Of all the things I’ve done in video games, I had never actually had to milk a cow until I played Milkmaid of the Milky Way (I don’t have a Switch). The opening quests of that game are unique, placing you in a beautifully rendered environment as a lone dairy farmer in a remote region. The music perfectly captures the beauty and isolation of your character’s life. With her parents gone (heartbreakingly) and with her herd so far removed from the city, she spends her days reading books, making butter, and hanging out with the cows. Solving her initial puzzles is a satisfying and unique experience. Then aliens show up and ruin everything.
Well that’s not exactly true; Milkmaid of the Milk Way is a satisfying point-and-click adventure all the way through. It’s a satisfying throwback to the adventures of Guybrush Threepwood and Zak McKracken and rendered with terrific retro graphics. After some gorgeous opening puzzles, your character spends most of the game trying to rescue her cows from some invading aliens led by a sinister queen. Fortunately, most of the puzzles are pretty easy to solve and many of the characters you interact with provide some stellar dialogue (I particularly enjoyed the surprisingly dirty decorators you meet late in the game).
Sure, there are some puzzles that require a bit of squinting to notice the item you need to solve a particular puzzle. If you’re ever stuck, you probably simply overlooked something. There’s also the issue of the game’s dialogue; every bit of dialogue is rendered in rhyming couplets, arguably the very last thing you want to read when encountering a frustrating puzzle. It’s clever dialogue, to be clear, but it can get a bit grating. Probably my biggest complaint is that the bulk of the game is never as much fun as it is in the early levels. Ruth’s aesthetic lifestyle is fun to experience and the beauty of those scenes shines even brighter against the kinda drab, 70’s sci-fi interior designs of the spaceship. Maybe that’s part of the game, though, as you and Ruth both want to get back to her beautiful verdant homeland.
THE BEST PARTS:
The game provides a beautiful, fun, innovative point-and-click adventure title.
THE WORST PARTS:
You’ll need to squint to make sure you don’t overlook something important. Also those couplets may make you want to strangle somebody.
OVERALL: BUY IT
Between this and Thimbleweed Park, we’re entering an era of terrific old-school adventure games. Milkmaid is a great adventure title that’s well worth your time.