Frankenstein: Master of Death is a point-and-click puzzle game available on Wii-U, PC and iOS. For this review, the Wii-U version was used.
When you first start-up Frankenstein: Master of Death there are 2 difficulty options to choose from: “Easy difficulty – Almost no challenge: Very simple story with too few options” and “Hard difficulty – Pretty tough! You’ll beg for your life”. These descriptions don’t particularly fill you with confidence, as they suggest you can either choose a mode so easy it’s boring, or one so difficult it’s frustrating. Neither “too few options”, or begging for your life, sound particularly appealing. However, this may just be the game trying to be dramatic, as the hard difficultly wasn’t painful in the slightest.
The story is interesting, though a little bare bones at times. A new take on Frankenstein, his monster and his assistant, Igor, which takes its own idea on how the story plays out. You play as a friend of Frankenstein’s responding to a mysterious letter he sent you requesting you make yourself present at once. As you progress through the game you learn what has happened with Frankenstein, his monster, and Igor. The narrative is presented to you quite choppily, but it’s a rather original version of a story which has been told many times.
The graphics are quite nice for a hidden object game which is also available on mobile devices, certainly better than many alternatives. However, the loading times between rooms and puzzles were unfortunately quite slow on Wii-U. Only one room loads at a time, and quite slowly at that. You are able to use the map to fast-travel between rooms though, which was very helpful as it saves you from sitting through slow loading screens 10 times when you have to travel through multiple rooms to collect an object.
The game is a decent length, around about 2 hours or more. That’s quite a lot of travelling back and forth between different rooms as you uncover more puzzle pieces, and as there are over 30 areas in the game.
The game isn’t as polished as it could be. For example, there are spelling mistakes dotted about, such as “bear” instead of “boar” (leaving me looking for a bear in one of the item searches, only for the puzzle to complete upon selecting a boar statue instead) and “doli” instead of “dolly” (the correct item was a child’s rag doll, not the type of drum). They’re small mistakes, but when you’re looking for specific items on a screen full of miscellaneous junk, it can throw you off. I also noticed that objects weren’t responding as I was expecting at the start, and menu buttons simply weren’t working. Luckily, this was fixed after calibrating the gamepad. The calibration had been fine previously, so I’m not certain if something about the game threw off the calibration initially or if this was sheer coincidence.
The game is a little glitchy in places as well. As well as minor glitches, it crashed my Wii-U not once (which could be written-off as a bit of bad luck), but twice in the few hours I was playing it. After the second crash, trying to re-start the game through the “continue” option would crash it again immediately, rendering the save unplayable from that point onwards. This was a huge shame, as not only was I a mere 2 rooms away from completing the game, but I’m not even able to start from a slightly earlier point as the game does not allow manual saves.
Upon attempting a second playthrough (which required me to create a second profile to attach the new save to), I noticed a couple of other minor issues, such as when I chose to skip the tutorial, quite a few tutorial pop-ups came up regardless. Conversely, the first time through I had chosen to use the tutorial and found it never really explained a few things in the game. Occasionally in the search tasks a blue skull appears and screech at you. I can only guess this is for clicking on the wrong item, but it was so sporadic it was hard to tell. Also in the menu within the game itself there was is a toggle you could select labelled ‘advanced difficulty’. I’m not sure if this swaps you between the easy and hard modes, or if it’s a separate measure of difficulty within these modes, but I tried toggling it a couple of times and nothing really happened. Since its labelled as ‘advanced’ rather than ‘hard’, there’s no consistency with it being the hard mode so I can’t say for sure what it’s meant to be.
Obviously, the glitches have affected my opinion of my game. Hopefully it will be patched and fixed, and there’s a good chance the game will not crash the console for everyone. With the crashes and glitches reflected in the score, it is currently 6/10. Without the crashes, the game would score an 8/10.
REVIEW CODE: A complimentary Nintendo Wii U code was provided to Brash Games for this review. Please send all review code enquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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