Hermitage: Strange Case Files Review | This gripping paranormal horror adventure revolves around Hermitage, the sinister bookstore that attracts most unusual customers – all of whom seem to be involved in mysterious cases bordering on the paranormal.
Console Played On: PC
Time Taken: 20+ Hours
Number Of Players: 1
Hermitage: Strange Case Files is a really unusual game to review here on The Escape Roomer, and for this review we have to put on our “detective” hat rather than “escape room hat”. Of course, there’s a big argument to say that they’re both very transferrable skills. But Hermitage: Strange Case Files, although an interesting game, is definitely more suitable for an audience who enjoy length murder mystery novels.
In the words of my co-writer Russ, who normally reviews video games:
Do you like lengthy detective novels?
Do you prefer to deduce than solve puzzles?
Are you interested in the paranormal?
If so, then this game might be for you.
Welcome to the Hermitage Book Shop
The story centres around the Hermitage Book Shop, it’s owner who never leaves, and the curious customers who visit. Broken up into several chapters, each chapter offers a new case to investigate. Along the way you acquire more books that hint at the occult, Lovecraftian world beyond the book shop’s front door…. Absolutely magical!
The elephant in the room is that this game is well over 30 hours if you want to complete the whole thing. It’s not a puzzle game sprint, it’s a narrative marathon.Thankfully the game helps you out by highlighting the most important parts – the clues – in red which you can add to your notebook. But even with this, buckle in because you’re in for a long game!
Inbetween the dialogue, we get to the juicier part of the game: the investigation! Whether looking online for clues, communicating with characters via your phone or, you guessed it, checking in the books – this game is all about solving a series of mysterious cases. As the game unfolds we also learn more about the manager, and the owner of the shop.
There is also an element of choose-your-own-adventure to this story. Occasionally different dialogue options will be presented that change the way the case, or even the whole game pans out, which is an interesting addition too. Choose badly and you’ll get a bad ending, but save regularly and you can always go back and replay segments if you wish to try again.
Story aside, my favourite thing about Hermitage Case Files was without a doubt the moody artwork and atmosphere. For a visual novel, this game is *chef’s kiss* The art style is similar to an anime film, or manga book, yet it still evokes a beautiful feeling of noir dark academia. There’s something really wonderful about working in a dusty old book shop filled with otherworldly books and each new character that joined the story expanded the rich world even further. There was something a little Studio Ghibli about the game that I can’t quite put my finger on, but I loved it.
Overall, it’s a really hard game to judge. In conclusion, I did personally enjoy this game but we (since a few of The Escape Roomer team played parts of Hermitage: Strange Case Files) struggle to recommend this to your average escape room audience. Like a lengthy detective novel, this game will last a long time and take players through thousands of lines of dialogue before the end credits roll. If that’s something you enjoy, then give it a go! But if you’re expecting more puzzle solving, then this game might not be for you.
Hermitage: Strange Case Files can be played on Steam, PlayStation, Xbox, Switch, iOS, Android.