In a few words, this Cabinet is a solid but unremarkable house of puzzles.
The plot is thin but doesn’t really matter. Doctor Arcana’s mansion stands before you, the good Doctor having disappeared some years ago. If you can get inside, you might be able to get to the bottom of what happened. However once inside, you can’t back out, and so the only way forward is to progress through the secrets of the mansion.
Needless to say, moving forward involves solving puzzles. These are both the strength and the weakness of the game.
Repetition is one of the latter. Thirteen keys need to be found, and each is in a different room accessed by the same puzzle. It gets a little more elaborate as you go, but the premise is the same – manipulate and organise tiles to match a pictorial glyph and then spell out the name of the deity the glyph represents. More tiles and more options for the spelling provide the elaboration, but I had had enough long before the 13th key.
Which meant I could avail myself of the very excellent “skip” option. Every puzzle allows you to choose to simply move on, and while it will affect your final rating, it enables you to move past things you can’t do, or don’t won’t to do. It made the otherwise tedium of more of these puzzles nothing more than a blip. While I would have preferred more variation, well done to the makers for this option.
You can also get hints for puzzles, access the answers through the menu, and get the rules for how any puzzle worked. I went easy on these things, as the attraction for me in any puzzle is working out what it is I am trying to do, but taken as a whole they mean you won’t ever be stuck.
The puzzles don’t offer anything new but do provide a generally good time. You will likely enjoy some more than others, and my likes probably won’t be the same as yours. The scarab beetle pushing the marbles down the hole may well be a case in point; it’s painful in its manipulation, and maze like in its design, but it surprisingly kept me at it far longer than I would have expected. In the end, it was one of my favourites.
Some puzzles may also be a little too much like the glyph puzzles – manipulate and reorganise tiles or similar – but I had fun until the end. The knowledge I could simply skip one if I found it too hard/similar/annoying/boring helped enormously.
Graphically it is in keeping with its obvious inspirations. Each screen is static, explored by the mouse. There is no animation apart from an occasional cajoling disembodied Doctor. You may be able to take or look at certain objects in a screen, identified by icons, and you can use items you have collected in certain places. This is an important part of triggering puzzles, and you may have to explore the mansion further in order to find the necessary item or clue to trigger a puzzle somewhere else. It isn’t a big place, but a degree of back tracking is necessary. An equally modest score will accompany your efforts. It is all point and click, and you simply exit when you have had enough, and it will start where you left off.
The end suggests there might be more to come. I confess that while it didn’t reach any great heights, I enjoyed it enough to come back. Next time though I would recommend less repetition, to enhance the puzzling and reduce the desire to skip.
I played on:
OS: Windows 10, 64 Bit
Processor: Intel i7-6700 4GHz