If you often feel a little trapped when visiting family for special occasions, spare a thought for Clea, who is trapped in her family’s spooky mansion after they’ve been messing around with some occult goings on and now has to avoid a bunch of monsters roaming around.
Clea is a skill-based survival horror adventure with a difference, it’s designed to look a bit like one of those old paper puppet theatres, giving it a unique appearance. Trapped inside by her family, Clea must find her way out, followed by her baby brother, which involves avoiding the various monsters roaming around and solving puzzles to escape. There are 6 areas in all and you’ll need to find keys to unlock doors as well as solve basic puzzles and run past some enemies or hide from others in order to get out of each area.
Sekia Games and developer InvertMouse have created an interesting atmosphere with their game, thanks to the side scrolling nature, where you never know what’s just around the corner and the interesting creepy puppet aesthetic, though it does have some knock-on effects. The controls aren’t that intuitive, so it took a while to workout the controls while being attacked by the monsters. While some stealth is required, I didn’t like the fact you can’t hide under things like the bed or tables, or even look under them. Perhaps the most annoying aspect is that the lack of instructions and directions for how to play are irritatingly absent so I ended up going around in circles. This went against the atmosphere that the developer was trying to create, so I found it annoying rather than fun/scary or challenging.
That’s not to say it’s all bad, though. The atmosphere is enhanced by the excellent use of artwork and sound to provide you with a creepy old mansion that houses plenty of odd characters. A unique game mechanic where you get to peer through doors is worth mentioning as one of the highlights of the design and something that can help you plan what move to make next. Clues to your situation and the reason for this haunting are left lying around for you to pick up and read, forming an interesting back story.
Ultimately, though, the character is too quick to die at times and being taken back to an earlier save point when you’re caught is a pain, plus not being able to see too far in front of you does make it seem a little unfair at times when you accidentally run into enemies and have very little time to react. While the game looks and sounds great, it just wasn’t enough to make up for the irritations for me.