The Crow’s Eye
Gameplay 8
Graphics 7
Sound 8

The Crow’s Eye might not be a jump-scare laden horror title like it first appears to be, but instead offers a compelling and interesting puzzle experience. The story is a more involved than it seems and if you stick with it you’ll also find that there is more to the university than what you might think. There is no doubt that the puzzles sometimes feel a little out of place for the setting and time period of the game, but solving them is a very rewarding experience. Ultimately this game won’t give horror junkies the frights they crave, but if you enjoy a good story and love solving puzzles then you’ve come to the right place.

Gameplay: Light on the scares, but heavy on the puzzle solving and platforming.

Graphics: Nothing cutting edge, but sets the mood nicely.

Sound: Decent voice acting and a great soundtrack

Summary 7.7 Great
Gameplay 0
Graphics 0
Sound 0
Summary rating from user's marks. You can set own marks for this article - just click on stars above and press "Accept".
Accept
Summary 0.0 Terrible

The Crow’s Eye

Developer: 3D2 Entertainment | Publisher: Nkidu Games Inc. | Release Date: 2017 | Genre: Adventure / Indie | Website: Official Website | Purchase: Steam

When four students of the Medical University of Crowswood disappear under mysterious circumstances the authorities are called in to investigate. Unfortunately, instead of answers more people go missing, including policemen and faculty members. The university is promptly shut down and the case is considered closed. This all takes place in 1947, but nearly twenty years later a young man wakes up in the abandoned university only to find that he is now an unwilling participant in some twisted experiment. Although seemingly derelict, the university actually hides plenty of dark secrets, many of which you will uncover as you attempt to guide your unnamed character to freedom. However, escape is anything but easy with a mad scientist pulling the strings behind the curtains and an entire university full of puzzles and obstacles to navigate.

The Crow’s Eye is the debut title from a small indie team and they certainly aimed big. While at first glance it appears to be yet another creepy horror title, once you settle in to The Crow’s Eye you’ll find that its focus is actually on exploration and puzzle solving. Things certainly start out creepy enough and the abandoned university makes for a rather moody backdrop. However, apart from one or two jump-scares, the majority of your time is spent navigating tricky obstacles and solving the puzzles that lead you deeper into the bowels of the university. There are no creatures to battle, no monsters to hide from and no weapons to hoard. What this means is that you can get on with the job of finding out who you are, why you are being toyed with by an obviously mad scientist, and what you need to do to get the hell out of dodge.

The Crow’s Eye is viewed from a first person perspective and once you get over the initial anticipation of it being a horror title, the real influences become much clearer. The game definitely draws some inspiration from the Bioshock series for its visual design, while the Portal titles had an impact on the gameplay. The game runs on the Unity 5 engine, so while the overall design is quite good, the visuals aren’t quite up there with the big titles. Of course, this is not the work of a huge studio, but a small indie team, so we think they did a pretty good job considering their limited resources. While the game is not going to dazzle anyone expecting flawless graphics, it does provide a variety of interesting environments and a compelling setting.

The Bioshock influences are most obvious in the audio recordings that can be found scattered throughout the university. Listening to these will enable you to begin piecing together the fragments of the story as well as the people who plays a major role in it. Despite its state of disrepair, the university still has a working PA system, which is regularly abused by your nemesis to taunt you about your predicament. We would have preferred him to sound a little less like a comic book villain, but overall the standard of the voice acting in the game is rather good.

The lead character remains completely silent throughout, which makes all the PA announcements and radio conversations a little one-sided, but the game certainly doesn’t skimp on story. In fact, you’ll find numerous notes and letters as well that all shed more light on what really occurred within the halls of the facility. Sound effects are sparse, but well done, while the soundtrack is varied and very good. The soundtrack is actually available as a separate DLC purchase on Steam and with 33 tracks makes for some nice listening outside the game.

Initially you make your way through dark environments with nothing more than a flickering lighter to provide some illumination, but once you construct an electromagnetic device everything chances. Not only does it double as a flashlight, but also grants you abilities that would feel right at him in a Portal game. We don’t want to ruin any surprises, but suffice to say that with this device, it becomes a little more thrilling to navigate certain platform sections. Speaking of platforming, if you are not a fan of precision jumping in first person then this game is not going to win you over. While there might not be any enemies that can really harm you, slipping off a platform and tumbling into the darkness below can be fatal. This would explain why your character has a health bar, but the good news is that falling doesn’t necessarily mean you have to reload. Instead, you’ll lose some health and be deposited on the nearest bit of solid footing you touched before you had your spill. If you do run out of health then it’s back to the last save spot. Seeing as you can’t save at any time, but have to make use of dedicated spots that are spread around rather sparsely, this is something you’ll probably want to avoid.

