Mystery Case Files Return to Ravenhearst Review

Rating : 4/5

Mystery Case Files Return to Ravenhearst is a mystery adventure game that revolves around solving puzzles, finding hidden objects, and using inventory items to move forward to solve the case. Game players who are familiar with and enjoyed the early Myst games will find the game play both comfortable and pleasing.

The game is available for a free 60-minute trial download here. The 60-minute trial is enough time to get a feel for the game play and it’s well worth the time required for download and installation. Game play starts outside the haunted Ravenhearst mansion and moving forward into the mansion requires solving an item finding puzzle, using an inventory item gained, and completing a problem solving puzzle. Progress continues by solving additional picture puzzles which result in gaining usable inventory items that are used to gain clues, open doors, and complete problem solving puzzles. Even without having played the previous Ravenhearst game, the user is eased into familiarity with the interface.

There are many picture puzzles (some of which are reused so a good memory comes in handy) where the agent is required to find items hidden within the picture. Finding all the items results in a hint and sometimes an item is added to the player’s inventory. These inventory items are used to solve puzzles or remove obstacles.

In addition to the picture puzzles, there are problem solving puzzles which require manipulating objects in the scene or having inventory items. Most of the problem solving puzzles require several steps to complete. The difficulty of the problem solving puzzles range from simple to deviously clever and add greatly to the game play.

The images are stunningly detailed with a deep complexity that is well suited to hiding items and conveying a sense of a rich environment waiting to be explored.

The soundtrack is a haunting melody that is sporadically interspersed with ghostly voices urging the agent to redouble their efforts to solve the mystery. The music adds dark overtones to the game play and accents the suspense at key points (like when heavy footsteps sound outside while a shadow darkens the kitchen window).

It is well worthwhile to pay for the full version of the game. Problem solving and picture finding puzzles encourage cooperative play. The entire experience builds problem solving, reading retention, memory, and observation skills especially in younger players. The one very minor issue encountered during the 60-minute trial was the vague description of some of the items in a few of the picture puzzles.