The Secret of Grisly Manor

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The Secret of Grisly Manor Review

Seemingly forever ago, Myst ushered in a whole new kind of interactive experience. Carefully weaving together a large number of striking pre-rendered scenes combined with smooth animated sequences, Myst brought the point-and-click adventure to the mainstream. Although this genre has been greatly marginalized in the era of twitchy FPS games, we still get excited when a modern twist on the point and click adventure comes around. The Secret of Grisly Manor is a throwback to exploratory adventure games, and the execution is nearly flawless.

The stage is set by a short cutscene where rumors of your Grandpa’s death come to the surface. You have a fondness for Grandpa because he’s a wildcard, an innovative guy with a knack for making crazy inventions. Wanting to get some concrete information on what’s going on, you take the trip the Grandpa’s old stomping grounds to discover his secrets. His house is a manor, and yes, it’s grisly.

Tick tock.

Central to any point and click game are the environments and random items you’ll find to move the story along. Many items you’ll pick up will seem to have no purpose, but after enough exploration, the light bulb comes on and you’ll realize where to put them. Moving from scene to scene is very smooth and responsive, and load times are short.

There are also many interactive puzzles that you manipulate by touching and dragging items on the screen. We would have loved to use the accelerometer on some puzzles, but the puzzle variety is satisfying. We would discuss the puzzles further, but we’re not inclined to spoil the scenarios within.

What’s in the box?

The Secret of Grisly Manor looks and sounds fantastic. The art style is interesting and very consistent. Conveying a sense of spookiness is tricky, but the ambiance comes across nicely. With the game largely set in a house, there was potential to make everything look homogeneous, but every room feels new and unique. The looping audio track is fitting, but we did grow tired of it by the end.

The end of the game came a lot quicker than we hoped. Depending on how long some of the more abstract puzzles tie you up, you can finish the game in about an hour. That hour is full of amazing content though, so you can decide on the value proposition there. Grisly Manor’s developer is currently developing the sequel right now, and given how well this game turned out, we’re looking forward to one hell of a followup.

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    New App A Day: The Secret of Grisly Manor

    Not to be confused with The Secret of Bryce Manor, today’s featured app is an adventure game about– you guessed it– exploring a manor that’s full of secrets. As you do, of course, you pick up all kinds of trinkets that can be placed in empty slots found elsewhere in the house. It’s a tried and true adventure game formula, and it’s hard to stop playing once you start.

    The premise of the game is that your eccentric inventor of a grandfather has disappeared, at least according to the papers. You soon receive a note from him, saying that he hasn’t, in fact, disappeared, and would like you to visit him so he can show you “something truly amazing.” But when you arrive at his manor he’s nowhere to be found. Where is he? What’s going on? These are the things you’ll figure out as you explore the place and solve its puzzles.

    Instead of being a fully 3D world, Grisly Manor is made up of hand-painted views, and you explore them frame by frame, like in classic adventure games Myst and The 7th Guest. The controls are as simple as can be: just tap anything that looks suspicious, and you’re likely to find a secret.

    So far we’re really enjoying the game. It doesn’t go beyond the basic adventure gameplay that amounts to solving puzzles and finding things to use elsewhere, but it’s keeping us intrigued. Pick up The Secret of Grisly Manor if you’re interested in an adventure game that’s light on story but heavy on exploration and puzzle solving.