Are you a fan of old school puzzle games? If so, I’ve got a treat for you today. Here, for your enjoyment, is The Secret of Grisly Manor. Developed by Firewalker Games, The Secret of Grisly Manor casts you as the nondescript grandchild of a famous, eccentric engineer who’s recently gone missing. You’re tasked with entering your grandfather’s mansion and unraveling the mystery of his disappearance- as well as how he was able to send you a letter in spite of having apparently vanished.
So basically, you’ve got a vanished relative and a creepy mansion filled with intricate puzzles and odd clues all in all, pretty standard fare for a puzzle game, right? The question is whether or not it holds up to the old conventions, and does them proud. Let’s find out.
The Secret of Grisly Manor-originally designed for play on mobile phones- is a point and click adventure game in the spirit of Sierra’s old titles like Lighthouse or Phantasmagoria. The game starts with a simple headline detailing how your famous- if a bit touched in the head- grandfather has vanished. Gramps was an eminent inventor and mechanical engineer who lived along Grisly Road, (personally, giving a street such an ominous name is simply asking for trouble, in my books) and a rather reclusive chap, to boot.
Imagine your surprise when you (naturally) receive a letter in the mail from the old fellow, which starts with a slightly misappropriated Mark Twain quote; “News of my disappearance has been greatly exaggerated!” The old man then implores you to come and visit his manor, insisting he’s got something to show you. He promises it’ll be exciting. Naturally, you make your way to the manor, somehow slipping past the police lines that have no doubt been erected around the missing old man’s home.
What follows is a simple point and click puzzle/adventure game.
Game Mechanics: 3/5
Pretty standard stuff, here. You click on doors, entrances, and stairways to move to other areas of the map. You can click a ‘back’ arrow that pops up on the left of the screen to move to a previous area- though it doesn’t always pop up, strangely enough. Your inventory can be accessed by clicking a small pack on the bottom left corner of the map, and you can access the menu by, well…clicking the menu button. Items in your inventory can be used by clicking on them and then clicking an area of the environment. Very simple and intuitive; most people should have no trouble picking it up. The interface works well enough, but there are a few issues I noticed with it.
One rather glaring problem is that the game seems to have a mite of trouble when it comes to being restarted. Should you happen to close the game with the notion of restarting it later…you might run into a few problems. I myself had to go to the options menu and reset my saved game several times as a result of the game black screening on me when I tried to continue. What’s more, restarting can also mess with the sound, as well.
In closing, the mechanics for Grisly Manor are well-designed and easy to use, but a number of glaring technical issues prevents this application from receiving a perfect score.
While the graphics would be considered low-end in terms of modern computing, they’re actually not all that bad in terms of Chrome. The fact that they look identical to the old “interactive movie” style games of the 90s lends an air of nostalgia. It really does feel like I’m playing one of the old point and clicks, which lends the game a unique sort of charm. As such, I’ve no real complaints about the graphics.
The soundtrack for this game bothers me. It’s not that it’s bad, or grates on my nerves- nothing like that. What bothers me about the soundtrack is that I know for a fact that I’ve heard the primary song in Secret of Grisly Manor somewhere before. For the life of me, though…I can’t actually place where I’ve heard it. Anyone have any ideas? I’d be rather grateful for your help in the matter.
Anyway, the soundtrack’s good. The music fits the atmosphere, and the sound effects are reasonably high quality…well, when they work and don’t glitch out as a result of some bug in the game.
Final Score: 3/5
Secret of Grisly Manor is a reasonably fun puzzle game, and a decent way to pass the time. Unfortunately, some considerable technical issues prevent this game from receiving a perfect score. Glitches with the sound effects as well as black-screen errors on restart bring down what might otherwise be a rather excellent- if brief- diversion.
Also, I swear I’ve seen this game somewhere before. And not just on the iPhone, either.
You can download The Secret of Grisly Manor for yourself on the Chrome Web Store.