The Academy: The First Riddle – Review (PC)
At first glance, The Academy: The First Riddle stands out in the puzzle genre. Looking a lot like a mix between Harry Potter and Professor Layton this game was scratching all the right itches. But did The First Riddle enchant me, or stump me?
The Academy was a fairly fun game. You walk around the campus while solving puzzles to either progress the story or work on a side quest. The gameplay doesn’t deviate more than that. You are able to talk to most of the students and teachers along your travels, though they don’t help you much or the students are too busy dancing…and there’s a hell of a lot of dancing. You can also explore the campus looking for shiny chocolate bars, which in turn gives you a hint for puzzles. You can also keep an eye out for a “daily puzzle” the librarian hides around the school for you to solve. I will say this though. Some of these puzzles were insanely hard. Even getting help from viewers on streaming, we were still stumped on some. Luckily once you get the solution you can go into the menu and redo the puzzle, getting you those 3 stars.
You do however need to attend class. You get told what chapter you need to read for each class and you do need to read it. The teacher will quiz you on the material…just like school. Also, just like school, I felt stupid failing 😀
The story itself is VERY Harry Potter. You have the dark-haired kid with destiny, the smart girl, a red-headed friend, and a bully who picks on the heavy kid. Add that with the idea of kids in school, not doing school things, but playing detective and unraveling a dark mystery. The story itself was ok, just enough to grab you to make you want to grind out some more puzzles. I think some of the puzzling and story didn’t really mesh well at times and had me confused about why I was actually solving these puzzles that made no sense. Some of the more fun puzzles were the 3D ones. Those you had to move around and place the cut-out pieces into the shape to complete the last part of the chapter (didn’t want to ruin the story with a deeper explanation). I think if the Academy branched out a little more than just a puzzle laid out on paper, and had more visual or 3D puzzles, it would definitely picked up the experience a bit.
I did enjoy the artwork and feel of the game. Visually it was pretty slick wandering around a school of magic. Unfortunately, the open areas are few and you feel very limited. On the other hand, though, looking for that daily puzzle can be a pain in the ass. I guess the best way to explain it is don’t expect Hogwarts but don’t expect to be limited to just a couple of areas.
Overall, The Academy: The First Riddle is a fun game. Puzzle fans should keep an eye out for it and even hope for a “Second Riddle”. If you aren’t a puzzle fan, The Academy may not put you under its spell.
Note: GameOctane received a digital code from the publisher for the purpose of reviewing this game. Any code or product intended for reviews is distributed to the team to review and stream for our audience.
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+ Decent Art style
+ Puzzles of all kinds for everyone to enjoy...or hate
- Some puzzles are hard or don't make sense
- The story isn't bad but isn't great either