When you think of MumboJumbo Games, the last thing you’d think of is creepy. The Institute, a Becky Brogan Adventure is not only creepy, but perfect for this upcoming Halloween.
Most hidden-object games are cutesy or have a casual feel to it. I can’t say the same for The Institute as there is nothing cute about it. In conjunction with Let It Rain Games, MumboJumbo has actually surprised me.
The Institute has gamers going through an abandoned mental facility where an unsolved crime took place. The Nurse, known as Ursa, went missing. Upon further investigating by gathering diary entries and other documents, you find out that Nurse Ursa wasn’t as evil as you thought, and that Dr. Gentle should probably get a name change.
With the use of ancient Mayan technology and the Shaman Machine, Dr. Gentle does some pretty twisted things to three psychologically demented children. That’s not to say that the children are innocent, because they aren’t. They were all thrown into the facility for various reasons like burning animals, torturing children, and other twisted things. As you collect the papers, you will stumble upon letters the children have written themselves, and they are pretty interesting.
The game itself is rather basic. You have a list of items on the bottom you have to find, and then you look around. Since everything has a more lifelike appearance, it can be rather difficult at times to find what you are looking for, especially the smaller items like hairpins. You can have hints, with the button having a cooldown, or if you find teddy bears throughout the levels, you can use them to instantly refill the hint button. One thing players will like is how, after each level, it goes straight into the next without any unnecessary cutscenes, making the gameplay the main focus.
One thing I didn’t like was how I couldn’t pause the game. The only way to stop what I was doing was to select to go to the menu. Since each level is timed, having a pause button would’ve been a welcome addition. The music was nice too until I realized that it was the same track, looping. Sure the actual music was great, fitting for the game, and sounded like something out of a Silent Hill title, but I found myself having to lower the music volume after about a dozen levels because I grew a little sick of hearing the same tune.
I did run into one problem with the game, although I’m sure it isn’t a common thing. At one point I selected to not have the game full screen so that I could view my email inbox and make sure I wasn’t missing anything. When I wanted to switch back to full screen, it didn’t happen, and instead I stared at a black screen. The only way I was able to fix it was by restarting my computer. Thinking it was a one-time thing, I tried it again, and sure enough… I had to restart.
Despite the full screen problem, music, and lack of a pause button, I found the game to be very enjoyable. I loved all of the puzzles throughout the game, especially the one where it was like a large Mayan calendar. I also loved where, on some levels, it would be split and you’d have to find the differences.
For a hidden object game, The Institute offers gamers something different. I know there are tons people out there who like playing games that are a bit more dark, so this is right up their alley.
For only $19.99, you can pick up a copy of The Institute at your local Walmart store, and it even comes with a full copy of another Becky Brogan game, The Mystery of Meane Manor.