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Point. Click. Repeat ad infinitum!

Remember those infuriating point and click adventure games from the 80s? Ever want to play a game as frustrating as those games again? Forlorn Manor might just be the game for you!

College student Philip has just inherited a spooky old manor with a habit of making people disappear. Instead of burning the place to the ground like any sane person would, he instead decides to go inside, alone. Predictably, he soon vanishes and its up to his friends Jennise and Jared to go inside and find him. Cue zombies.

Balance 3/5:

Battles are handled uniquely in this game, on the map screen in a Diablo-esque manner. You will see various zombies (or much more rarely, other creatures, like bats) wandering around and you can attack them with any of the various weapons you find throughout the manor, ranging from sword to antique pistols, and sometimes other fun things. While the combat is functional and enemies leave behind healing items to keep you going, there did not seem to be any means of improving your character aside from finding various new weapons throughout the manor. If there were any means of increasing health or defense, I never found any. Also, although weapons come in both melee and ranged varieties, I generally found the damage and rate of attack with melee weapons to be far superior, and ranged weapons, coupled with reload times, lower rate of attack, and generally lower damage, were almost completely useless, mostly because most rooms were simply too small to take advantage of a ranged attack.

Level Design 3/5:

First, this is a point and click adventure game, and so getting stuck occasionally a lot is supposedly part of the appeal of the game. Fortunately, the added element of combat gives you something to do while looking for the solutions. There are also a number of different types of puzzles, form block-pushing/pulling to more logic-based fare. The rooms of the manor themselves are beautiful, vibrant, and well-decorated, and you can examine almost every object in every room, occasionally getting a humorous response. The main problem, I feel, is that the interface is very clunky and suffers from a severe lack of context sensitivity. You have separate commands for examining, pushing, pulling, taking, talking, and various other character specific actions. And oftentimes you must simply cycle through every possible action before you find one that works. Not to mention that sometimes this problem borders on the absurd. Examine a bookcase only tells me that there are books, and I must specifically select the read command to examine the books. And only one of my two characters can read (Why?) so sometimes I must backtrack through the manor or switch items around in order to properly examine one object. If I click on a bookcase, its hard to imagine I’d want to do anything but read the books, if I click on an NPC its surely because I want to talk to it. Some of these commands simply seem unnecessary and bog down the interface. There are also a few points where certain objects that are important parts of the plot don’t stand out sufficiently, so the player might mistake it simply for décor and miss something important.

Characters 2/5:

You control two characters in this game; Jennise, a liberal arts major who is a quick runner and can decipher the various mysterious texts throughout the manor, and Jared, a Computer Science major who can dislodge stuck objects and is a slightly more capable fighter. However, these two are given only a very scant handful of lines, and these lines tend to be very basic and simple. They border on silent protagonists, and I was unable to identify even basic characteristics of either of them. Since almost all of the game relies on their various interactions with the manor, their ‘voice’ is extremely important to keep the player engaged, yet it fails to come through repeatedly. The two even have the exact same reactions to all objects. I sensed these characters had the potential to be interesting, they just…weren’t quite there yet. The various ghosts roaming around the manor typically managed to be more interesting, one character who consistently managed to keep my attention was the obsessive and sinister main antagonist, who gleefully hams it up unapologetically.

Storyline 3.5/5:

While the basic plot of three college students trapped in a creepy manor is the most basic of horror plots, once inside you will begin to see various glimpses and scenes into what happened to this manor so long ago and how you might be able to set things right. The story is nicely paced, revealing a little bit more each time you solve an important puzzle, while at the same time often offering subtle clues as to what your next course of action should be. It’s really done quite well. The only drawback is sometimes it can take forever to find that next objective and you might have forgotten information by then.

Music and Sound 4/5:

The game uses only a very small selection of musical tracks. The main musical track for the manor is excellent, setting the mood and tone quite well while also being a pleasing song to listen to for a few hours while you click on every single object eight times until you find what you were supposed to be doing with it.

Overall 3/5:

Making a true point and click adventure game in RPG Maker is surely a daunting enough task, and this game is not without its share of flaws. But this is a noble attempt, and fans of the adventure genre will likely enjoy it. With some overhaul to the interface and some updated graphics to certain puzzles could make this a great adventure.


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Quick question, were you playing the old version or the new? (Did you have Items in the menu or did you press Shift+E to open your menus)?

I'm curious since you mentioned you can examine everything, but that was taken out with the new version since it made identifying what was available so much harder. :)

Other than that, thanks for the review; there is certainly a lot that could/should be fixed even with the new version, but this is a seriously legacy game and system (my second game that took at least a month to finish) and the code is... well, horrible, so I'd probably have more fun making a new one than fixing any more with the old.
Circumstance penalty for being the bard.
I had an item menu, opened it from a ring menu and had to equip them with the E key. I do not know what that means in terms of which version, but I suppose saying you could examine everything might be hyperbole, though I still found you could examine an awful lot.

Other than that, I was very interested in this project as I have kicked around the idea of making a similar project myself, I would like to talk to you about it more in-depth sometime.
You did play the old version then, the new one (released on the 8th) can be checked here:

It's much prettier in the new version and I improved a lot of flow (replaced the puzzle where you needed to give the chef answers, made the descriptions for the graveyard better, made the push/pull part easier, etc.)

Also, does this mean you beat that first push/pull puzzle? How did that go?

If you ever want to talk I'm free to answer questions, and I know a ton of things I could outline as "hot spots" you want to watch out for after having made this and fixed it recently, many of which you hit on already. :)
Circumstance penalty for being the bard.
I solved that push/pull box puzzle that stumped Brick in less than two minutes. I do agree with him on the clunky interface though.
Well clunky push/pull was one thing I definitely fixed. Too bad my second review was still for the old version. :P
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