Machinika Museum

Life as a researcher at the museum never ceases to fetch exciting things. I find myself in a dark workshop at a museum. A clear spectacle of the full moon is shown through the skylight above me. It’s dark and quiet at the museum–another long night at the job it seems. In front of me a big newly shipped box awaits with a document addressed to me–“Dear colleagues from the 4th floor […] we have pulled from the inventory this old 3D printer / scanner. It’s an old model, but it works!”.

After tinkering with it for a bit, I realize I’m able to clone various objects in my workshop–like the museum medallion. That’s handy! Bizarrely but quite conveniently, I squeeze the printer into my left side inventory and little did I know, this new printer will become my best friend for the journey ahead, along with a nifty cool endoscope that I can stick into hard to reach places, and a magnetic customizable screw driver.

On one side of my workshop, I notice several packages with varying sizes placed on the floor. It doesn’t look like my management is communicative enough. I’m not given sufficient information other than I’m expected to examine alien objects inside each one of the packages. A letter is always attached next to the package, but upon opening it, I realize that half of what is written is blacked out in confidentiality. What is going on here?! The researcher in me is most definitely intrigued to get started.

Each chapter begins with a package placed on an examination table. The layout and controls are very similar to the Rooms series–a point-and-click, puzzle adventure. Each parcel constitutes a box puzzle that can be manipulated in various ways. At times I wonder if I should have been a mechanic or an engineer instead of a researcher. Several letters warn about the risk of handling these objects. And with each chapter, those warnings are put into context as things slightly go haywire. It appears to be that these items have reached earth from an outer planet. By the 9th chapter, we piece the items together to unfold the full picture.

The game is unique in allowing you to use the 3D printer and other tools. At times the puzzles can be tricky and mind bending, which is great! In several places, I felt the story fell short and the culmination of events at the end was abrupt and somewhat eccentric. And without saying too much, there’s the promise of a confirmed sequel, as the game doesn’t offer a conclusive ending. But since it is purely a puzzle game, the experience of finishing the sequence of chapters feels strangely satisfying.

Would I recommend the game? Yes, especially if you’re a fan of puzzle boxes and the Rooms series, although do not expect the game to be as polished as the latter. It might be worth waiting to get it on sale.

My final score is 3/5 ★★★

  • 3/5 for gameplay
  • 4/5 for design
  • 4/5 for Puzzles
  • 2/5 for plot
  • Game Platform (played on): PC
  • Game Link | Click Here

Inheritance of Crimson Manor

I found myself playing as private assistant to a famous railroad owner, known as Hadley Strange (a very strange name indeed!) and it seems that I have been working for him for the past 10 years. As soon as I arrived at his beautiful mansion, I found an envelope addressed to me at the gate with cryptic instructions to follow. Something about helping Hadley Strange with a mission of his or bringing it to fruition.

Where was everyone, I thought; why is this place deserted? Well a newspaper by the door gave me the answer I was looking for. It seems an accident took place, which resulted in the mysterious disappearance of 5 members of the Strange family.

The Victorian manor is a joy to navigate and it is packed full of secrets—hidden passages, underground cellars, and a fascinating shape shifting library. It appears that Mr. Strange is a very peculiar sort of person with many secrets. One telegram found at the parlor addressed to his name reveals a research he’s been working on outraged the Victorian scientific society and as a result was rejected.

It’s difficult not to point out the resemblances between Crimson Manor and Resident Evil—from the map layouts, to the mechanical puzzles, to the overall atmosphere. It felt like walking into a more polished Spencer Mansion. Am I complaining? Certainly not! The massive house was a joy to explore. They’ve done an excellent job with the setting.

Each room was littered with puzzles. I would say straight forward puzzles—nothing too complex. At times, they were buggy, but nothing a quick exit and re-login couldn’t fix.

The entirety of the story is related through the family’s correspondences and journal entries. At times the game tries to be inventive and uses environmental storytelling. Around the half-mark I pretty much predicted what the ending(s) is going to be.

