1996 Daydream Software
Designed by Jan Phersson-Broberg
Reviewed 2002 May 7

Rating -5 Linearity open
Reasonability deductive Connectivity moderate
Difficulty pedestrian Relevance weak
Interface 1st 360 simple Real-time minor

Applying for a job at a safe company, your "job interview" consists of breaking into the company mansion and cracking a bunch of safes.

There's not really any story beyond here there be puzzles. There's not really any contextual environment, either, since many of the safes are actually unsafes. That is, they don't function as a safe, keeping people out but still allowing easy access for those with the key (code, whatever). Those that really are safes are simple keys or codes that you find lying about, often inside other safes, all conveniently labelled telling you which safe they match -- the real safes don't present any challenge.

Okay, pretty much a pure puzzle game, so how are the puzzles? Unfortunately, not too good. Most are tired old standbys, without even a novel twist -- unless you count the slider puzzle that sometimes starts in an unsolveable state. The few digressions from cliché are trivial, lacking any creativity or cleverness.

The challenge structure is non-linear, very open. You find keys (or their equivalent) and clues inside the safes that you open, as well as just lying about, so there is high degree of connectivity for a puzzle game.

The interface is simple and clean. The only problem I had was a technical problem with the inventory: when it filled up to multiple pages, it became difficult to scroll into the middle pages -- it keep zipping past to the first/last page. You are shown a map near the beginning: I wish I could have used it to zip around the mansion later.

Visually, it's a nice mansion to run around in. There's a lot of detail, and a lot of superfluous objects to play with, and the occasional little gag. There was music, lots of short loops, not bad but neither interesting nor evocative.

There are a couple of puzzle based bugs to watch out for. When you open a safe, be sure to take out all of its contents before backing away, since you can't get back inside a cracked safe afterwards. Similarly, a couple of safes require mulitple keys to open: if you try to use the keys before you have all of them, you will lose those keys. Fortunately, the saved game files are text, so you can easily edit them to restore lost items, or uncrack safes, or even give yourself more time.

Daydream Software desperately needs (pretend it's 1996) to hire its own "safecracker" to help them design puzzles. They have the graphic and sonic and programming expertise needed to make a good game, but they lack a good game designer. However, if you're new to puzzling, this is an attractive package in which to first see several old standbys.

Beware! Here are some spoiler-ridden notes on the game. They're only recommended for people who have played the game and want to see some of my rationale for my evaluations.
David Tanguay's Game Reviews
Here's a description of all the gobbledygook in these reviews. It's also a bit of an essay on the nature of adventure games.