Stray Souls: Dollhouse Story
Stray Souls is made by Alawar, the same folks that brought us House of 1000 Doors, The Treasures of Mystery Island series, the Vampire Saga series, and Sacra Terra. Like in Sacra Terra, there are "Beyond" items - aka morphing items - to find scattered throughout the game.
There are separate sliders for sound and music, plus options for custom cursor and full screen. Once you're through the opening scene, you have an option for casual or expert mode. It very clearly tells you the difference between the two, which is always nice. The tutorial can also be skipped, if you wish.
I chose casual to begin with, and the sparkles were so fast and furious that I immediately restarted the game, two minute recharge on the HINTS be darned!
The cutscenes can be skipped, and there are no voice overs. Music is appropriately dark and dramatic, without being annoying. It nicely suits the atmosphere that the devs were trying to create.
This is not a "pretty" game. Don't get me wrong, the graphics are very well done, it's just that they're meant to be dark & eerie, and that they are! The hidden object scenes are junk-piley, occasionally overwhelmingly so. This messiness just adds to the creep-factor - nicely done
Speaking of HO scenes, you cannot exit back to the adventure-gameplay until you finish finding the hidden objects. There is a mis-click penalty, albeit relatively short. During the adventure scenes, the HINT button will show you which direction to go in without using up your hint. Always nice.
Gameplay has a similarity to both Sacra Terra and Twisted Lands: Origin, as well as an aspect from Secrets of the Dark: Temple of Night, but I'd be ruining it for you if I told you how, so I'll just let you figure that part out for yourselves
hehe There was one very cool Ravenhearst/Madame Fate-esque door puzzle to do, which I really enjoyed figuring out.
Story-wise, the game is definitely creepy. Something that happened early on in the game actually startled the heck out of me! Happy day that no one ruined that for me, and I'll return the favor by keeping my mouth shut!
Our lovely journal records our story, and contains a bit of extra story (no hints! Happy day!), as well as a MAP (which I never used.)
The ending of the game was non-predictable, and very satisfying for me. Very well done on that, Alawar!WARNING
for the arachnophobes: Big, huge, GIANT spider in terrifying detail. I'm not generally afraid of spiders, but this one is not only a whopper
, but gross-looking, to boot.
Overall, this is a very solid, enjoyable game, and one that I would definitely recommend to any IHOG-lover that enjoys creepy games