The Eyes Of Ara | Review


The Eyes of Ara Review | The Eyes of Ara invites you to escape to another place. Become enthralled in a stunning Adventure-Puzzle game set in a gorgeous 3D environment. Explore a vast and ancient castle riddled with secret vaults and hidden rooms. Solve elaborate puzzles, locate lost treasures, and unravel an ancient mystery. 

Developer: 100 Stones Interactive 
Console Played On: Steam 
Number Of Players: 1 

Do you like abandoned castles? Check ✅

Do you yearn to relive the mid 90s? Check ✅

Does a plethora of puzzles and secret passages get you giddy? Check ✅ 

Well if so, this point-and-click game might just be for you. 

One Man Did It Alone… 

The Eyes of Ara is a point-and-click game that harks back to the mid 1990s, influenced by games such as Myst, Broken Sword and Medievil. It involves, you; a radio technician assigned to shut down the dominant broadcast coming from the castle you arrive at via boat in the opening of the game. Of course, as expected, it is not going to be as simple as shutting off a switch and picking up your paycheck! 

The first thing that needs to be mentioned, is that the developer, 100 Stones Interactive; is just one person – an Australian games industry veteran called Ben Droste. The fact that this entire game was developed by one person absolutely blows my mind.

Take Me Back… 

The theming of the game is very much on point (sorry, poor pun) and is idiomatic to the times of the mid 1990s; right down to the bulky computers and tacky futuristic elements like simple LCD graphics screens. The music places itself more towards the historical thematics of the castle, and from time to time, the score would transcend me back to the 1998 PS1 game Medievil; both having similar musical textures and arrangements. I also found myself being drawn to the SFX – clicking on walls, doors and other materials rewarded you with some satisfying foley. 

Visually, the games aesthetics are not anything ground-breaking, but everything serves their purpose well; be it a secret passage or a mechanism that signifies a puzzle solved. I don’t know if I was all that immersed however. There is a narrative which progresses as you pick up books and diaries throughout the game, but its entirely static; ie: words on a page; which don’t bring anything story-based, convincingly to life. I found myself often not willing to read anything thoroughly that wasn’t pertinent to solving any of the puzzles.   

I had the same desktop background on my Windows 95!

A Puzzling Affair! 

The puzzles. There are lots of puzzles. It’s a really meaty experience for anyone wanting their solving itch scratched. There are a wide range of puzzles and again, the style of them hark back to games like Myst and even the earlier games of the Resident Evil series. Not the shooty-zombie bits of those games, but the stop-and-think, work-this-connundrum-out parts.  

Despite the solid range of puzzles presented however, there is a lot of searching involved. If you like searching for items in escape rooms and other puzzle-based games; this might be heaven for you. For others however (and especially if you have a non-performant PC running the game, where the graphics can cause certain items to blend in with the background), search fatigue can set in quickly. 

A Bonus Or A Burden? 

Another thing to mention, are the “bonus” items that can be collected throughout the game. There are a lot of these items, however they serve no greater purpose in progressing. Many of them involve solving puzzle sets that are much, much harder than the main puzzle pathway. I could very easily imagine escape room fans getting quite frustrated at solving one of these challenging puzzles, only to be rewarded with an item that is optional to acquire. I know red herrings are a touchy subject with the escape room industry and I’d be inclined to say similar strong feelings with these bonus items, could very much be a thing. 

There is a small hints mechanic in the game. If you are wondering around aimlessly for too long, the game might point to an (already acquired) item you could use in the room that you are in. Aside from that you’ll have to hit the internet for text or video walkthroughs. No major issue here however, there are plenty of spoiler-free walkthroughs available, should you need them. 

A galaxy’s worth of puzzles await…

Just Point… And Click… 

Control-wise on steam, all you need is a mouse with a roller. It’s simple, but effective and works perfectly well. My only consideration for improvement is that there is no compatibility for gamepads, for differentiation purposes. Aside from that, it’s a minor consideration. The mouse controls do exactly what they need to do. 

How Much Guv’nor? 

The price point, is around the £12 mark for all consoles. I estimate that The Eyes Of Ara will keep players busy for 7-12 hours based on a single playthrough without guides. I’m not sure if there is much replay value aside from walking around the castle’s pleasing environment. That being said, a £12 game of this calibre made by a single person, is highly reasonable. 

