The Great Unknown: Houdini's Castle Review

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What is this game about?

The Great Unknown: Houdini’s Castle is hidden objects game that revolves around the renowned magician, illusionist, and master of escapism, Harry Houdini. More specifically, it revolves around his death. The very first scene that you see as you start the game is Houdini's funeral. Most people are there to grieve a loved one, except for one shadowy figure in the background; he’s here for jealousy’s sake alone. All we know for now is that he was a rival of the late Harry and that he will stop at nothing to unlock his secrets.

After we have a lengthy fifty-year transition so we can meet our real protagonist, you! You’re on a plane for a well-deserved vacation with your husband when the plane starts to shake violently. It inevitably falls and crashes on a nearby island, and you’re pulled away by a strange, top hat-wearing shadow. As you wake up, you try to leave the room you’re suddenly trapped in only to find constant messages from your captor. This is seemingly all a test to pull your full potential, yet all you want to do is find your husband and go home. This is the general setup and premise of the game that is compelling and will pull you in.

Compelling and Layered Gameplay

In terms of gameplay, the game starts with plenty of difficulty settings to choose from, including the ability to deeply customize said settings, like the timer for the hints or the like. One important setting among them is the “relaxed” mode, meant for people looking for something more akin to a TV show than a game. This is a great option that makes a really good story accessible to a more broad audience.

Playing the game is incredibly fulfilling, and certainly not impossible to figure out. You are given plenty of clues before ever needing to use the “hint” button, and the games themselves are quite fun. You will spend the main bulk of The Great Unknown playing Hidden Object-style gameplay, where you are prompted to find different items in a cluttered space. Between and among these sections are different puzzles, some of which may require logic, others memory, and others simply an item that has to be found in a different scenario. The protagonist keeps track of every clue she has found in her notebook, so whenever you need to refresh your memory on a certain code you can always count on your notes to be at hand.

The main puzzle for you to solve is the List. You are shown a scene with plenty of cluttered items, and you have to find and click on the ones shown on a list. Sometimes the list is made of words, other times of objects that you need to place on the scene. These List puzzles are found throughout the game and sometimes you need to do the same one twice to get multiple useful objects.

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Awesome Graphics That Mesmerizes Players

The presentation and art style of this game is stellar. The detailed backgrounds and fully-fledged characters pull you into the story, with constant little snippets of animation showing how the story moves forward. In its style, it is reminiscent of old Noir films with a modern touch.

Besides the visual department, something that also stands out is the sound design. Since the biggest point of the game is its narrative, having the characters speak makes it much easier to follow. This is all without mentioning the 3D animations all over the game, from characters moving outside of cutscenes to objects that react to your mouse movement even when they aren’t used for any puzzles.

The game is aware of its level of presentation, with certain objects having only a zoom-style interaction; they aren’t required for gameplay, yet are a grim reminder of who you are dealing with. You’ll know how awesome they are when you see them.

Dynamic Sound Design for the Best Immersion

One of the standout aspects of The Great Unknown: Houdini's Castle is its sound design and audio immersion. The game employs a variety of atmospheric sound effects that enhance the overall experience and immerse players in the world they are exploring. From the creaking of doors to the rustling of leaves, every sound is meticulously crafted to create a sense of realism and contribute to the game's immersive atmosphere.

The background music is also well-composed, adding an extra layer of tension and excitement during key moments of the gameplay. The combination of these audio elements creates a truly immersive and engaging experience for players, enhancing their enjoyment and deepening their connection to the game's storyline and setting.

Enjoy the game absolutely free!

The Great Unknown: Houdini's Castle is an exciting tale from start to finish that you won't be able to drop until it's done. Its engaging narrative and puzzles carry the experience; you will certainly enjoy your time playing this game for hours and hours!

If you enjoy these free games, you will love this list of our 10 Best Hidden Object Games!

Published 24 September 2023

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