The adventure-game genre has two salient qualities: puzzles and story. I’ve played titles with great puzzles and crappy stories, and I’ve played ones with amazing stories and awful, boring puzzles. I’ve even played some in which both the puzzles and plots were great, and some where they were both bad. There may be some kind of permutation formula at work here, but that’s not important.
Category: iOS Games
Works With: iPhone, iPad
Price: Free ($6.99 to unlock full game)
Brightstone Mysteries: Paranormal Hotel‘s story and puzzles are neither great nor terrible; it is completely average across the board. That doesn’t mean it’s not worth playing if you need an adventure fix, but it probably shouldn’t be your first choice especially since something like seven Monkey Island games are currently available in the App Store.
Regardless, Paranormal Hotel serves its purpose and does what it needs to.
Players take the role of Detective Bridget Brightstone, whose boss interrupts her vacation to send her to a spooky castle/hotel to investigate a case involving a missing necklace. The game drops that premise pretty quickly, though, and replaces it with ghosts and some ancient conspiracies involving the Knights Templar and some Egyptian cultists.
And I think this game has ghosts, too? Maybe? That would justify the “Paranormal” bit in the title, but really what you end up doing is travel through the hotel picking up objects, interviewing people, and solving puzzles.
It’s an adventure game, of course, which means that Brightstone has a penchant for picking things up long before their purpose has become apparent, but that’s a trope of the genre and not necessarily a fault of the game. Still, it led to a few instances of me wondering what to do with the ladder I’d just stolen from the courtyard and wondering if it had anything to do with the fax-machine paper I’d picked up on the bridge stretching over the hotel’s moat.
If you’re well-versed in the trappings of the genre, you’ll take all of this very much in stride, but it will probably be confusing to new players. The puzzles are alright, for the most part, although I solved at least one of them just by randomly tapping my screen until the game told me I’d solved it. And I just accepted that and moved on with my life because I had to go figure out what in the world I was supposed to do with the key I’d retrieved from the pot I inexplicably smashed with a hammer in the basement.
What I’m saying is that if the last two paragraphs made any kind of sense to you, you’ll find this game a perfectly adequate diversion. Just don’t expect too much from it.
| Game Name: : Brightstone Mysteries: Paranormal Hotel|
The Good: Decent graphics and animations; a really useful hint system that doesn’t give away any more than you ask for.
The Bad: Nothing too special or significant.
The Verdict If you have a hankering for picking up random things and figuring out how to use them in fairly arbitrary ways — and most adventure fans do — then you’re in for a wholly average time.
Buy from: App Store