The Delusions of Von Sottendorff and His Square Mind (the creators are giving the Kingdom Hearts team a run for craziest title) has hit the 3DS eShop today for $12.99. It’s part platformer and part puzzle game, so you’d be forgiven for immediately thinking of Henry Hatsworth for the DS. While it’s true that both games feature an older monocle-wearing gentleman, drawing from the aristocrat society of the 20th century, Delusions is an entirely different and unique prospect.
You take control of Baron Von Sottendorff, a man who has gone mad and is trapped in a mansion inside his mind. The only way to help the poor chap is to scour the various levels for objects that will trigger memories from his life. As you complete levels and find these mementos, you will discover what drove the man crazy. This mansion is huge, so you’ll have to take it one room at a time.
At the beginning of each stage you’ll be shown an exit that’s blocked behind a locked door. The game will pan around the various rooms and show you where to find the key that’s required to unlock the exit. Scattered and hidden across the rooms are objects to collect, but these can be tricky to reach. Sottendorff can jump on top of furniture and other objects, and he can use his trusty trumpet to reveal secret invisible platforms that might be required to find all of the secret items. Nabbing all of them and making it to the exit with the key will allow you to progress to the next level.
The really unique aspect of the game is the way the rooms are laid out. Doors connect them, but the adjacent room’s door may not line up with the door of the room you’re currently in. On the bottom touch screen you can grab an entire room and slide it around, not unlike those slide puzzles you played as a kid where you moved tiny squares around to form a picture. By moving the rooms around, you can line up the doors and make your way into the next area. The beginning of the game starts off simple enough, with just a few rooms to slide around. You’ll be able to clear these levels in just a few minutes. But, later on the game adds more and more rooms that must be lined up correctly in order to solve the puzzle. In addition, there are things like trap doors that if lined up over a hole in the ceiling of another room will allow you to fall down into it. Other elements like levers and switches will change up other aspects of the rooms. In other words, expect the game to progressively get more complicated and devious in its level designs.
The game’s visuals are a mixed bag. While the cinemas all look good, with a hand drawn look to the characters, not unlike a Professor Layton game, the in-game graphics suffer from severe aliasing that can become distracting, especially if you’re playing the game with the 3D effect turned on. The rooms are fairly detailed and often have lots of objects that fill them up nicely. It really does feel like a robust mansion filled with tons of paintings on the walls, and other fancy things like long banquet tables and grand pianos. Overall, the game looks impressive for an eShop game.
Delusions has a good soundtrack. The music fits the game very well, and I’m quite impressed with some of the compositions. The voiceover at the beginning of each stage is a bit over the top and doesn’t sound good through the 3DS speakers. The game recommends wearing headphones for the best experience, and while it does sound better this way, I still found the voice to be very distracting, moving from one speaker to the other. I totally get the idea behind making the voice swirl around your head, but the execution falls flat.
It’s not often that I get a game where I know next to nothing about it before playing it for the first time. In today’s age of Let’s Play videos that walk you through the entire game before it’s even released, it’s refreshing going into one spoiler-free with no expectations whatsoever. Despite being a little rough around the edges, and the game becoming stale long before it’s over, I had a fun time with it. The controls can be a bit finicky, but they suffice. It won’t qualify for any game of the year awards, but the development team delivers a unique and entertaining game that is a cut above many other titles that make their way to the 3DS eShop.