RealArcade, a long time contributor to casual PC gaming, is seeking to make a splash on Nintendo’s casual games sales monsters, the DS and the Wii. In Mortimer Beckett and the Secrets of the Spooky Manor, they port over one of their most popular online point and click adventures to the Wii successfully. Using only the Wii remote to control the action, get ready to have your eyesight tested.
In Mortimer Beckett and the Secrets of the Spooky Manor, you play as the titular Mortimer as he searches for clues in the mysterious disappearance of his uncle. All you have to go on is a cryptic letter and a willingness to break in to his manor via a window, but you soon find yourself looking for clues broken up into tiny fragments. The main task involves assembling the pieces by locating them in crowded, overstuffed rooms, then using the pieces to solve puzzles. You only need the Wii remote, since the gameplay consists purely of pointing at the pieces that you find scattered around the rooms and clicking on them to collect them.
Mortimer Beckett and the Secrets of the Spooky Manor is about puzzle solving and observational skills, so you won’t find any obstacles in your path aside from the occasional ghost that pops up when you’ve clicked too many times looking for pieces, but those go away pretty quickly, while others require you to shake the Wii remote to get rid of them. The best way to play is to have a friend hold a second Wii remote and help you find the puzzle pieces, which are cleverly hidden behind objects, or on top of similarly colored or textured items. If you’re having trouble locating all of the pieces (and trust me, some of the pieces are almost impossible to spot), there are hints that you can use to tell you which area contains a missing piece. There are a limited amount of hints available per area, so you only want to reserve the hints for when you are completely stumped. Once you’ve completed an area, which consists of finding all the item pieces, solving the puzzles and finding the entrance to the next area, you move to another part of the manor.
The game also features some competitive multiplayer modes outside of the main story mode, where you race to find the puzzle pieces, and you can replay the main story with remixed room layouts, but overall the experience of Mortimer Beckett and the Secrets of the Spooky Manor is rather short. The gameplay mechanic of finding items and solving puzzles is so addictive, that you’ll be disappointed when the story mode ends after just a few hours.
The visuals in Mortimer Beckett and the Secrets of the Spooky Manor are predictably simple, given the game’s online flash game roots. Still, it would’ve been nice to have a little more detail in the environments, especially when the entire gameplay mechanic revolves around you being able to identify hidden objects in them. It’s not that you can’t make out what’s going on, but the environments seem slightly compressed, so a more detailed rendering of the different rooms would’ve been appreciated. As is, there are only a few instances where the lack of more detail in the visuals hampers the search for items, and the hint system allows you to overcome those problems. Similarly, the audio in Mortimer Beckett and the Secrets of the Spooky Manor is plain, but effective. You’ll get typical haunted mansion tunes here, though I do wish there was more variety.
Mortimer Beckett and the Secrets of the Spooky Manor is a fun, if short, point and click adventure that will entertain you as well as test your wit and observational skills. The game is also great to play cooperatively with a friend or loved one, given its laid back nature. Finally, the ability to play competitively with up to four friends helps to stretch out the game’s shelf life.