Version Reviewed: 1.102
App Reviewed on: iPad 2
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Anybody who has played the classic LucasArt’s game Maniac Mansion from the golden era of the 80s will definitely feel right at home with the recently released Maniac Manors, a haunting 3D point-and-click adventure game for iOS and Android.
Ambient and eerie though it may be, players who are new to this genre may find the lack of any sort of in-game tutorial or assistance frustrating and will find themselves greatly left to their own devices throughout to do the guesswork of their own accord. Thankfully, there is the added bonus of a walkthrough on the menu screen for anyone who feels they are having enough trouble to warrant checking it out for solutions.
The story follows a clueless father who has just bought a dirt-cheap mansion and turns up looking for his son who has since mysteriously disappeared. After a short puzzle in which players have to aimlessly work out how to gain entry to the house, it is then that the game really opens up - the primary objective being to explore the estate, work out the mystery of why young Gavin has vanished without trace, and discover who is causing the strange events that occur after setting foot inside.
If the game has one thing that stands out, it has definitely got style and is presented terrifically. From the creepy visuals to the screen-shifting effects, right down to the haunting soundtrack, the experience will definitely draw players in. Especially more so if played at night or in a darkened room.
Based loosely on Cthulhu mythology, it carries across the “mental-health” management system well and is certainly fitting of the ambiance of the game. Dropping to a low “brain-count” will cause some strange outcomes, and it’s the player’s job to make sure their mental health is in top shape to avoid succumbing to madness.
As mentioned previously though, one slight letdown is the game’s inability to give players any guidance whatsoever. And although the puzzles are a great asset, solving some of the challenges can be really tedious at times without any clue as to what to do or where to go. The game’s greatest letdown, however, is just how terrible the English localization is considering that the game offers a huge chunk of back-story in note form, which instead is largely incomprehensible. Though this has been improved slightly in the latest update, this isn’t greatly apparent and can cause some headache over what exactly is being conveyed.
For those looking for a good enough scare, Maniac Manors manages to pull it off rather well. However, the game’s slight lack of direction and terrible misuse of the English language may be enough to put those new to the point-and-click genre off playing it, which overall is a great shame.