Those who fondly remember cracking conundrums in The 7th Guest’s Stauf Mansion or feel nostalgic for the early 3D graphics of Resident Evil’s Spencer Mansion will feel right at home in The Tartarus Key, with its plethora of engaging puzzles and well-written cast that’ll welcome you in and make your stay a memorable one.
The Tartarus Key is the rare game that’s able to faithfully recreate an older, chunky 3D aesthetic while still establishing a unique voice of its own. Its brainteasers won’t pose much of a challenge to seasoned puzzlers and its endings are rather abrupt, but the intriguing mystery, variety of puzzle types, and brisk pace work together—much like the characters trapped in the mansion themselves—to ensure a ride worth taking.
While the puzzle difficulty here won’t send most players to online guides, they’re still fun to tinker with, and opening up more of The Tartarus Key’s mansion soon becomes its own reward. Combat mechanics or other challenge elements may have added more spice to the experience, but the game serves as an accessibly light adventure game which is even more fun played alongside a friend to call out puzzle tips or clown on the script. A great ending sequence rounds out the experience, making The Tartarus Key a worthy throwback that doesn't waste time.
Very little about it is new or unique, but it’s well-executed, and that’s an accomplishment in its own right. It’s maybe about 4-6 hours long, which means it doesn’t drag out. Unless you get stuck on a puzzle, but that’s your problem.
It’s good that The Tartarus Key squeaks by on the strength of its puzzles alone, because the connective tissue between them seems determined to strip the game of narrative intrigue before our very eyes.
SummaryThe last thing Alex Young remembers is being at home alone in her apartment... so why has she suddenly woken up in this strange mansion?
All the doors are locked by bizarre puzzles and traps, there are cameras following her every move, and she keeps thinking she sees... things... out of the corner of her eye. If she wants to escape aliv...