This poster has serious Mairi vibes….

For The Apprentice Or Master Technician? 

If you love to search to your hearts content, this game may be easier for you; otherwise, it will probably serve as a difficult challenge for the majority of the game’s lifespan. I’d say that the initial puzzles start off quite easy to get you hooked in, then the difficulty ramps up quite swiftly; especially with the acquisition of the bonus items. 


Considering this is the efforts of a single person, there are many elements of this game that are outstanding. However, from an escape roomer’s point of view, it falls a little short on a couple of issues. That aside, it’s a super game that has a ridiculous amount of puzzles to get stuck into, alongside it being a visual love letter to three decades past.

The Eyes of Ara can be downloaded on Steam, Nintendo Switch, and most mobile devices.

Old Man’s Journey | Review


Old Man’s Journey, a soul-searching puzzle adventure, tells a story of life, loss, and hope. Interacting with the world around you, you’ll shape the landscape to create the old man’s path forward. Experience heartache and hope as you embark on a heartfelt journey through a sunkissed world.

Time Played: 108 minutes
Console: PC, Switch, PS4, Xbox
Recommended For: A relaxing puzzle game with beautiful mechanics

An old man, living alone atop a hill, receives a letter in the post and immediately packs up his bags and ventures out on an epic journey across wild terrain, the sea, by train, and perched on the back of a truck. Through the trials on his old bones we learn about his life, his hopes and his dreams through a series of flashbacks. The puzzle mechanics are a simple yet tool to tell this heartbreaking story without a single word. I’m not crying… YOU’RE CRYING!

In the Steam Summer Sale I picked up 30 new titles I’d never heard of before, and Old Man’s Journey was one of them. I didn’t really know what to expect – it was one of my ‘wildcard’ purchases from the “Puzzle” category, and looking at the multitude of excellent reviews I knew I’d found a hidden gem.



I’d move mountains for this old man

…No seriously, that’s how you play this game. Have you ever been in a long car drive daydreaming out the window as the hills rise and fall over the landscape? It’s easy to imagine a figure running along the top of them, leaping from hill to hill as the perspective shifts. This is how the puzzles work in Old Man’s Journey. He’s a lone figure moving across the beautiful landscape alone, on a journey that you’ll not understand until the game’s climax. The side scroller gameplay makes it easy to pick up and master quickly.

It’s a puzzle mechanic I’ve never seen before, making Old Man’s Journey an instant classic in my eyes. Totally original and executed to perfection! Sure, there are other games where moving parts of the landscape is a central mechanic, but pulling and pushing hills out of the way in this whimsical side scroller felt altogether fresh.

Just as the puzzles start to feel repetitive, the game does mix it up a little. Each new area brings with it new challenges – such as encountering sheep which must be safely moved out of the way to let you pass, or fences which must be knocked down. Some of my favourite parts of Old Man’s Story were the ‘travel sequences’, where our old man character hops on a train or the back of a pickup truck and speeds through the landscape gracefully.



I’m not crying… You’re crying!

What I loved most about Old Man’s Journey, no surprise, was the story. It’s equal parts heart warming and heart breaking. As a player, besides shifting the landscape to make the old man’s journey possible, you’re largely left in the dark about the who, what and why, making it feel like you’re going on the journey of discovery with the characters.

At points, the titular characters takes breaks in his walk and reflects on life through a series of flashbacks, each recalling a moment in his life. We see his life as a young man, meeting his first love, starting a family, building his own home and, at points in our own story, the landscape changes to match the mood. There’s a sense of spring youthfulness at the start, and stormy trouble at the old man reflects on sadder moments in his life.

The developers have also added a language-less touch to the whole experience too, making the game powerful for every audience, regardless of language. What I mean by this is there are no words. No written dialogue, no conversation, heck even the buttons aren’t labelled – it’s all intuitive.

It’s excellent environmental storytelling: expressions, weather, colours, and painterly landscapes of the past. Just like this old man is, all are solitary, sad and quiet.




Who should play this?

