Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Steampunk Game Review: "House of Brass"

It is one of the great travesties of the world that Steampunk themed games are few and far between (and it's hard to find the good ones).  So we at the Lonely Alchemist are committed to testing and reviewing every Steampunk-ish MMORPG and casual game we can find, just for you!

Our review today is for "Fantastic Creations: House of Brass," a casual game from Big Fish Game Studios.  The premise of the game is a thoroughly Steampunk-y one: a young woman (your character) finds a mysterious package from her grandfather Edwin Gogglethorpe (whom she has never met), to her grandmother, Gwen.  She follows the letter to a strange, broken-down mechanical house and, inevitably, gets trapped inside with a vengeful mechanical woman.  The house is full of clockwork creatures and strange devices and is decorated in a decidedly Late Victorian style.  Throughout the game, you are guided by the voice of Mr. Cogglethorpe, who has kept himself alive in a machine for over a hundred years, waiting for Gwen.  Things take a sinister turn and you find yourself fighting against a madman and a malfunctioning house that wants to imprison you for all eternity.

The game backstory is what gives it it's Steampunk flair.  Edwin Cogglethorpe was a genius obsessed with out-inventing Nicola Tesla and Thomas Edison at the next World's Fair.  However, his fear of the outside world led him to create an entirely self-sustaining, enclosed house for himself and his young wife, Gwen.  For over a year, while he prepares his inventions, they keep themselves shut in the clockwork house with no contact with the outside world.  Finally, Gwen can take it no longer, and leaves Edwin.  And the rest you will have to find out for yourself.

The artwork in "House of Brass" is elegant.  We enjoyed the beautiful illustrations, even though they were not completely realistic, so here are a few screenshots:

The colors are unusually vibrant for a Steampunk setting, however they lend the sinister house a frighteningly refined feel.

The mechanical creations are meticulously detailed.

And the puzzle and Hidden Object scenes are crowded yet not too-difficult.

All-in-all, this was a fun, though not exhilarating, game to play.  The game play was under 3.5 hours (including the extra scenes in the Collector's Edition).  The ending fizzled a little and could have been more suspenseful and spectacular, but we enjoyed the journey.  If you are going to buy this game, get the Collector's Edition.  The regular edition ends on a cliffhanger, and you need the epilogue included in the Collector's Edition to get the full story.  But before you buy the game, try the free trial available online at Big Fish Games to make sure "House of Brass" is your cup of tea.

Have fun, gamers and we'll see you later!


The Lonely Alchemist

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