I’ve never felt so dumb in my life as I did at the start of this game.
They pretty much plop you in a room and leave you to figure out how to open the door. Every once in a while this smarmy guy on the intercom chimes in and heckles you but otherwise you’re on your own.
I was stumped for quite some time. There are an intimidating number of objects scattered around the room and at first they all seemed important.
“Look at all those books on color and architecture. That must mean something. The eyes on that painting…I bet they’re looking at a clue somewhere…maybe the color of the necklace is a hint. And all those vases and stuff you can pick up. There’s got to be a trick to it.”
Turns out the trick is not to overcomplicate things. The first real clue is hidden in kind of an obscure spot, but once you get to the next part you find out that it’s just a normal walk-around-and-solve-puzzles game.
The puzzles themselves are strangely random. While the title has a gnostic ring to it and they heavily imply that you’re pursuing some kind of esoteric knowledge, this never really emerges as a full-fledged theme in the gameplay itself. Given the circumstances you’d think you’d see a mix of moral tests–what are you willing to sacrifice to obtain knowledge or power or whatever it is they’re offering?–and occult-flavored puzzles, pushing you to explore hidden mysteries and transgress boundaries, alluding to forgotten history and teaching you something about this mysterious organization in whose grip you find yourself. Nope.
There’s a map puzzle that almost seems like it might be going in that direction but it ends up leading nowhere. As for the rest of it, they might as well just hand you a sudoku for all that it really has anything to do with your situation. The worst is this timed button press test which has just as little relevance and is frustrating on top of it.
It’s too bad the puzzles weren’t better conceived, because the whole setup is pretty intriguing. Compared to, say, The Room there’s a much more overt sense of menace. They succeed in creating confusion and anxiety, which they ratchet upward as the game progresses. You’re never sure exactly what’s happening to you or whether you can believe anything Intercom Guy says; and every new revelation only deepens the mystery.
Whatever’s going on these people sure seem to have a lot of resources, which surprised me because the way Intercom Guy sounds you’d think he wouldn’t have access to much more than a van and a roll of duct tape.