Overall it was a decent game, but I found myself feeling slightly bored at the lack of action. To be fair it is purely a puzzle game, but then I didn’t really get the same reaction playing The Da Vinci House or The Room games, which were also puzzle games. What made Crimson Manor slightly disappointing for me was how the tension builds up slightly at the beginning, giving you the impression that there’s something sinister going on, but it never really delivers to fulfill the atmosphere and vibe it’s triggering. On Steam, it is categorized as a horror game, which only contributes to setting false expectations for it. I would describe it as more of a mystery/puzzle adventure. The only eeriness you get is from navigating an empty house—no jump scares, cut scenes, or queued animations. It’s a good choice of game for someone looking for a relaxed puzzle mystery.

My final score is 3/5 ★★★

  • 3/5 for gameplay
  • 4/5 for design
  • 3/5 for Puzzles
  • 3/5 for plot
  • Game Platform (played on): PC
  • Game Link | Click Here

Meridian 157 | Game Review

Don’t you just love it when you stumble effortlessly on a really good game? That was the case with Meridian 157. A point and click puzzle game by Nova Interactive Ltd. It is comprised of 3 parts so far- A prologue and 2 chapters.


You begin the journey as detective David Zander who is investigating some kind of mysterious weather condition in the Pacific Ocean but eventually winds up in a deserted island. You can’t help but feel like you’re not alone there. Along the way you stumble on an excavation site and a mine field. The remnants left behind by those before you guide you to uncover a big mystery and that things are not really what they appear to be.


The prologue is a free download and short in comparison to the following 2 chapters. For around $2 each, you receive a well lengthen game packed with mini games & puzzles. What seems like a straightforward game at first eventually grows and the story becomes exceedingly interesting.


The game is very well written and that is evident in the lore. Unlike other games, the notes and entries you pick up feel authentic. The narration picks your curiosity and you start wondering about really going on in this world. On top of that, the puzzle difficulty is no joke. There were instances where I found myself thinking “that can’t be what they want me to do– it’s too complex” but it turns out it really is and it’s just a joy to finally solve a puzzle.


There are no extra fluff in the mechanics of the game. You are simply given an inventory to pick up items and in Chapter 2, you can further combine them. There’s also a nifty camera for you to capture clues to help you crack codes and solve puzzles (and boy will those be handy!).


What I really liked is that each chapter centers around a theme or an area and then segments into parts. Once you finish a section, you transition to the next. Over time this creates a feeling of progression and the game becomes dynamic.


I felt very sad when I finished chapter 2 as I felt closer to finding out the truth as ever. According to the developer; however, it won’t be long before Chapter 3 is released!

If you’re looking for a mind bending fun puzzle adventure on the iPad, reasonably priced with great puzzles, look no further!

My final score is 5/5 ★★★★★

  • 5/5 for gameplay
  • 5/5 for design
  • 5/5 for Puzzles
  • 5/5 for plot
  • Game Platform (played on): iPad
  • Game Link | Click Here

ND: Midnight in Salem

I finished Nancy Drew’s 33rd installment “Midnight in Salem” last night and what a journey it has been. I began playing the game on release day so technically it has taken me almost 7 months to complete this game.

A Bit of Back Story 

In case you’re new to the series, there has been a lot of attention (good and bad) on this particular game. I believe mentioning this information is important because it played a significant role in people’s reception and opinion of the MID.


As is customary, HerInteractive was in the habit of releasing two games a year (yes, you read that right- two). Every time a game is released, a sneak peek trailer at the end of it is thrown in to reveal the next one. This went on for a very long time. So after Sea of Darkness (ND’s 32nd installments), fans knew that there will be a new game and it’s going to be Midnight in Salem.

However, in 2015 HerInteractive underwent big changes. In a letter to their fans, the company announced they will be shifting to Unity as the next game’s engine. As a result, this will affect the development schedule of MID, but that will also ensure better and smoother graphics…etc.

