The Procession to Calvary review – tiny, grumpy lions

Renaissance paintings are weird. Sure, some stunning pieces of art emerged from the 15th, 16th, and 17th centuries, like Girl with a Pearl Earring by Vermeer, but there were also plenty of gangly Jesuses, cats dressed as priests, and a great many tiny, grumpy lions.

This is a good thing, since it provides a rich vein of comedy for The Procession to Calvary, a point-and-click adventure made entirely of chopped-up bits of Renaissance art. Developer Joe Richardson pulled the same trick in the game’s sort-of precursor Four Last Things, but it still feels refreshingly different, with about the only point of comparison being Terry Gilliam’s frantic cut-up animation.

In fact, one of the game’s PR points is its Monty Python-esque humour, but I don’t think that’s exactly right. Yes, The Procession to Calvary shares some of its surreal comedy with Python, but I’d argue it has much more in common with the clever wordiness and fourth-wall-breaking humour of Dan Marshall’s Lair of the Clockwork God. Indeed, some of its funniest moments come when God (i.e. the game’s creator) steps in and apologises for some particularly poor animation.

Also, the talking bum is pretty damn hilarious. I had a wry grin on my face for pretty much the entirety of this adventure, but I laughed out loud exactly three times, and the talking bum was one of those three. That’s the game in a nutshell, really: a cross between wry, knowing meta-humour and crude yet equally amusing grotesquery. And Renaissance art provides plenty of the latter with its borderline absurd depictions of hellish punishments and naked wrestling, ripe for the mickey-take.

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The tiny chap on the left helps the musician to keep time, so naturally he’s called the Metagnome. Praise be for puns!

In terms of controls, we’re in standard point-and-click territory, but with one exception. A click of the right mouse button prompts our particularly murderous protagonist – based on Rembrandt’s Bellona – to whip out her sword, ready to lop the head off anyone who stands in her way.

You can, in fact, complete the game by simply murdering everyone to skip the puzzles (an option that would have provided welcome catharsis in Monkey Island with that damn rubber chicken), but the ‘true’ ending requires a kill-free run. And thankfully I rarely felt the need to resort to homicide since the puzzles are pitched almost perfectly, offering a fair challenge without being needlessly obscure. The only real sticking point was one that involved using an item from a previous puzzle again, the only instance of this in the whole game.

All in all, then, this is excellent stuff, but it comes with one major caveat – it’s over a bit too quickly. I finished the game in around four hours, which greatly saddened me since I really didn’t want it to stop. Still, perhaps it’s better to leave your audience begging for more rather than drag things out beyond the point of enjoyment. And we should be thankful that there are more than enough slightly wonky Renaissance paintings to make a sequel.


There’s a musician or two tucked away on almost every screen of The Procession to Calvary, each pumping out period-accurate music. Clicking on them tells you what they’re playing, and you can even applaud if you like. It’s a lovely touch, with the music really adding to the atmosphere – and because they change so often, the tunes never become repetitive.

Verdict: 80%

Beautiful and unique, The Procession to Calvary is one of the funniest and cleverest point-and-click adventures in years.

Genre: Point-and-click
Format: PC (tested) / Mac / Linux
Developer: Joe Richardson
Publisher: Joe Richardson / SUPERHOT PRESENTS
Price: £7.99
Release:__ Out now

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