One of the striking things about
this game is that you can play it all the way through, manage to beat all
the puzzles, and still not have the foggiest idea of what is really going
on. I had to play the game twice before I began to even have a clue.
Fortunately, it's a good enough game that it is still enjoyable on the
second go-round. The last time I had to play dialogue and cutscenes over
and over before I understood some of the subtleties was, well, another
game by the same developers -- "Ring".
Seven Games opens with a conversation between two Heavenly beings. It
seems that the last person to live in Dreamland (the site of an old, now
defunct amusement park in Savannah, Georgia) has died. This has triggered
a long-awaited confrontation between Mephisto (a demon) and the player,
Mephisto proceeds to take you on a highly individualized and fascinating
tour of Dreamland in its "better" days. You explore seven dwelling places
of seven of the park's previous residents. There is an unusually
successful effort made here to develop interesting characterizations.
Hotspots sometimes bring you an inventory item, sometimes a comment by
Mephisto, and sometimes a flashback. The flashbacks are disconcerting at
first, until you get used to the idea that weird or startling things are
likely to happen without warning.
There is a LOT of plot in Seven Games. Piecing together the plot is one of
the many challenges in this game, and one of the most difficult. It's
worth the effort, however, because the plot is quite good; but if you
finish without understanding it, your reaction to this intricate game is
likely to be: "huh?...um, what exactly was I doing here?"
Seven Games defies the recent trend of producing graphics-intensive
adventures that are fun but short. It is a very long game, with lots of
places to explore and lots of puzzles to solve. It is generous in scope
and gameplay, and will fill many happy hours as you are drawn further and
further into its mysteries.
This is definitely an adult game though, in every sense of the word. It
explores mature themes, not only those with some violence and sexual
content, but also intense philosophical, even theological issues. Though
serious in tone, the game also maintains a flippant, understated sense of
Much of your enjoyment of the game depends on your reaction to Mephisto,
who plays the part of your guide and commentator. He is alternately
charming, annoying, outrageous and pompous. Either he gets under your
skin, and you develop a sneaking affection for him or you find yourself
wanting to wipe his smarmy smiling face in the dirt (or both).
The graphics in this game are gorgeous. They remind me of the graphics in
"Ring", though the resolution in this game is far better. The graphics
have a 3D quality, with a surreal flair. Textures are detailed, colors are
amazing. My favorites are the particularly beautiful skies, gardens and
natural rock surfaces.
Seven Games is quite linear, and you may find you can't progress until you
go back and find a hotspot that in retrospect does not seem terribly
important. There is one not-very-difficult maze. No sliders or sound
puzzles. The game is wholly mouse-driven, and the interface is easy to
use. I found it to be very stable. A side note -- if you want to access
the movies, you have to use the scroll arrows on top of the screen (this
may seem obvious, but it took me a long time to figure it out).
The game has an unusual sound track, consisting partly of what I think of
as "Big Band" music. There is a schmaltzy pop song that plays whenever you
access the main menu -- "Bye-Bye Baby", an interesting tongue-in-cheek
contrast to the serious stuff going on in the game.
Voice acting is very good. Much has been made of Mephisto's famous
stroking of feminine vanity ("Come here, pussycat!). You receive this
invitation whenever you load a game. I myself was much more flattered,
however, by Mephisto's "Oh, we have a professional here!" which I stumbled
across in the options menu.
The Downsides -- once you have acquired a Homunculus companion you are
supposed to be able to get hints from your friend-in-a-bottle. I found
this feature to be a real disappointment. Most of the time when I asked
for a hint, I was forced to play an arcade game that seemed incredibly
pointless. Then, after repeatedly humiliating myself as I struggled with
"Shoot the Rabbit", or whatever it was, I STILL wasn't given a helpful
Some of the puzzles are hard. One in particular, you solve by very close
observation in a darkened room, with a subtle hint obvious only to English
majors. Otherwise, the puzzles are solvable through persistence, if not
There is so much going on in Seven Games, and at so many different levels,
that playing the game feels a little like peeling an onion. If you like a
gaming experience with layer after layer of depth and quirkiness; and if
investigative persistence is part of your makeup, then this could be your
game of games. Don't miss it.
Final Grade :
BAAGS out of 5
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