You should play this if you, like me, keep forgetting to ring your grandparents, or elderly parents. It’s a really straightforward puzzle game and easy to get the hang of – so a great one for puzzle enthusiasts and beginners alike. Old Man’s Journey has also now been released for mobile too, so there’s no excuse not to check it out.

Personally, I played this on PC. I felt a little bit under the weather and wanted to sit back, enjoy some Art (with a capital A!) and solve some simple puzzles. At around 60 minutes long, it’s on the shorter side. You could complete this game in the same length of time it takes to complete an escape room, or more likely wait in line at the doctors.

This makes it a great game to check out if you’ve only an hour or two to spare, want simple mechanics and beautiful graphics. Play Old Man’s Story for a sense of peace and a meaningful message. This game is undemanding, moving and utterly brilliant.


Purchase Old Man’s Journey on the website.

Enigma Rooms Wakefield: Uncle Artemis | Review


The Turner family have always joked about Uncle Artemis and his eccentric ways. A World traveler with a keen interest in relics from around the globe and a head full of steam, the family never understood him like you did. News of his death has hit you hard, and while the rest of the family go about managing the estate, your only thoughts are with the single item he bequeathed to you, the key to his study. That place was his sanctum, and where you most loved spending time with him. As a child it was full of wonder, as an adult the key you hold in your hand is the key to Uncle Artemis’ most intriguing secrets. With a heavy heart but a buzz in your soul, you unlock the door and step inside…


Theming: 4/5

Puzzles: 4/5

Online interface: 4/5

Fun Factor: 5/5

Difficulty: 3/5

Overall:4/5 ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

An unusual game…

So, this was an unusual game for us for two reasons:

One, we were joined by a fifth escapee, Russ, from Russ Builds (you may recognise him as the creator of such games as Airlock and Citizen (side note, please read this in Troy McClure’s voice from The Simpsons)).

Two, we were playing a digital room, which was set in a physical room we had previously played a different game in (which was very strange!). Uncle Artemis is in the physical room where we have previously played Seance (well, some of us played, others sat down and thought that Enigma Wakefield had hired a small child to play a terrifying demon… Check out our previous review here!). 

We are big fans of the Enigma franchise and have played a lot of their games across a range of locations in the North of the UK. The Enigma Rooms seem to be run by people who are super enthusiastic about their rooms, often creating hand-built escape rooms which feel unique, fun and definitely challenging.

Uncle Artemis brought a brilliant new opportunity to play yet another Enigma Wakefield room, after completing all of their current physical rooms back in 2019!

A strange contraption…

Uncle Artemis begins with an introductory video, pulling you into the story of your quirky Uncle Artemis and setting the premise for the rest of the game nicely. The room converted into a digital form via Telescape was done really well, and there was a section of the room specifically adapted to the online interface – a strange contraption we had to get working using clues from around the room. This made the flow feel very smooth and helped to make it really stand out from your average ‘point and click’ escape room.

The strange contraption also aided the puzzle flow in the room, as players needed to keep returning to it after each ‘mini-puzzle’ was solved throughout the room. We always love a room that helps you track your progress, and Uncle Artemis delivered well on this. 

Same room, COMPLETELY different game

The room itself has been cleverly adapted from Seance; whilst some of the items were familiar (shout out to the creepy drawers!), it was really interesting to see how Enigma Rooms Wakefield put together a whole new room, including new puzzles, using the previous room’s theme.

This did mean that there were a few areas we spent a long time looking at and thinking “Where will we use THIS?”,but there were no obvious red herrings that led to any stunted puzzle playing – it all came together (very satisfyingly!) in the end. 

Teamwork makes the dream work!

This is definitely a room for teamwork. We often found ourselves pulled onto different puzzles, as this is not a fully linear game, so people were solving different things at different times. We enjoyed the puzzles that forced us to rely on each other for communication, as often online games can lack that interactivity with other players that brings so much satisfaction (and fun!) in real-life escape rooms.

It was a good job we did split up and conquered as this room contained SO MANY puzzles. A big shout out to Russ for being a very, very welcome fifth player on this! It gave us all the opportunity to play to our strengths. However, we can safely say that Tasha and Al do not gel well with spatial puzzles based on screens, as they spent a long time looking at a picture of a key

The Verdict?

