I Would Do Anything For Love, But I Won’t Do That...
Thing Where I Summon A Demon That Wants To Destroy The Entire World And Usher In An Era Of Terror And Destruction Upon The Human Race In Return For Bringing My Dead Spouse Back To Life Because I Miss Her Terribly Even Though It Sounded Like A Good Idea At The Time It Would Totally End Up Backfiring Because Demons Get You With The Fine Print
When the other OPNoobians were showcasing the games for the week on the “Should We Cover It?! Show”, I remember looking at the trailer for this one and thinking “I, too, am a young woman. I, too, have a fiance. I, too, have ventured into a haunted house to save said fiance from the bowels of the netherworld.”
Okay, maybe not the last one, but this one resonated with me on a stupid level, so I took it.
It was actually much, much, much better than expected.
Cursed is a point and click adventure set in what appears to be the 19th century. You are a distraught young woman who was once happily engaged until your fiance took a mysterious job from a mysterious person in a mysterious mansion and mysteriously vanished. Tired of waiting for him to come back home, you’ve decided to travel to his last known location and find him for yourself.
The setting is certainly eerie - the mansion and its surrounding grounds are covered in a mystical, otherworldly haze that seems to have a very strong grip on the household. Wild animals and mythical beasts also roam the area, sometimes blocking your path forward. It’s up to you to remain calm and figure out a way to lift the curse from the place by using objects you find in specific places.
The objects are often keys, jewels, or amulets that are scattered throughout the grounds. One thing that I really liked about this that makes it different than a lot of point and clicks is that once you found an item in an area, say, a cupboard, that cupboard became unclickable. It really eliminated a lot of unnecessary back and forth and streamlined the entire process.
Despite the house being creepy and haunted, I would not say that it was scary. There were a few jumpscare instances, but that could be the complete and utter coward in me saying that they were jumpscares. Anyway, the fact that it was merely “spooky” and not “scary” made it so much easier for me to play it. Scaredycats, this is definitely a game you can play!
The puzzles are extremely simple - I only got stumped on one puzzle, and even then it was only for an additional minute or two. This is not a problem honestly - it makes the flow of the game really smooth and relaxing.
The animation is incredible - at first I didn’t like it...especially when the characters spoke. The mouths don’t sync well with the voice over and their eyes don’t move naturally, so I thought it was a little bizarre, but it is definitely unique and interesting. There is one segment in the beginning where it is live-action, and that is a little off-putting and I would have done without it, but the otherwise stylized character art, movement, and scenery is incredible. At one point, my fiance even sat down to watch me play because he found the game aesthetically pleasing - something he NEVER does.
The music was very well-done. I enjoyed the soundtrack because, just like the art, it set the tone for being spooky. One small thing that I appreciated were the sound effects, which were stellar and some of the best I’ve seen in an indie game...not just for their quality but for the thought put into them. There’s a point in time where you’re unscrewing a metal plate and the screws fall to the ground. The screws closest to the ground have a sound effect for .5 seconds while falling, but the screws higher off the ground have a sound effect that lasts a full second - twice as long. It’s that level of detail that Cursed had that really struck me as a title to be reckoned with - I felt like it had more value due to those small details.
The storyline is...not all there. It’s simple and leaves a few holes (I won’t spoil them). On the same token, those holes aren’t really necessary to fill in order to understand the main points. Not answering a few questions doesn’t detract from the overall game - in fact, I feel like the very fact that I want to know more about specific characters makes me feel like it was interesting enough to want more backstory.
I had been putting off playing this game for the sheer fact that it seemed like it would be a lot of work to play. I didn’t want to “work” - I just wanted to have fun. I ended up having so much fun playing this game that I kind of wish there was a prequel to it, or that it had been longer. It was a really interesting title and one that I would definitely recommend to not only fans of the point and click genre but anyone that has an hour to kill and wants a spooky story to experience.