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Scavenge some scares with Haunted Manor game

by Andrew Koziara

I have never really been exposed to this genre of game before, but was pleasantly surprised by what I found in Haunted Manor — Lord of Mirrors from Big Fish. Haunted Manor is a hidden-object game that's full of gorgeous art and some good atmosphere.

You play as Stan Riddle. You've made a bet with friends that you'll go inside the local haunted manor (every town has one). Upon entering, you come across a mirror. You see Stan's reflection begin to move on its own, and it eventually pulls Stan through the mirror, shattering it into several pieces. It's up to you to find all the shards and rebuild the mirror before your physical body is lost, and your soul becomes a slave to the Lord of Mirrors.

The game is all about solving puzzles and finding (what else?) hidden objects! You move from room to room, solving a couple unique puzzles and playing two sessions of object-finding in which you have to find more than a dozen random items that are all very small and usually blended into the background. To avoid having gamers randomly tap all over the place, every few taps will lead to the screen "cracking" and you being unable to pick anything up for a short time. You actually have to locate everything. Trust me when I say you will loathe the cracking sound in no time at all. If you can, I highly recommend getting this on iPad, because your eyes probably will be strained trying to play on the iPhone.

Each room is structured very similarly. As you go through the rooms, you speak to the trapped souls in the manor, learning the story in shard-sized portions. The game has some great atmosphere going for it, and while it won't make you lose any sleep, it can be a little spooky. Unfortunately, many of the puzzles can be more annoying than challenging. Each room has a unique puzzle that you can opt to skip, but doing so voids much of the variety in the game.

The game is not really free, either. You only get three out of 18 levels for free, and the rest will cost. This kind of game is not for everyone, but luckily you can sample it free, and reflect on it for yourself.

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