Overall, this was a solid, enjoyable game. We were really impressed by how well Enigma Rooms Wakefield had changed the physical space we’d previously experienced – it felt like a brand new game! We would recommend a group of around 4 players or more as our group of 5 worked well for us.

We managed to complete it in a respectable 46 minutes – given that Enigma Wakefield have given this a 9/10 difficulty rating, we’re very pleased with how we fared!

If you are ever in Wakefield, we cannot recommend Enigma Wakefield enough (go and check out their Murder Motel room – we once beat the record there!).

Uncle Artemis is suitable for groups of up to 6 players. You can book to play Uncle Artemis for £20 here.

realMyst | Review


Welcome to Myst: the starkly beautiful island, eerily tinged with mystery and shrouded in intrigue. Explore the deeper connections and uncover a story of ruthless family betrayal.

Time Played: 10+ Hours
Console: PC
Recommended For: Retro gamers, people not easily frustrated!

Yo, listen here. I genuinely suck at Myst. I’ve decided to tap out at the ~10 hour mark (possibly even more) and call it a day on Myst forever… Maybe… I mean, I might get it in VR to be honest.

But anyway, I’m getting side tracked. I still wanted to write this review because Myst is such a breathtaking game and years ahead of it’s time! The first version of Myst came out in 1994, before I was even born. Just because I don’t ‘get it’ and find it super tricky, doesn’t mean it’s not an incredible game and worth all your time in the world. Maybe just err, use a walkthrough for good measure! No judgement here.

Here’s a screengrab of me streaming Myst over on my escape room Twitch channel, shortly before I descended into “oh my god it’s been an hour and I’m still in the first area“.

If you’re comparing realMyst with another version you may have played, then here’s a breakdown of every version:

  • Myst – original 1994 game, point and click, fixed viewpoints
  • Myst: Masterpiece Edition – same as above but improved graphics
  • RealMyst – 3D version of original game
  • RealMyst: Masterpiece Edition – as above, but improved graphics
  • Myst VR – as above but VR
  • An unknown remake – who knows!

The story starts with you, docked on a shoreline with a sunken ship behind you. The island is home to a medley of unusual structures and mechanical contraptions from another world. At one end of the island a rocket ship is parked ready to take you away. Solve the puzzles and find the clues, and you’ll travel to incredible new worlds.

To start Myst, or realMyst, or Myst VR (whichever version you’re playing – it’s the same), you’ll want to grab a notebook. This game is all about making notes as you go along, and trying a bunch of different things until you get it right. It’s not a simple “okay this puzzle is this, then leads to this”, it’s about tiny subtle clues in the environment that might help, or might not.

There’s no inventory system, no health bar – absolutely nothing you’d normally expect from a video game. It’s just you and the environment, eerily deserted. No way out until you solve the puzzles. Like taking an escape room to it’s logical conclusion – a chilling island in the middle of nowhere you can never escape *shudders*.

For all it’s difficulty, the game does provide some wonderful ‘aha!’ moments. With a game so tricky as this, with a lot of trial and error in some puzzles, finally cracking something is an absolute joy. It’s easier today in 2021 than it was back in the early 90s when we didn’t have a ready internet walkthrough available to us, and it shows in the puzzles that are MEANT to be laboured over for hours to finally have that “oh wow, I’ve solved it” moment like burst of light.

I’m keeping this review really short for two reasons. Firstly, I’ve not finished the game, and I don’t think I ever will. As such, I can’t really comment on the ending (I hear there’s alternate endings). Secondly, because Myst isn’t really to be judged by it’s puzzles and I’m not in a place to judge it. It’s an experience – relaxing and frustrating but more importantly ICONIC. I don’t think anyone reading this website is a Myst newbie. This game has been around forever, again, longer than my whole life. So I instead wanted to use this space for my thoughts and reflections.

It was a lot of fun in the Twitch stream hearing other people talk about playing Myst in the 90s and reminisce over puzzles long forgotten, and enjoy the new graphics. Good luck to those of you playing the game and if you, like me, don’t want to finish it that’s okay too!

RealMYST: Masterpiece Edition can be purchased for £12.99 on Steam.