Quick Look – Black Mansion (#JustOnePercent 51/100)

Developer: PICTOLOGI
Release Date: June 15, 2021
MSRP: $6.99

Disclaimer: I played this title for only 10 minutes. Also, I really need to do a better job of reading game descriptions before buying them.

Black Mansion is not, as I had thought before firing it up today, a horror-themed puzzle game. It’s a horror-themed jumping game. I would like to believe I was attracted to the novelty of the thing when I put it on my wish list, and then just took a quick glance at the top description & pictures when I saw it hit 80% off on sale. Horror isn’t even one of my top genres, so I’m not sure what attracted me to this title in the first place.

The entire game takes place in the middle third of the screen, which made me think that perhaps this was a game designed for mobile devices, but other than a couple of shady links to Android .apk files, I can’t find any indication that this was ever released for either Android or iOS. I thought I’d play story mode and see if it would capture my interest despite being way outside of my comfort zone, but the opening dialogue felt very stilted, and as I started playing, I noticed the same type of almost-but-not-quite-right wording, leading me to believe this was probably an imperfect translation issue. While that’s not a deal breaker for me, it wasn’t endearing me to the game either.

During gameplay, your character is a small black silhouette of a person, and you jump from across the room by clicking. The further from your character you click, the higher your jump. When you hit a wall, you turn the other way, and if you don’t click, gravity will take over and bring you to the floor of the level. Each level has some collectibles for you to gather, in the form of coins, stars, and keys as far as I’ve seen. The game description also mentions items which further the story, costumes & artifacts, but I didn’t get far enough to see any of those things. I was curious about the coins – if all you do is jump, what could you possibly need to buy?

And then I found out.

At this point, I was sure this was designed as a mobile game. I could see the original monetization scheme as clear as day, and wanted nothing further to do with it. Even if this hadn’t immediately turned me off, it was unlikely I was going to make any significant progress, as I was already finding myself frustrated with the actual jump & collect mechanics.

SteamDB estimates that Black Mansion has sold less than 100 copies on Steam. Almost a full year after release, it has just one single review – positive – in Korean, which I managed to read with the help of Google Translate. Although I personally wouldn’t recommend this one, I would agree with the reviewer that if you are going to play, it’s best to play with sound on. It is ranked 7855 out of 10,967 games released in 2021.

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