All of Clue Cracker’s online games so far have followed the same straightforward structure, where the solution to each puzzle unlocks the next. As with their others, the simple format uses video clips as well as text to advance the story and break up the puzzles.
You’ll guess from the name that this is a spooky themed game, though you might wonder just how scary a game can be when it’s entirely contained in a browser tab. I imagine the videos could be nerve-inducing for some players – they’re perhaps on a par with short clips from a horror movie. However, Clue Cracker are not a company to take themselves seriously, and the game happily sends up its own horror tropes in a way that amused me more than a little.
The videos are interspersed between the actual content, which mostly uses static images and are much more focused on puzzles than scares. Those puzzles are sometimes a little shoe-horned into the theme, and there were one or two I liked less (counting puzzles are a pet peeve), but it also included one that I think is probably the best from any of their online games, a neat combination of maths and wordplay.
Harlequin House is one of their two longer 90 minute games (along with Fairground Felony), and intended for more experienced players. And of Clue Cracker’s four online games, this is absolutely the one I’d suggest enthusiasts go for. Its story is stronger, I liked the moments of self-parodying humour, and I’d probably give it the edge on puzzle design too.
Disclaimer: We played this game on a complementary basis. This does not influence the review or rating.