To ease you into game play, you start off in your office where you have to collect a list of items before leaving for the city. After a short train ride, you arrive and immediately start talking to people and picking through trash cans.
As you travel through the winding streets of the town, you meet the town’s folk and collect trinkets and clues (and a strange number of cigarette packs and empty bottles). Your interactions with the people in town are superficial, and mostly involve you either fixing/finding things for them or buying stuff from them, like a ruler or diarrhea medication. Hey, City of Fools is labeled mature for a reason: I counted at least two fart jokes and one scantily clad beach-goer in the first hour of play.
While the background music in City of Fools is pleasant, I found the “talking” of the town folk to be down-right obnoxious. In some cases, the characters sounded like a strange version of the “wah-wah-wah” adults from Charlie Brown, while in others, they sounded just like I imagine a punted bee hive might. Still, I felt the charming appeal of the background music outweighed the angry bee hive, so I kept the sound on. Barely.
Visually, the characters are a caricature cartoon style, with many of them appearing to be a strange mash-up of Cabbage Patch dolls and Sloth from the Goonies (the police officer who randomly pops up on screen and the grocer being prime examples).
Finding/buying objects is relatively simple, though many of them are located far away from the town person who is in need. I was honestly rather worried about losing track of who needed what, but as a journalist, you of course keep impeccable notes in your journal, which you can access for a reminder of where to drop off the items you find.
The puzzles and hidden object games are also relatively simple, and there is a “hint” button you can push once every 60 seconds if you’re having a hard time finding that last camouflage button.
One of the biggest things I struggled with was staying oriented in the town. While there is a map you can access, not all the buildings are labeled, and the town is rather sprawling. I eventually realized that the buildings are all numbered, and that those numbers do show up on the map, so I ended up making a little key to help me remember where the heck the library and other unlabeled buildings were.
Overall, I really liked this game. Not because of ground-breaking graphics or a gripping story line, but because it was easy to get lost in City of Fools. I had a blast wandering though the town, talking to weird Cabbage Patch people and swiping roses off a bush. I didn’t always know why I was doing things, but I did know it would most likely be useful down the line. If you’re looking for a fun and relaxing time, City of Fools should definitely be on your to-do list.