by Mike Favila, Editor
The first time I played The 7th Guest I was scared out of my mind. That must have been in high school, so technically I should have been more immune to the spooks. That being said, The 7th Guest delivered so well on its premise, it felt like a new creepy experience every time. When I saw that a remaster of the classic was coming out, I knew I had to get my hands on a copy and see if it was as good as I remember.
The 7th Guest was one of the first games to incorporate full motion video (FMV), which basically made the game a playable movie. Now, in the world with Uncharted and Mass Effect, that concept seems very pedestrian, but the guys at Trilobyte were definitely innovators at the time. The same feelings came back when I first saw the opening sequence of The 7th Guest: 20th Anniversary Edition. The jaded part of me wanted to think the full motion video was kind of passe, but the game holds up really well.
The story is centered around a grifter with a dark past named Henry Stauf. One night, a vision comes to him in a dream. It is the design for his first toy. He starts building them, and the sales of that toy skyrocket and lifts him out of poverty. While he makes new toys inspired by his visions, the children who covet his toys suddenly get sick and die. Stauf’s final vision compels him to build a mansion on the edge of town, whereupon he disappears from public view. Spooky.
As The 7th Guest: 20th Anniversary Edition begins, you find out that Stauf has invited over six people on the same night, promising them that their most secret wish will come true if they can make it through the house’s puzzles. Each room contains a puzzle, along with an a cut scene that fills you in on that interactions of the guests in that room. As you crack each puzzle, a little more of the story is revealed.
A port of The 7th Guest was released on iTunes a while back, but The 7th Guest: 20th Anniversary Edition release on Android is a total remaster, and incorporates amazingly responsive touch controls, thanks to MojoTouch. When the game first came out, waiting for the rooms to load in The 7th Guest almost increased the tension in the game. Now, depending on your device, there is almost no load time. The graphics display really well on my Nexus 7 tablet, although some of the definition could be a little bit sharper, especially when I’m doing the puzzles. However, when I play it on the 2014 Moto X, the game moves fluidly and is very responsive. Trilobyte/MojoTouch helpfully allow you to choose the level of definition, depending on your game platform.
After you complete a puzzle, a small popup displays asking whether or not you would like to share your achievement on Facebook. Though this is not very intrusive, I would have preferred the game to be able to tie achievements into Google Play games, and then be able to save games across platforms. Maybe this will show up in a later update. Additionally, it seems MojoTouch is very responsive when it comes to discovered bugs in The 7th Guest: 20th Anniversary Edition, at least when you’re reading the reviews in the Google Play Store.
There are a wealth of special features that come with The 7th Guest: 20th Anniversary Edition. There is a link to the making a video on YouTube which is fascinating. It’s a little old, but provides great insights of the creators and their motivations. The creators also include a ton of deleted scenes, which are fun to watch in any state of completion. They really put the whole kitchen sink in there, and every little bit is appreciated.
I also really liked the inclusion of The 7th Guest novel which I’d been meaning to pick up sometime on eBay. Problem solved! What’s nice is that it integrates well with Google Books. Consequently, when I started the book on my phone, it was nice to be able to pick it up on my tablet from where I left off. What a great way to leverage what could have just been a standard PDF included!
Overall, The 7th Guest: 20th Anniversary Edition hits all the marks I could ask for. For original players, the nostalgia is there in all the right places and directly connects me to a specific time. I enjoy the game even more, now that limitations and quirks of CD-ROM have been eliminated. As a new player, this game is still head and shoulders above most of the offerings in the Android store, and the puzzles are a lot of fun. I can’t believe a game this great is available on my phone for well under $10. It’s a no brainer. Buy The 7th Guest: 20th Anniversary Edition immediately and spread the word!
Rating: ComicsOnline gives The 7th Guest: 20th Anniversary Edition 5 out of 5 exposed skulls!