Riddles, mysteries, intrigue, gore, and puzzles abound in 7th Guest, a game about an evil toymaker who has invited 6 guests to his mansion…but who is the 7th guest? Prepare to flex your mental muscle as you attempt to solve some tough and in some cases near impossible puzzles as you unlock more and more rooms in the mansion uncovering the dark plot surrounding Stauf.
Available For: Mac, iOS, PC (reviewed)
Publisher(s): Virgin Interactive
Release Date: 1993
Archetype: Adventure, Horror, Puzzle
This is a puzzle game. I mean, yes, there is quite a bit more to it. There are FMVs all over the place, lots of acting that’s just all over the place, lots of great visuals…but mostly, there are just a bunch of fucking puzzles. Now, I’m not saying this is a bad thing, but going into this game, you may assume that it’s a half and half deal…and you’d be wrong and wrong.
If I understand the story correctly, a vagabond by the name of Stauf somehow comes into some money as a successful toy and puzzle maker, so he invites a bunch of people over to his mansion for a dinner party and proceeds to terrorize them with supernatural forces…somehow…for whatever reason. Again, I don’t know if maybe the story was just unclear or it’s been so long since I’ve played that I’ve forgotten important bits and pieces.
Beyond that, there really isn’t much story. Mostly it’s just random FMVs that play out before and after you solve the room puzzle. In many ways, I would almost compare it to modern adventure/puzzle games where you come upon a room, get a brief cutscene, solve the puzzle, get another cutscene, and can continue.
In fact, that’s basically what it is. Over and over. Now look, I’m not trying to make it sound boring. It really is fun, the puzzles really are challenging, and, for the time, the cutscenes were fantastic. Of course, this was also the same year as Myst and Return to Zork, so it’s not as though this wasn’t already being done. Really, the only two elements that help this stick out is how dark it is and how challenging the puzzles are…also, the fact that they are PUZZLES, not just “figure out what the fuck to do next.”
Beyond that, it’s hard to find more stuff to talk about. It’s not that I’m a bad writer or anything, it’s just that really, what else is there to say? The story’s interesting, but especially already having beaten the game, I really don’t want to give away too much or I’ll ruin it. The sequels were fairly terrible, so I won’t bother mentioning those…in fact, I probably won’t end up reviewing them either.
In a way, this is almost like Mystical Ninja. There are elements I like about it, but it’s really hard to say why. Perhaps it’s nostalgia or perhaps it’s just that, for the time, it was very fun and “new age,” which is laughable looking back on it now. 7th Guest is still a game I’d recommend, however, especially if you can find it somewhere and force it to run properly on your PC.
Of course, I also just noted that there is an iOS derivitive, so that’s definitely worth looking into. If you’re looking for a puzzle game that’s a little darker with a sort of dinner mystery/haunted mansion theme going along with it, especially if you dig early 90s FMV titles, then look no further.