I’ve never really played a point and click game before but was more than willing to give Maniac Manors a try. However, I quickly found myself at a loss. There is no tutorial or on-screen instructions. I was left to my own devices to figure things out.
Point and click games aren’t that popular so I feel the developers are already alienating the majority who aren’t familiar with the platform.
Nevertheless, I soldiered on and got to grips with the game. It’s set in an old creepy mansion with the pretext of locating your son who has gone missing in the house.
Point, Click, Go Crazy!
To get past obstacles and unlock clues to the story line you must complete various puzzles which present themselves around the house. Pattern and numerical brain teasers being the most common. Some are challenging but many can simply repeat themselves and become tiresome.
The story is relayed through on screen commentary from the protagonist, searching for his son. It gets the story across okay but I found the numerous grammatical errors that crop up in the text annoying.
You have a notebook which acts as a holding place for all the narrative that appears on-screen. I found it useful when trying to figure out what I was supposed to be doing.
At points the game can get seriously creepy, particularly when you make a gruesome discovery. The onscreen text which appears during these find often adds to the confusion by remaining vauge; “something bad happened here”.
An interesting feature of the game is your health, or should I say, mental health. As you become increasingly confused by puzzles or grim discoveries your mental health will begin to deteriorate causing poor vision and an inability to walk in a straight line.
The Manor Needs a Makeover, Sir
The graphics, although extensive and imaginative left a lot to be desired. I get the impression that the designer reached a barely acceptable level of detail and called it a day.
The textures are flat and the 3D modeling for items such as furniture are basic, blocky and look out of place in a mansion. Trees also look like they’ve been roughly rendered from nothing but triangles. I also found myself getting lost in the dark a lot. The game is dark in general but the screen can become hard to see as numerous dark textures wash together in a black blur. There are some good aspects however. For example, light and shadow dynamics work brilliantly and the night sky looks cool.
The game’s sound is brilliant. Background sounds such as the chirping of birds or the rustling of leaves gives a tense, jumpy feeling to the game. The musical score of deep violins only make things even better.
The controls are simplistic. Other than on-screen inventories you simply used your left thumb to move your view and your right thumb to perform an action when there is an interactive object in the cross-hair.
Despite it’s downfalls I liked Manaic Manors. It was my first point and click game and I enjoyed playing it. There are various elements of suspense to the game and the puzzle solving adventure certainly beats a boring Sudoku app.