Point and click hidden object games are hardly few and far between as of late, with Artifex Mundi undoubtedly taking the lead in this corner of the market. That being said, sometimes, it takes something fresh to truly stand out. The Tower of Beatrice certainly fits the bill in that department, but some drawbacks truly hold it back. The game comes with a light story, and one that doesn’t really stand to be anything other than a structural necessity to keep the proceedings together. Don’t get me wrong, it works, but it’s far from wholly interesting.
Starting out, it’s relayed to you that you need to locate and steal a book that’s hidden on the top floor of an old witch’s tower. Word has it that no one has clapped eyes on the witch for some years now, and as such, she shouldn’t prove much of a hindrance. No sooner do you boot up the first room to find that the titular Beatrice has trapped you, and now taunts you through her aforementioned spell-book. From there, you’ll work through a small collection of rooms as you seek escape from the tower, listening to Beatrice’s banter the whole while.
Like I said, it’s hardly the most compelling of stories, but it just about works nonetheless. Each room, or level to be specific, is served to you on a single screen, and much to be expected from a point and click hidden object adventure, you’ll maneuver a cursor around your immediate surroundings; solving puzzles and overcoming problems along the way. The gameplay is very straightforward, but it certainly could have used some more innovation and mechanical depth, because as it stands, despite its interesting framework, it’s too easy.
I say that because there’s really no way that you can lose, nor is there a particular penalty, outside of losing time, for failures. I would have had a much better time in this tower if there were more pressure, or at least less room for guesswork, but as it is, that’s just not the case. Nonetheless, and as alluded to above, each level is put forward as a room you need to escape from, and the only way to do so is to work your way through a range of mini puzzles and some riddles as you work to unlock an exit point of some sort to then move on.
I’ll say this, The Tower of Beatrice is as outlandish as they come. Oftentimes you’ll need to think outside of the box to make progress; be that drinking with a demon, stealing the nose of a snowman, changing the color of a sassy talking crayon, or anything in between. This tower is not one that plays by the traditional rules, and it’s certainly not shy of being fantastical. It’s a shame then, that everything is so damn simple. That, and the game is hella short, like, really short. You’ll run through this in little more than a couple of hours, max.
That being said, I don’t want to be too hard on the game on that front, because the game’s low cost offsets, or makes up for, much of its downsides. The crux of play sees you loading into each room, and being instantly met by a range of things that you can interact with immediately. Should you want some on the fly help, you can indeed pull up some tips that pretty much shovel blunt answers and solutions down your throat. Hint systems are hardly new in games of this type, so it’s nice to see this option present and accounted for here.
The game plays out as you would expect; engage with parts of the environment as you solve puzzles, pick up new items – usually from solving said puzzles, and then using these items to advance another puzzle elsewhere. The pacing is really well set, and there’s a nice variation to the puzzles overall. Puzzles range the standard; color manipulation, safe cracking, item hording, jig-saws, and more besides. Whilst none are particularly all that challenging, this diversity keeps repetition at bay, and as a result, the game never outstays its welcome.
The inventory system is as easy to digest as can be, housing a number of slots that encompass the items you’ll pick up along the way. You’ll then use these items to either trigger events elsewhere, or, slam them into your cauldron to concoct a potion that will enable you to, for the most part, escape the confines of your current room. That’s all there is to it really; you’ll load a room, solve a small range of puzzles, riddles, and mini-games, advance several other puzzles, and job done, you’ll move to the next and rinse and repeat.
Those looking for a neat twist on the hidden object concept will appreciate this the most, and if that’s you, you’ll certainly enjoy what’s on offer. Just, don’t expect fireworks, because you wont get that here. The Tower of Beatrice is easy to recommend, but even easier to forget once the credits roll. Still, for its cost, we shouldn’t expect too much. The game’s visuals are well detailed, putting forward a nice collection of well structured rooms to traverse; all of which remain interesting. Sadly, the audio is just meh, from start to finish.
Whilst its mechanical depth leaves a lot to be desired, and whilst it’s far from the most innovative of its kind, The Tower of Beatrice goes on to provide a neat escape room-like puzzler that doesn’t at all outstay its welcome. Those looking for an interesting take on the hidden object concept will pull the most from this, but even so, I would caution against setting expectations too high. It’s fun and unique, but somewhat let down in the long run.
This game was tested and reviewed on Xbox One. All of the opinions and insights here are subject to that version.Want to keep up to date with the latest Xt reviews, Xt opinions and Xt content? Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube.