The second installment in an already promising series, One-Eyed Lee and the Dinner Party, is a supernatural point-and-click mystery. Set in a post-apocalyptic, fantastic world, the game balances a nuanced exploration of its little characters with a clever world structure that opens up the potential for future installations.
The story follows a scientist named Beracus and defending champion Lee as they investigate a bunker they believed was abandoned only to be caught at a dinner party hosted by a family of skeletons. The two are invited to wait with them for the “New World”, although a locked door leaves them little room to refuse.
Then you lead Beracus and Lee through the bunker, rummage through the family’s belongings and chat with the animated skeletons. This process will reveal clues to help you find the secret exit through which to escape. It also reveals the story of the captured family and the mysterious cult leader who lured and trapped them in the bunker.
One of your most important goals in the game is not to let Lee die. Unfortunately, he’s a little reckless. He likes to touch things he really shouldn’t and can be a little hasty if he shares his opinion. One of the decisions you need to make is how far to let them go if they want to investigate a sinister looking mold or give their opinion to someone who doesn’t want to hear them.
This is a theme that runs through the entire One-Eyed Lee series. His impulsive behavior is at least partly due to a mysterious magic that he possesses, which Beracus tries to fully understand in his role as a friend and scientist.
This thread is the main part of the game that connects it to the rest of the series. It offers enough intrigue to learn more about the world the game is set in. It does a lot of groundwork to invite you into the rest of the series.
However, it is still possible to play through One-Eyed Lee and the Dinner Party completely without knowing the other games. The story is pleasantly self-contained and none of the threads associated with other games feel like loose ends. They tease the world outside of the bunker in a way that is really fun.
Solving the puzzles requires multiple conversations with each character and many visits to each room. One-Eyed Lee and the Dinner Party makes very good use of the limited space, keeping the amount of background graphics to a minimum without the game feeling stunted or repetitive.
The narrative takes a wonderfully human approach to the various characters. They are all clearly well elaborated, each with their own personalities and flaws. It’s refreshing to see how people’s mistakes are portrayed in this way, with the story showing the logical steps behind making decisions that the characters aren’t exactly proud of – the times they hurt people or the things that they regret. The game has a lot of empathy built in, which gives it a lot of heart and a strong emotional climax (no matter which of the many endings you get).
The original artwork has a clear, distinctive character with bold colors and clear stylistic choices that really work. The bright, cartoonish design is a lot of fun when faced with the dark story of manipulation and kidnapping and death, as well as the occasional crude humor and curses.
One-Eyed Lee and the Dinner Party is a very well made game. It ported to the Switch smoothly compared to other point-and-click games I’ve played. The art style, soundtrack, and narrative combine to create a great sense of character that is both compelling and healing.