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Review: Creaks – A dark nice inventive puzzle

Review: Creaks is a mysterious, scary dark puzzle game which is nice and inventive puzzle setup in great Atmosphere (graphic and musical).
4.5/5 - (49 votes)

Review: Creaks – Everyone likes to play a puzzle game to stimulate the brain cells, they must have thought at Amanita Design. The Czech developer, who normally sticks to point & click games, saw it a bit bigger this time: Creaks. Not a point & click adventure now, but a puzzle platformer that sometimes makes you think for a while. The graphics and animations are hand-drawn and the music is composed by the Hidden Orchestra, but whether this is enough to give it your hard-earned money can be read here.

Descend

The game starts with an unnamed character quietly reading something in his room, when at a certain moment his lamp breaks down. After he has tried to repair the lamp a few times, a piece of wallpaper suddenly comes loose and your story begins behind this loose piece of wall covering. An explanation of the mechanics of the game might have been nice, but hey, it’s a puzzle game, so figuring it out for yourself also has its charm. Along the way you descend deeper and deeper into an immense building that appears to be located under your house. Here you go from puzzle to puzzle, with a lot of secret rooms and paintings in between. Some of these paintings are just for viewing, while others allow a small mini-game to be played, which is a nice change.

The story itself is actually a bit poor. Apart from a few bird-like people trying to solve their own problem, you don’t come across much and it is also only later in the story that you realize what it’s really about: you are going to help these bird-like people. In retrospect, it is certainly not the worst story, but it could have been a bit more. It mainly felt like a walk from puzzle to puzzle, with some pastime in between. But luckily you will keep playing mainly because of the quality of the puzzles and not because of the meager story, so there is a drive to keep going.

Nice puzzles

The puzzles themselves are challenging, but for real puzzle fanatics, Creaks won’t be too difficult. While playing, we never felt the need to look up anything because we couldn’t get any further. You always get through it – sometimes after some trial & error – regardless of the mechanics you encounter in the puzzles, of which there are five in the game. That starts simply with one mechanism that gradually expands to four more mechanics, to which the puzzles are also tuned, which means the more varied types of puzzles. It mainly revolves around using buttons, switches, lights and mechanical devices to get around enemies. These enemies turn into furniture when exposed to light, which can be a possible stepping stone to a higher ladder.

Review: Creaks

Creepy atmosphere

If you’re playing the game late at night and you’re home alone, it can feel a little creepy every now and then. The atmosphere is grim and the music also contributes to that. This is especially true in the beginning, as the later parts of the game have a slightly lighter environment. The graphic aspect is in tip-top shape and almost creates its own style and the musical aspect is certainly not inferior. The music will guide you through the puzzles and it will also help you if you get stuck somewhere. For example, the music will increase as you get closer to the solution, although this is done quite subtly and this alone will never be enough to complete the puzzles.

Does something creak?

The only downside to Creaks, aside from the slightly meager story, is that moving the character (especially around ladders) can be a bit difficult. Sometimes you climb a ladder three times in a row, when you really just wanted to go to the right. Not too serious, unless a mechanical dog rushes at you who would like to check your insides. This with your death as a result. However, there is no penalty if you die and luckily there are also checkpoints in the puzzles themselves, so you never have to do too much again. In that context it is mainly a small frustration when you die, because you crawl up that cursed ladder for the umpteenth time when you did not want to. Playing with the arrow keys solves this problem somewhat, although playing with a joystick is more pleasant.

Creaks – Conclusion

Creaks is a puzzle game lasting at least five hours that, especially in a sale, is worth giving a shot. It is mainly the musical and graphic aspects that make the game stand out. The story is nothing special, but the puzzles are well crafted and the sequence of new elements to the puzzles is well timed. The paintings that make the moments in between the puzzles more pleasant and are a nice change, ensure that you do not quickly get a ‘burnout’ from the puzzle. The story sequences disappointed a bit, as well as the control around ladders which is sometimes a bit awkward. The latter is mainly a problem because it can lead to unnecessary frustration, besides that Creaks is a great puzzle game.

Pros of Creaks

  • Atmosphere (graphic and musical)
  • Smart puzzles
  • Interactive paintings

Negatives of Creaks

  • Skinny story
  • Sometimes a bit clumsy controls

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