Agatha is a little girl who loves animals. She also likes to kill them, because stocking her mother’s struggling butcher shop makes her happy. She hates that her furry friends look sad when they face their end. Agatha tries to quell her sadness and insomnia by creating a religion in the hopes of revitalising her mother’s business. With the help of a mysterious mentor, Carnivorism is born. As stories go, it’s... offbeat. A dark point and click adventure, Agatha Knife is a funny, confrontational curio.
The simplistic, cartoonish aesthetic is charming and disturbing in equal measure. Likewise, the story balances dark themes and knowing comedy. Its closest gaming relative is perhaps the grim absurdity of The Binding of Isaac. The opening act is funny, confusing, and more than a little horrific. In truth, it could put some players off, yet the game's uniquely flawed execution always seems intentional. Controls that are poorly explained, abstract dialogue so blunt that it almost seems offensive -- it’s an initially tough sell.
However, stick with it long enough to see Agatha create her meaty religion, and the writing really starts to shine. This is a game in which it’s not out of place for a hamster to start talking to you, while trash TV transfixes its drooling owner. Nerdy references pepper the dialogue and hide in the lovingly crafted background art. Agatha herself is a wonderfully complicated character; we see things from her innocent and skewed perspective, for good or ill. The puzzling is relatively simplistic -- there's nothing here to match the nonsensical item combinations of the genre's luminaries. But this is a game more about story and tone than pixel hunting, and the result is a decent, bizarre experience.