Welcome Time Wasters!
This week at the suggestion of a friend I’m taking a look at the indie title Kraven Manor. The game is made by a small team of just 13 and was originally created by the group as their college final. I spent my first couple of quarters at college in the Game Design major before deciding that high level math and me were never going to see eye to eye, and so I decided to switch my major. That being said I have a small idea as to what it takes to create something like this in such a short time with so few people, and I’m impressed.
Kraven Manor drops us into the view of some poor soul, who in an effort to get out of the rain enters Kraven Manor. At first everything seems okay and the only real things to note about the manor is the giant glass case located in the middle of the entrance hall and the bronze mannequin at the top of the stairs. Then of course the power flickers and we are left to explore with nothing but a flashlight. This is where the fun starts. Ever have something so creepy hit you that it made you do a double take? Well Kraven Manor successfully got this reaction out of me a few times. I don’t want to go into too much detail about Kraven Manor’s twist and turns so as not to ruin the surprises, but I will mention this: Doctor Who fans are going to immediately recognize the inspiration behind the enemies as having come from Weeping Angels.
At its heart Kraven Manor is an adventure game with some elements of survival horror and puzzle mixed in to keep it interesting. Story is told by reading various notes and books left lying around by the previous occupants coupled with environmental clues such as photos. The only real problem I have with the story is that there isn’t really any big reveal at the end of it. I spent about an hour’s time with Kraven Manor collecting clues and studying my surroundings only to be left with a bit of disappointment.
Kraven manor does have a really cool concept built into it when it came to reaching new areas within the manor. Instead of doing the typical ‘run and find a key’ Kraven Manor has us searching for miniature replicas of different rooms in the manor. After finding these rooms we bring them back to that large glass case I mentioned earlier and use them to open new doors. This whole idea works by placing the model pieces together so that they link up with the other pieces. I can’t really say I’ve seen anything like this before and it really helps to shape Kraven Manor into being a fun unique game.
Aesthetically Kraven Manor doesn’t do badly either. Like I said earlier, this game was made by college students so don’t expect high end graphics, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t good. As far as the sound effects go Kraven Manor does a really great job. The thunderstorm outside, scrapping of bronze across the floor and the heavy breathing from the character all during a chase scene all comes together wonderfully.
At the end of the day Kraven Manor falls into that category of games that with a little more improvement and expanding the game beyond its hour play time, I’d be willing to drop five dollars on it. As it is now Kraven Manor is a free game and I highly recommend anyone that can run it to go give it a try.
Kraven Manor scares 3.5 GiN Gems out of 5 from this startled reviewer.