Room-in-a-box, May 2019
Exit follow a very consistent, well-defined style of puzzle game, and after reviewing eight or nine of them there’s not a whole lot to say about a new one unless it differs from the others in some significant way; and Sinister Mansion does not.
The usual booklet of clues is sparser than normal, but is instead supplemented by a folded poster. That’s a reasonable way to provide half the content up front and the rest only once the player reaches the right point of the game.
It’s explicitly a sequel to Exit’s earlier games, specifically Abandoned Cabin and Forbidden Castle, with which it shares the premise of a mysterious villain who’s imprisoned you. The main benefit of that is that brief backplot shows amusing self-awareness, describing how you find yourself implausibly trapped in a suspicious building full of puzzles… again!
The puzzles are very typical of Exit, and show both the strengths (clever ideas, high quality production values, broadly solid puzzle design) and weaknesses (components that are designed to be destroyed, minimal narrative, some steps a bit cryptic or unnecessarily confusing). Mansion’s best moment is its climactic puzzle, which is a little fragile in the sense of relying on you to execute it exactly as intended for it to produce the right solution, but is still thoroughly pleasing.