A Review of Return to Ravenhurst

I was reminded of an older game, Myst, when I opened up this trial game. The graphics are dark and similar to the graphics on Myst and the upgrade computer game Riven. In case some of you don’t know about Myst, you can discover the details at Wikipedia where it will give you detailed information on the adventure/mystery game.

Based on solving a mystery, Return to Ravenhurst takes you into a haunted area where the player must follow the ghost freed from Ravenhurst to a haunted house where the mystery begins. A magnifying glass will help you discover new clues from which to go to the next step in solving the mystery. Be careful when you unlock the next clue because you don’t know what “spirit” you might come across. There is no time limit on how long it takes to solve the mystery so you can play the game forever and not find the secret. There is an option to turn all background noises off and display graphics in different ways. It was my experience that it is better to play the game in full screen mode in order to see all of the items in the hidden areas. This makes it inconvenient if you want to do other tasks on the computer while playing the game (for all who like to multi-task.)

The game took longer than expected to download (over 15 minutes) even with high speed Internet. The game file is about 95 kilobits and should not take as long to download. There doesn’t seem to be a way to skip the introduction: every time you log on you have to watch the video. It can be difficult to follow the graphics and the player needs to have an extremely keen eye to see all the clues. You have to look in each discovered area (front gate to find the key to open the gate, find four eerie eyes to place in a device which unlocks a room in the haunted house, search for something to get the mouse out of the crack, among other things.) If I go into too much detail I will be sure to give the mystery away. When you begin you inherit this magnifying glass which guides you to areas where clues are hidden. It became frustrating to find certain items and the time it takes to unlock new hints makes the game a bit annoying. Also, a voice keeps repeating some distracting phrases in the background which, at first, are hard to decipher on low volume.

On a scale from one to five I would rate this game a three for slow loading, difficult graphics, and creativity. I would also suggest this game for people who like to solve mysteries and have the patience to work through the game interface. By the way, when you do get into the house and want to warm yourself by the fire, be sure and turn the lamp on for better reading light.