A good adventure game needs great humor and humor is this games forte. There are references to pop culture galore and the chemistry between Ben and Dan is fantastic. The game doesn't have any voice acting and is all text based and relies heavily on great writing. Rest assured, the writing is genius. You'll get a lot of laugh out loud moments throughout with my personal favorite being references to the ice puns from Mr. Freeze in the Batman & Robin film.

So where can you get your hands on this gem? It's currently available for free from Zombie Cow's website or you can buy it in a bundle with it's sequel on Steam for $5. I recommend buying it because these guys deserve your money. While the game itself is fairly short being at about 2 to 3 hours, the areas you'll explore and the hilarity that ensues will make for a very memorable experience.

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