Finders Seekers: Mystery of Stonecliff
Good ol' Uncle Whatsisface has disappeared, according to a letter from a British consulate in Africa, and it's up to you to solve the mystery of Finders Seekers: Mystery of Stonecliff. Somehow, Uncle Noname has left you clues to find in an old, dilapidated church in Wales. Atomic Cicada has crafted this ambient point-and-click adventure which will have you searching every little nook and cranny for clues, objects and solutions. As in any escape game, you need only your mouse to navigate, pick up and manipulate objects, and solve puzzles. Easy, right? Well this little adventure might have you thinking "What the...?" more than once.
Navigation is at first a little disorientating. Big, yellow arrows point the way, whether forward, backward or off to the sides. Occasionally, an arrow will appear on the opposite side of the screen to your cursor. Fortunately, it doesn't take long to work it all out, especially as you'll be needing to head backwards and forwards to solve some of the puzzles.
As can be expected when thrust into an old roofless church without electricity, you will literally be fumbling around in the dark, or at least clicking everywhere possible. Unfortunately this makes for some pointless clues as some objects and solutions can be stumbled upon accidentally. Clicking also produces text boxes which, while informative, can be mildly irritating as they need to be clicked again to disappear, and they can hamper the much needed view of a clue or scene.
Analysis: Standing at the entrance of an old Welsh church in the rain, you find yourself in possession of an ancient polaroid camera and a lighter; two very handy items, and make sure to put them to good use to save you backtracking later in the game. Of course you're going to accumulate many more objects throughout your quest, and many of them, whether fixed or movable, will need to be used more than once. You can easily select items from your inventory bar, but dropping them is a little awkward. Basically, when you select an object, it becomes your cursor with which you can still navigate and manipulate things around you. I felt a bit awkward adventuring on with an object as my cursor. Being a diehard Myst fan, it felt more natural to reselect the hand tool after using an item.
Some of the puzzles are fairly straightforward, while others a little more obscure. Seeking your Uncle would be practically relaxing with the soft soundtrack in the background and the meditative candlelight flickering around you, if it wasn't for some pretty challenging puzzles. In fact, one in particular is so vague in terms of how to solve it, that even brute-forcing it will take up a considerable chunk of your valuable seeking time.
Despite the occasional idiosyncrasies, this game is highly appealing for its unique presentation and puzzles with a difference. Atomic Cicada has crafted a thoroughly enjoyable adventure, creating a somewhat esoteric atmosphere with unintrusive musical backing and comic book style graphics. The flickering candlelight adds to the ambience, and almost enables a good sense of concentration, which you'll be needing. Trust me.