- Summary: The Initiate is a mystery puzzle game with horror elements. You awake in a house full of traps and puzzles. A voice bellows: This is your trial; complete it, or die!
Positive: 1 out of 1
Mixed: 0 out of 1
Negative: 0 out of 1
Aug 12, 2017The Initiate is a new first person puzzle game with 'horror' elements by Deceptive Games LTD. The reason I say “horror elements” is becauseThe Initiate is a new first person puzzle game with 'horror' elements by Deceptive Games LTD. The reason I say “horror elements” is because this game is not a jump scare frenzy but does have some good atmosphere. At it's core is a puzzle game like Myst or the much more recent The Witness. It has a few problems and I could see how some people could get frustrated, but I think it’s more than worth a purchase. Smart puzzles and exceptional atmosphere really carry it.
The story here is simple. You wake up in a house with no memory of how or why and are told that you are an “initiate” and must pass a trial in order to escape. It’s a simple concept but it manages to do a wonderful job of building intrigue and atmosphere. The voice work and the sound design are what really build a sense of unease and foreboding. You are teased and taunted constantly with sounds elsewhere in the house that are left unaddressed. The motives of the mysterious voice are only ever hinted at and this mystery provides an effective hook that makes you desperate to know the truth.
Unfortunately, the game’s ending is a little meh, to say the least. An entire games worth of masterfully crafted atmosphere is wasted on an ending that reveals nothing but does give you access to the puzzle website that goes along with the game...
Outside of the minor issues, the only other thing that really bothered me was that a lot of the notes I found had numerous (but small), of what I assume were translation errors in them. Certainly not a big problem, but it did occasionally take me out of the experience in a small way. Overall, the story has a phenomenal atmosphere and great writing, it’s only the ending that slightly lets it down, which is a shame because I really was hooked but hopefully the website will fill in some of the blanks.
A large portion of the gameplay is almost reminiscent of a hidden object game. The environment is interactive, and to accomplish everything you will need to comb every inch of the house. It is impressive how much of the play area you can interact with, but this concept does have problems. You will spend a lot of time opening draws and cupboards and you will need to complete a thorough search of nearly every room. It became a little boring at times, but the actual puzzles were varied and interesting enough to keep me going.
Puzzles in The Initiate are enjoyable, yet challenging enough to keep you interested. UV lighting, key hunting and code breaking, it’s all there and efficiently executed. The real strength of the puzzles is their holistic feel. You are never locked into a room and told you can’t leave until you’ve beaten a specific challenge. You are free (for the most part) to roam the house and tackle the puzzles in any order. This not only stops you getting stuck or frustrated, but makes it feel like the house itself is the puzzle. This perfectly plays into the themes of entrapment and escape, which helps things feel a lot less “gamey”.
Puzzles span multiple rooms and others encourage real outside the box thinking, while some puzzles require attention to the smallest details. I’m not normally a puzzle fan, but I really enjoyed what was here. The puzzles themselves are well crafted and the game makes great efforts to provide a context for its puzzles, which heightens their entertainment value immensely.
There isn’t much I can really say about it other than it is pretty damn good. One or two minor faults, the ending and the endless cupboard opening, do not hold The Initiate back. What we have here is a skilfully crafted, deeply atmospheric puzzle game, that will have you on the edge of your seat. This is a smart, punchy little game that deserves to be played.… Expand