Antoine is a suspect of murdering his stepfather: the count of Moreau. He is also the only one actively investigating the poison murder. His siblings blame him, and do their best to frame him. The count has left a will giving Antoine everything, and it is easy to understand the rivalry. Now Antoine has a limited number of days to redeem himself, and flush out the real killer. Everyone is a suspect until proven innocent, and at this chateau everyone is guilty of something. It doesn’t help matters that the late count has left a lot of secrets, strange documents and wicked puzzles behind. Antoine balances on a thin line between freedom, and death.
The Secret of Chateau the Moreau is a modern spin on the adventure genre mixing pieces from point and click adventures, Phoenix Wright and Clue. Antoine moves around the chateau on a map view. This reminds me of the controls found in the Nintendo DS game Hotel Dusk Room 215. Puzzles are touch controlled, and the majority is based on slow deliberation. Some require speed, and I they usually take me by surprise. When you search a room you click around in a static view just like in Phoenix Wright.
The puzzles are quite hard, and there are quite limited hints in the game. You can Water of Blessing to help you find the next object to proceed. These can be purchased by means of IAP, but as they are quite useless as hints it is a waste of money. I have had to search around for hints on the Internet to solve some puzzles, and that is not something I am used to. Some puzzles are hard, but still manageable. The satisfaction is immense when I manage to crack a puzzle on my own, and I feel like a true detective.
The characters in the chateau are easy to distinguish, and their agendas are unclear to Antoine. If you present the wrong item to someone it might lead to your death. There are 40 endings in the game, and a lot of them happen after conversations with someone. To me this is kind of strange, as there are many different truths to the story. Someone might confess to the murder, but at the same time kill Antoine. When I replay the same scenario without presenting a certain item that truth is gone. Confusing, but this is a mystery game and as such it should be shrouded in a veil of unanswered questions.
As far as presentation go it is perfect for the gameplay at hand. It doesn’t look that great in screen captures, but once captivated by the story and puzzles the game shines. Much like reading a book the graphics is a mere frame to the imagination. The music is quite nice as well with piano pieces. There are no voiceovers, and that is something that would have enhanced the game quite a bit. Furthermore there is an over usage of the vibration of the iPhone. This can’t be turned off, which is a big minus if you play the game around others.
I really enjoy the story, and structure of the game. Each chapter ends with a dinner. At this dinner Antoine has to defend himself to be able to go on for another day. The dinner plays much like a hearing in court in Phoenix Wright. There are numerous ways to fail, and the five candles representing life lines are easily extinguished. It is important to save often in the game, and this can be done manually at most times.
The Secret of Chateau de Moreau is a great entry in the adventure puzzle genre. It has memorable characters, an intriguing story and hard puzzles. At times the puzzles lack hints, and the game has no hint system. This can lead to severe frustration, and forum browsing or deletion are the only solutions. Still if you manage to calm yourself, and get through the game it has a lot to offer. If you look for a game that laughs in the face of casual gaming, and adds depth to the experience definitely pick this one up.
The Secret of Chateau de Moreau $0.99 Sale, ordinary price $4.99
Seller: Four Thirty Three