Anybody now od similar games, like grown up Nancy Drew? I actually sort of like them.
I guess I am not a fanboy. I really don't see much of a difference between this game and the entry's in the Nancy Drew series except that it is difficult to see in this one and there are elements that are fairly distasteful. You solve puzzles of various sorts, in low light, in order to get to the end. It is never clear what the backstory is in spite of a spate of notes and voice overs.
The game has a certain antique quality. It reminded me of Zork a bit. You can never go backward so that once you finish a "level" and move on, the return is sealed to you. That's OK, I guess, it just seems a bit controlling on the part of the developers.
The game has two major conceits: it is really dark and you have no maps. If both of these were remedied it would take about two hours, tops, to finish. As it is, the darkness simply, after the "wow, it's dark here" insight wears off, is just a pain in the ass. You have to replenish lamp oil and obtain tinderboxes to generate enough light to slog thru various corridors and other noisome areas. I get the idea of atmosphere but it gets old in a game that could, if played straight, go on for many hours. I lasted for about 1/3 of it before I upped the gamma (not enough) and found cheats to give me unlimited oil and tinderboxes. A major improvement. It seems to me that a game shouldn't have to rely on a cute trick to succeed. The dark thing comes across that way for me. Your mileage may vary. The lack of any mapping capability is annoying. Getting lost in the dark, repeatedly, gets real old real fast. I see what they were trying to do. You are sort of stalked by vaguely seen critters who pounce and kick your ass. It is tough to run and tough to hide so the result is often inevitable. Even towards the end there was a certain dread when you knew one of the critters was around. That much I will freely admit. I also experienced this type of confrontation the way the game was intended to be played (in the dark) and found it pleasantly creepy. BUT, and it is a big "but", that does not work for an entire game.
Ever see a comedy movie whose trailer was funnier than the movie? You go to see it and it is clear that the writers/directors had one joke and tried to make a movie out of it? This game is like that. It works better as a trailer or demo than as a full game.
In any event, if you find yourself playing this you might find it more fun (after a couple of hours) to shed some light on the subject.
n.b. I kept track of how may lights I lit once I had unlimited tinderboxes. Remember that I was still picking them up for laughs even though I didn't have to. It turns out that lighting everything in sight used up 180 (about) MORE tinderboxes than you could find which means that it gets really, really dark (I know, there is an oil lamp too but still ...)
The back story, as far as I can determine, revolves around the protagonist coming to a castle in Germany to get himself rid of some supernatural thing that has been following him around (or something. It was unclear to me and, frankly, too much work to go back and re-read all of the documents that expound the tale). To do this the Baron (there is always a Baron, you notice that?) and he evidently torture people to death. Again and again. And this particularly unpleasant plot device is expounded upon again and again. I got it the first time. I really got it the second. Enough already. This is a cheap device (like the darkness) to establish a mood. It worked then was beaten to death (interesting metaphor). I guess this game comes across a bit like a Senior thesis in game design. Everything for a successful game is there it's just that it was not assembled with a deft touch.
All in all this is something to kill some time and at least I didn't have any technical crap to deal with. If you fix it up a bit it is better than diverting. It just ain't great.