Developer: Darkling Room
Publisher: Iceberg interactive
# of Players: 1
ESRB Rating: N/A
Score: B+ 85%
As adventure games go, The Last Crown: Midnight Horror works exceptionally well as both an entry level point & click game for those new to the genre as well as a game fans of ghost hunters Nigel Danvers and Lucy Reubans’ previous (The Lost Crown) and future (The Last Crown: Blackenrock) exploits. The tone is lighter and the humor ranges from sly to flat out intentionally corny, but it all works quite well in this short taste of Halloween-themed horror. Even better, it’s only five dollars and worth every cent you’ll pay and then some.
Things kick off on Halloween as Nigel naps away with a favorite book in his easy chair and there’s a knock at the door. yes, it’s some trick-or-treaters on the prowl for candy, but Nigel also gets a flyer invite to a local bar for some disco dancing and other funky activities. “Funky activities” meaning there’s probably some ghosts to deal with who may not have that Saturday Night Fever on their minds. After a few puzzles and mini-games, Nigel eventually meets up with Lucy and the real fun begins. Between the ghosts, a gassy cat and a few mysteries to solve straight out of well, an old-school adventure game, there’s about four to five hours of fun to be had here.
The game isn’t all that difficult unless you’re really terrible at reading clues and searching for/interacting with stuff using the mouse. There are a few puzzles that may stump novices for a spell, but nothing that will throw up a wall in your face and shut you out of the game entirely. Comic relief is just about everywhere you look, from getting egged by some mean kids (in general, they’re all little devils in this game who deserve a nice visit from Krampus in a month or so) to dealing with that farting feline mentioned above. Nigel and Lucy are the Mulder and Scully of the adventure game set as both are into their supernatural stuff with Nigel being the gung-ho beliver while Lucy is skeptical but realizes those restless spirits are up to something every day of the year.
Midnight Horror sets up the interesting idea that Halloween is a time of the year where “the veil between our world and the ‘otherside’ is at its weakest” thanks to witches being otherwise occupied with Samhain celebrations and communing with spirits. This sets up Midnight Horror in the same world as The Lost Crown/The Last Crown games as events here take place between the first and next game (which is still in development). As a side story with a more humorous twist it’s a real corker that treads the line between funny and serious with ease. Visually, the mix of mostly black and white graphics with certain objects in full color is excellent, particularly the level of detail in character faces and the overall presentation. Even the old-style third-person movement straight out of the original Resident Evil is pulled off masterfully.
Minor complaints would be some of the voice acting not matching up to the onscreen text, some minor bugs (that seem to have been patched as of this post) and a few jokes that don’t quite work as well as they should be (possibly because not all humor is universal). That said, if you like not so scary games that end up creeping up under your skin anyway because while you’re chuckling away merrily, things got weirder, go toss five bucks from your Steam Wallet into the pockets of developer Darkling Room and settle in for an evening of chills with a little Midnight Horror. My time with the game made me want to dive into Blackenrock as soon as it’s completed, so I’ll be keeping an eyeball peeled for that followup.