MacGuffin's Curse review

By Ozzie Mejia, Jun 14, 2012 1:00pm PDT

Playing through MacGuffin's Curse, I started to feel a sense of familiarity. Brawsome's top-down puzzler would often have me pushing boxes, activating switches, and looting safes. In other words, it feels like a standard puzzle game. Yet, I can't help but crack a smile, thanks to the game's flair for humor. Genuinely clever writing and an engaging narrative turn this average puzzler into a charming experience.

MacGuffin's Curse follows a magician-turned-master thief named Lucas MacGuffin, as he breaks into the Museum of Myths and Mysteries to steal a valuable artifact that will help him make next month's rent. He winds up grabbing the Lupine Twine Amulet, which quickly attaches itself to him and allows him to transform into a werewolf while standing under the full moon. MacGuffin quickly finds himself hunted by local street toughs, the town's corrupt mayor, and the sinister villain pulling everyone's strings.

If the story sounds serious, rest assured that it isn't. The whole narrative is played up for laughs and the tone remains light for the remainder of the game, even as the story hits its climax. The game is filled with witty repartee and memorable characters. Among these characters are MacGuffin's family, the shifty landlord/pawn shop owner Harvey, and a surly museum janitor named John. The best moments, however, come from the main character himself. MacGuffin is never at a loss for a clever remark or a cheesy pick-up line. By the end of the game, the sharp-witted thief proves himself to be one of the most delightful characters I've seen in a long time.

The core gameplay of MacGuffin's Curse involves solving puzzles. Nearly every door in the town of Feyre is locked, including the ones on the open streets. Unlocking these doors requires activating a switch by pushing a battery onto its proper slot. Only MacGuffin's werewolf form can push or pull objects, while MacGuffin's human form can swim, flip switches, and fit through narrow spaces. Many of these puzzles are simple to solve, to the point that putting the solutions together starts to feel slightly monotonous.

Later puzzles require MacGuffin to transform multiple times and it gets to the point that these puzzles become more time-consuming than challenging. One such puzzle needed to be solved in over a dozen steps, requiring me to flip multiple switches back and forth and go from door-to-door. Unfortunately, I pushed a steel crate (one that can only be pushed, but not pulled) against a wall. I found myself stuck and was forced to start over from scratch. These puzzles can be annoying to come across and, thankfully, are few in number.

That leads to a friendly feature that allows players to skip particularly difficult puzzles entirely through a dialogue option. Players in a rush to skip to the end of a long series of rooms will benefit from this, but I was slightly disappointed by how this removed any incentive to figure out solutions for myself. There is no consequence for repeatedly giving up. I started to feel like constantly having doors opened for me defeated the purpose of playing the game, especially since many puzzles offered a genuine challenge.

Once the main story is finished, MacGuffin's Curse offers a number of side missions. These often involve fetching something for one of the many characters that MacGuffin encounters. The side quests offer rewards in the form of money and comic strip pieces, which are pieced together to create an artful retelling of the main story. As nice as those rewards are, the side quests are just as amusing to play through simply for the new instances of dialogue that they bring up.

I nearly dismissed MacGuffin's Curse as a run-of-the-mill puzzle game, because of its conventional formula. However, I can't dismiss the allure of the game's story and its engaging characters. Even if I eventually grew tired of the puzzles, I never grew tired of MacGuffin, who was always good for a few laughs. Just try not to smile whenever he does his triumphant victory dance. It's irresistible! I'm hopeful that Brawsome will bring the roguish MacGuffin back for a future tale, but in the meantime, I'll be content with his whimsical smile and jocular quips in MacGuffin's Curse.


This MacGuffin's Curse review is based on a PC copy of the game provided by the developer.

Click here to comment...

Comments

1 Thread | 2 Comments