Creepy factor: 7
Fun factor: 9
Replay value: 6
Puzzle Difficulty: 8
Wow, this game is creepy! Really, reeeeeeaaally creepy! Ok, so… It’s about a writer, Michael Arthate, who goes to stay in large atmospheric house, away from it all, to gather inspiration to write an ending to his latest novel. It probably sounds like a generic setup, but as you explore and learn the history of the house, it becomes clear that there isn’t much generic about this game, (well aside from the whole ‘alone house’ setup and using a writer as the main character). Also, throughout the game different things will happen and you’ll call up James, the guy who got you into the house, and he’ll give you some tips and move the game along.
The graphics in this game are pretty well-done and thoroughly creepy. The game is first person and you don’t actually see your character in the game, so it leaves out the possibility of having badly-created character graphics, which is always a plus! The only time you actually see another “person” is near the end of the game, and even then they’re not meant to look normal or completely visible. So, it’s all good. Areas of this game include the main mansion, a crypt, and even a creepy old church! This game takes away crappy character models and leaves you with very atmospheric and well-decorated surroundings, and you’ll definitely want to look at every little thing there is.
There are plenty of things to read in this game and things to find. There is no shortage of drawers to open or papers and pictures to shuffle through, (no, really, there isn’t). There are lots of intricate-looking keys to find and many rooms and places to figure out how to open. Michael will even make creepy comments and narrate about different areas and happenings in the game, which adds extra character to the playing experience.
The music in this game is excellent! It gives such a sense of creepiness that it makes you not even want to explore dark areas of the game, especially the basement and the gallery! There are especially creepy dream sequences where you’ll hear strange noises and see unsettling things.
The voice acting is actually pretty well-done, especially for a point-and-click game. The characters sound genuinely concerned and confused when they’re talking and it really seems like they’re having a conversation. And while they’re not being concerned, they are unnervingly calm and collected sounding.
The difficulty of puzzles in this game can be a bit hard at times, and sometimes it may seem like there’s no actual direction in what you’re meant to be doing. Things can be easily overlooked, so it’s important to investigate each and every little thing in this game and relate those using critical thinking skills. The puzzles themselves, although sometimes aimless, are enjoyable and thought-provoking.
An interesting aspect of this game is the fact that it never actually clarifies what exactly happened to the Blackwells, not completely. You’re left to expand upon the ideas given in the African myths, combining them with the two-faced facts uncovered around the mansion.
The only thing that bothers me about this game is that if you turn on gamma correction it makes the loading time when you’re moving around a bit slower. So, if you’re trying to get from one area, to look at something, to another it can get a bit patience-trying. It also makes the cursor move slower (you pan the camera with the cursor in this game); you can set the cursor so that it’s angle-clickable instead of free-moving, though. Actually, those are really my only hang-ups about the game: the slow cursor movement and load times with gamma correction turned on.
This game is most definitely worth playing. The story starts out a bit slow in the beginning, but it quickly picks up once you have explored the house and really start to get into the background story of the estate. If you love point-and-clicks, interesting background stories, and creepy atmospheres then you should play this game for sure!