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[personal profile] xyzzysqrl
The Eyes of Ara has defeated me, which feels really good actually. I haven't had my butt kicked by a puzzle game this sharply since The Witness. That means it is the Hard Stuff, and I cannot help but respect it.

Enough about me, what is this game?

You're an Ageless Faceless Gender-Neutral Culturally-Ambiguous Adventure Person who is hired to go into an old castle and find out why it's interfering with radio waves. Inside you find a lot of cryptic notes and like fifty journals (did they buy these in bulk?) from the family that lived there last. The mom was paranoid, the kids were fond of exploring and into everything, and the uncle was doing weird experiments up in the tower.

This neatly dovetails into why the place is such a honeycombed mess of puzzles and puzzle hints, y'see. Uncle who invents lots of things including security systems, plus a very curious girl trying to solve all those security systems, plus a brother with a touch of kleptomania who loves to hide loot like a fricking ferret, equals a bunch of security systems with bits missing and handwritten clues everywhere.

Look, it's a framework. There's a lot of handwaving and glue.

So, puzzles. Most of which are good and clued. A few of which use the same clues for different puzzles in different ways, and that's very good. As always, take notes or screenshots. Experiment, get messy.

That said, there's a few minor problems, the puzzles get SHOCKINGLY hard by the time you're in act 3, and...

Okay, this may just irritate me. And it's not a bad thing, I want to say that going in, BUT if I have one main complaint about The Eyes of Ara, it's this: There are collectibles too, loose coins and photographs and whatnot. Sometimes, you'll do the legwork to solve a tough puzzle and instead of anything remotely helpful you'll open a panel and three lousy coins fall out.

You never quite know WHICH puzzles are optional "three lousy coins" puzzles and which puzzles are major "that key you need to get to the next room" puzzles.

Like I said, this isn't inherently bad! It allows a lot of reuse of puzzle material, there's optional stuff to challenge yourself with (even if you don't know it's optional) and allegedly there's a secret extra something if you collect all the dinguses. It is FRUSTRATING, however, to expect progress and get tokens.

They're good puzzles, though.

Anyway, I hit my limit late (probably) in chapter 3, with a rotating wheel of artwork divided into linked sections that turn at different speeds. Solve that and you're officially Better Than Me and earn the dubious prize of my respect and awe.

Date: 2018-08-20 01:30 pm (UTC)
dang_bunni: (Default)
From: [personal profile] dang_bunni
Was the multiringed artwork a picture of colored otters?

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