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GD Star RatingThe Curse,
The Curse is a compendium of classic puzzles neatly rolled up together in a 100 page book. Your ever-present companion is Mannequin, the creepy masked spirit who will serve as both guide and critic.
Sinister from the outset, The Curse begins with a speech from the peculiar and altogether unpleasant Mannequin. You’re not given any clue as to who he really is, just that he’s a malevolent spirit which you’ve released when opening this book. Mannequin informs you that you are unlikely to complete all 100 puzzles, but doing so is the only way to solve the final mystery. What this final conundrum is, I couldn’t say, as I’ve yet to solve all the puzzles myself. Mannequin awards you a brass cog every so often; you must gain all 20 of these in order to attempt the final puzzle.
Make no mistake – this is a damned hard game. You’ll only solve it all either through sheer persistence (my current approach), paying for hints (more on that later) or looking up solutions on the Internet. Thankfully you can skip puzzles, and this is essential to maintaining interest. As there’s such a variety of puzzles on offer, you’ll find some easy to solve whilst others impossible. Determining which is which will depend on you as an individual.
No doubt you’ll come across classic puzzles you’ve solved before in different games. There are a variety of challenges, including riddles, towers of Hanoi, fill the jars and block puzzles, to name a few.
This is a beautifully designed game, with a lot of thought put into the look and feel. Sure, the back story and weird narrator are a little cheesy and probably unnecessary, but they do complete the package. Whereas many puzzle fans would ordinarily not bother with yet another compendium of classic puzzles, The Curse is a fresh and interesting spin on the old brain teasers.
Each page of Mannequin’s skeuomorphic “book” has a different puzzle, so as you work your way through it, you’ll see the marker at the bottom of the page bring you ever closer to the final mystery. This is where the game is a bit clumsy. Rather than easy to access bookmarks, you need to flip through pages to get to the puzzles. I discovered only several hours after playing that you can drag the marker at the bottom of the page Kindle-style, allowing you to scan through pages rapidly. Doh!
Whilst the Victorian Steampunk sounds and visuals are excellent, there are some annoyances with the puzzle controls. For example, the tangram shapes don’t click into place and only some of the puzzles have a reset button. Additionally, although there’s a nice variety of puzzles available, there is quite a bit of repetition. So if you suck at riddles (like me), there’s going to be some head banging during gameplay.
Unless you’re extremely patient, this game will make you angry. Now I know why they called it The Curse! When you get frustrated, Mannequin will kindly offer to help you. Unfortunately, the tantalising offer of hints will cost you. Although the flat price of the game is fair, the IAP is rather pricey at 69p / 99c for 4 hints. Personally, I resented paying that smug Mannequin to help me solve his devilish puzzles.
7/10 The Curse is rather like Professor Layton, minus the nonsense. An excellent puzzle digest which will keep you scratching your head for several hours.