MacGuffin’s Curse is a werewolf-themed puzzle/adventure game from Australian developer Brawsome, and it’s got an awful lot going for it. The game’s main story will take you quite a few hours to complete, and there are good reasons to spend even more time with it afterwards. For $1.99, it packs a great punch, in no small part because of its high production values.
The world you inhabit as the game’s main character, Lucas MacGuffin, is built out of dozens upon dozens of different rooms, most of which require some puzzle solving to move through. The game is pretty linear, but the layout of the world as a collection of interconnecting levels does a lot to give the player a strong feeling of exploration. There are distinct settings within the world, all with a nice amount of visual characterization. The look of the game is also improved by the animations and illustrations for all of the characters, which are detailed and very expressive.
This one has a beautiful floor plan.
Also breathing life into the game is the writing. There is a lot of dialogue for the game’s many characters, and MacGuffin himself is rarely at a loss for words. He seems to have a comment for every single item in the game world, but his commentary and the general tone of the game can ultimately get a bit tiresome. The voluminous text in the game is very cheeky, and how much you’ll enjoy it depends greatly on how many nods and winks you can tolerate.
The puzzle-solving itself can be laborious, as well. Rarely did we encounter a situation that required any substantial forethought to get past, and there is very little variety in the game’s puzzles. There’s a lot of crate pushing and switch flipping, and it outstays its welcome in light of how uninspired the knots you have to unravel are.
There’s something to be said for not making overly obscure solutions, but we found ourselves disappointed with the quality of the gameplay more often than not. While a great puzzle game should be full of ‘a-ha!’ moments, we most commonly responded to puzzles in MacGuffin’s Curse with a sentiment more like, ‘Really? That’s all there is to it?’ It usually feels more like navigating oversized furniture through a crowded living room than actually using your head to find a way to progress.
The stream is an interesting architectural choice.
Once you’ve moved through the game’s serviceable main story, the credits roll and there’s still a shocking amount of content to enjoy. At this point in the game, the developers give themselves a little more freedom to do different things, and it’s extremely refreshing. The purpose of this post-credits material is mostly to elaborate on the backstory, and there’s at least one revelation that is genuinely surprising. In addition to this quasi-epilogue, there are some extra goodies you can buy from the pawnbroker with the loot you’ll find littered around the game. We won’t spoil the one that impressed us the most, but we’ll tease it by strongly recommending that you buy the in-game computer.
MacGuffin’s Curse isn’t the most rewarding puzzle game we’ve encountered, but there are simply too many things it does well for us not to recommend it. It’s an extraordinarily well-made game, and it’s a solid choice if you’re in the market for a low-impact, story-heavy puzzle game.