In addition, Lani Minella– who has been the voice behind the character Nancy Drew in the series for almost 20 years, was let go and Brittany Cox was hired. This resulted in an uproar in the community. Not to mention Lani, herself, has been… hmm, how do I say this? — very “vocal” about this decision. Based on what she was sharing with her fans, it was deduced that the reason she was let go was because she didn’t sound  “young enough”. HerInteractive denied this and banned one of Lani’s statements claiming she was sharing too much confidential information with the public.

Fans were sympathizing a lot with Lani because she does have a distinct voice and embodied THE Nancy Drew they’ve known for such a long time. That’s understandable but it’s also only her side of the story. It didn’t help that HerInteractive was elusive about many of the decisions they were making and frankly that is their right to do; however, fans were anguished for some kind of closure and they weren’t getting any.

To make things worse, in 2016, HerInteractive went completely quiet about MID and focused mainly on ND’s new mobile game Codes & Clues. This annoyed many people.

By 2019, many fans began losing all hopes of seeing MID– ever. However, eventually the company released more information about the characters and graphics as the game reached closer to its release date. And after several further delays just a couple of months away from its launch, the game finally came out.

With these factors taken into consideration you can imagine the amount of anticipation, expectation and suspense fans were slowly amassing over the course of 4 years waiting for this installment.

The Game 

Upon the request of a familiar ND character, Nancy flies to Salem, Massachusetts. There, she investigates an estate that is undergoing arson. The estate has roots in history and belongs to the Hathorne family, which was constructed by Judge Hathorne who in turn took part in the Salem witch trials. Drew races to uncover the truth with the aid of her friends and bold return of the Hardy Boys.


The first thing that caught my attention in the game was the minimal interface. Icons and items are colorless and simple looking, mimicking most modern devices today. The second obviously being Nancy Drew’s voice. To my relief, it sounded suitable. I didn’t feel it was alienating from what we’re used to. It was definitely different as Lani’s voice is distinct but not distracting at the same time, which is good.


Massachusetts looks stunning. The level design, the buildings, the music– it’s all nice. The characters on the other hand look less polished. I personally didn’t mind, because I don’t usually play ND games for their nice graphics. It’s the content that matters to me.


The story is interesting but it could have been better. Unlike previously themed ND games, I didn’t feel like I learned a lot about Salem and the trials. There’s so much to work with here pertaining to that time period and history but sadly wasn’t utilized well.


Bess and George, Nancy’s best buddies almost didn’t play any role in this game. Instead, the Hardy boys and Deirdre took their place. It’s a nice addition to have characters actively engage in the investigation. For instance, Deirdre is the detective’s Watson every step of the way. That’s a new experience in the series to have characters collectively piece things together. Usually, they’re a dial away to give you hints when needed but in MID, they’re physically there. Although I have to say that Deirdre’s presence can get a bit annoying at times especially when you’re trying to navigate a scene and she’s just too close to your face. It can get in the way of clicking and exploring things.


As a result of having more characters involved, the conversations were interesting but it was also mentioned that they lacked interactiveness, which I’m afraid I kind of agree with. Usually the player is given the option to choose an answer that can affect the outcome; however in this game, the replies feel like they have little influence.


The biggest let down for me was the lack of mini-games. It’s the aspect of the game that I usually look forward to the most. ND games are challenging and fun unlike many mainstream detective games out there. Each installment has creative mini game design. For instance, one game that comes to mind always is Shadow at the Water’s Edge, which is in Japan. That game seriously has a lot of cool mini games such as Sudoku, Kakuro and Bento puzzles. In comparison, MID is bland. There’s the “cooking” puzzle, which is slightly becoming an ND tradition by now, but other than that, there are hardly any well-crafted mini games to think of.


