Impressions

Published on March 24th, 2017 | by Graham

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Mystery Case Files: The Black Veil Impressions

Impressions are based on a time-limited free demo of the game - they're not reviews and don't have a score.

The Black Veil is the fifteenth in the long-running popular series Mystery Case Files.  I loved the previous game in the series, Broken Hour – but then I hadn’t been blown away by another recent game from developers Eipix, Danse Macabre: Lethal Letters.

Would Mystery Case Files: The Black Veil lean towards the brilliance of the former, or the far-too-easy averageness of the latter?

I needn’t have worried.  The Black Veil shows Eipix firing on all cylinders, and cements Mystery Case Files as probably the best around in the adventure genre.

The game opens with an excellent cinematic animation depicting a soldier in the Battle of the Somme, 1916.  He’s running through a nearly deserted battlefield, until he’s confronted by the ghostly visage of a horned woman, her face covered in bandages.  He plucks a feather from her, causing her to vanish.  The feather begins to glow- and we leap forward in time to the present day, being told that the people in the town of Dreadmond, Scotland, have suddenly begun to age incredibly rapidly.  Almost everyone has fled the town, and you’ve been summoned by the Queen (this seems to be common to all Mystery Case Files games, and will never stop being ridiculous) to investigate.

It’s an intriguing story, in that over-the-top supernatural style you’ve come to expect from the series, and immediately drew me in.

Helping with this are the sky high production values.  There’s probably not a series as slick as the Mystery Case Files: the first scene involves a boy running away from an ambulance which then crashes into a bridge, and where other games would be content to sketch this in as a couple of frames, here everything is fully animated.

As with Broken Hour, that includes your every interaction with the environment.  Items get placed from your environment into the scene rather than simply appearing, and it makes the process a little more immersive.

Difficulty wise, it’s similar to Broken Hour – it’s not going to stump you all that long, but few of the puzzles feel redundantly trivial.  The very first puzzle, involving putting shapes into the correct place on an ambulance door, was a nice little brain teaser.

I was very happy to see that Eipix’s famous ‘super puzzles’ are back here.  These are multi-staged, including several mini-games (including, fantastically, a simple clone of the Luxor and the old mobile game Snake) and inventory puzzles, and there are a couple of great ones included in the demo.

I completed the demo before the ninety minute time limit was up and it left me craving more.  I want to find out more about the mysteries of Dreadmond, and to play more of those fantastic super puzzles.  Eipix have got a real winner on their hands here.

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