And with that being said, the player can easily feel there’s little to do in this game aside from the main plot line. With previous games, you can leave one task or puzzle to pick up another. Your to-list is full and the game world feels rich. In this one, your iPhone’s check list is laughable. There’s usually only 1 or 2 tasks to accomplish. Kind of defeats the purpose of having a list really.

Without saying too much, the ending was appropriate. It wasn’t too obvious but neither was it too creative. And instead of a sneak peek trailer, Nancy drops a hint or two about a possible next game set in Austria (or maybe a sequel?).

The Verdict 

Although I’m sure many fans are happy to finally get their hands on MID, the uproar and negativity is understandable to a certain degree.

Having said that, I don’t think many people realize how difficult it is to roll out 2 games a year. I think what HerInteractive has done in the past is seriously commendable. It took a lot of effort to provide that level of consistency. As a result, fans developed a schedule. When things change, which are inevitable in any business, it’s normal to project a level of concern (especially with the Lani situation and her role in the games). And when there are a lot of delays justified for the sake of improving quality, fans’ expectations will soar.

Not many people were happy with the end result and some claim the character designs were even worse than previous installments. It makes me wonder if HerInteractive didn’t issue those promises, would people still think the same way? I think the game is a definite improvement from previous installment but not enough to justify the time spent on it to some people.


I choose to take a more lenient position with the game. I’m certainly disappointed with many things in the game but I also understand that big changes in companies are not easy especially for small developer companies like HerInteractive. The company’s past accomplishments are enough for me to continue to want to have faith in what they do and I’m choosing to stay optimistic.

It’s going to take some time for them to maintain a schedule again, especially with old staff out of the building and new ones in (not to mention the pandemic situation).

So is it worth playing MID? Absolutely. If you’re new to the series; however, I would suggest starting with earlier ones. Not too early in the series though. Somewhere between games 21 and 32. The old games are an absolute gem but to new gamers, they might be outdated. Once you’re done with those 10 new installments, it’s certainly worth going back to the original games.

My final score is 4/5 ★★★★

  • 3/5 for gameplay
  • 4/5 for design
  • 2/5 for Puzzles
  • 3/5 for plot
  • Game Platform (played on): Mac
  • Game Link | Click Here (Also available on Steam & Mac Apple Store).
  • Trailer | Click Here


Edgar Allen Poe’s The Bells

Another hidden object game in the same week (I don’t learn, do I?) Especially when I’ve said it a thousand times on here how I’m not a big fan of hidden object games but sometimes you’re just in the mood for an easy point and click game to pass time, you know?


Well anyway, I heard the Dark Tales series are popular so I gave this one a shot especially when it’s an Edgar Allen Poe game. I knew it wasn’t going to be The Dark Eye material in any way (THIS Dark Eye in case it skipped your radar; a fantastic classic Edgar Allen Poe game back in the 90s). I figured at least we might get a fun twist of Poe’s poem. I even read it before playing it to be prepared; it really made no difference.


Story wise, I suppose the plot is slightly more interesting-ISH than the average H.O. game. The plot has a couple of twists, though predictable. There were also a few hysterically funny moments like the punching scenes, although now that I think about it I’m pretty sure they weren’t meant to be funny.


The way you find and collect your items inventory also resembles a hidden object game in a way, which is a nice change. The mini puzzles; however, were laughably easy except for the final puzzle which I spent a really long time trying to solve. It wasn’t even that difficult but required a reset which didn’t occur to me. I guess in puzzle games the RESET button is the equivalent of kicking a vending machine when it swallows your coins and nothing comes out. I need to make a mental note of that.

Is it worth playing? Maybe. If you like hidden object games, then you might enjoy this one. The graphics are nice, there’s that. And while it’s considered a short game, they do give you extra content upon completion (which I’m afraid I didn’t bother to try). That says everything I guess.

My final score is 2/5 ★★

  • 2/5 for gameplay
  • 3/5 for design
  • 2/5 for Puzzles
  • 1/5 for plot
  • Game Platform (played on): Steam.
  • Game Link | Click Here