Platforming jumping in first person does have its challenges, especially as you cannot see your feet in this game, but the odds aren’t completely stacked against you. In addition to your gravity defying gadget, you also have a crosshair to help you aim. You’ll soon also gain access to a recharging “adrenaline meter” that slows down time and increases your jumping distances when activated. These certainly help ease the pain a little, but unless you are really good there are probably a few sections you’ll end up having to repeat if you are not careful. The game also features quite a bit of backtracking, but this at least gives you the opportunity to find all the letters, notes and audio recordings. You’ll also want to keep an eye out for the crafting materials as well. These consist mostly of tape, cloth, ink, nails and other items used to craft bandages, maps and lockpicks. Strangely enough, the bandages are rather redundant as the only way to take any damage is from falling into voids. We are not exactly experts at first person platforming, but managed to complete the game with tons of bandages to spare. Likewise, you need to gather three items to create one lockpick, but the lock pick mini-game is only used three times in the entire adventure.

Overall The Crow’s Eye is quite an enjoyable game and quite impressive considering it is a debut release from a small indie team. We can’t deny however that the creepy setting sometimes feels very at odds with the puzzle based gameplay. Everything makes sense eventually, but horror fans will probably end up disappointed by the lack of scares while puzzle fans might be scared off by the seemingly creepy environments. The fact that first person platforming features so heavily in the game might also deter some players from trying it out. This would be a pity though as while the game might not be perfect it is quite captivating and it kept drawing us in deeper and deeper. Unless you absolutely cannot stand jumping around in first person we recommend giving The Crow’s Eye a shot. Just be sure to stick with it as you won’t experience everything it has to offer if you judge it too soon.

System Requirements

  • OS: Windows 7 or Higher (32-bit or higher)
  • Processor: Intel Core i3 or equivalent
  • Memory: 4 GB RAM
  • Graphics: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 460 or equivalent
  • DirectX: Version 9.0
  • Storage: 3 GB available space
  • OS: Windows 7 or Higher (32-bit or higher)
  • Processor: Intel Core i5 or better
  • Memory: 6 GB RAM
  • Graphics: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 750 or better
  • DirectX: Version 9.0
  • Storage: 3 GB available space

Related posts

OutRun 2006: Coast 2 Coast

OutRun 2006: Coast 2 Coast

Very playable and quite addictive in short bursts but ultimately becomes very repetitive and probably a title that's more suited to portable systems. Still there's fun to be had especially if you remember the original Outrun. Gameplay: Fun... in short bursts. Graphics: Not exactly cutting edge for this day and age but still good. Sound: Nice if you remember the original games.

Moebius: Empire Rising

Moebius: Empire Rising

There is no doubt that Moebius: Empire Rising is not going to be a game that everyone will enjoy. The lead character alone will probably rub most people the wrong way and the character models are also far from cutting edge. Despite this it has a very interesting storyline and if you get hooked you will definitely want to see it through to the end. I enjoyed my time with Moebius and would absolutely love to see a sequel that fleshes out the story even more. Gameplay: Easy puzzles make the game accessible to newcomers and it is entertaining despite some flaws. Graphics: Nice backgrounds but the character models and animation let things down a bit. Sound: Good voice acting and an absolutely brilliant soundtrack.

Penumbra: Black Plague

Penumbra: Black Plague

Black Plague focusses on the best parts of the original game (the creepy atmosphere and physics based puzzles) while trimming the worst parts (the combat) making it a better experience overall. Playing the original is still required to make the most out of it and it is a little on the short side but it made me jump quite a few times which is commendable. Gameplay: Removing combat ramps up the atmosphere considerably. Graphics: Better looking and featuring more detail than the original. Sound: Solid voice acting and lots of creepy ambience.

Bad Hotel

Bad Hotel

Bad Hotel is a iOS port and while at first glance it might not seem like much to look at it does have a certain charm to it. The unique gameplay lends itself perfectly to quick bouts of playing, but the game can also become horribly addictive. The generative audio is also a nice touch, although at times the tunes can sound a bit wonky. The game is sold at a bargain price so it is well worth checking out for yourself. Gameplay: Fast, frantic and surprisingly addictive. Graphics: Simple but charming. Sound: The audio depends on your playing style.

The Last Dream: Developer’s Edition

The Last Dream: Developer's Edition

The Last Dream is a surreal adventure featuring a man pursuing the ghost of his wife. The game features a unique blend of hand drawn locations and live action cut-scenes while offering mini-games as well as fragmented object scenes to complete. Multiple difficulty settings make this a great title for players of all skill levels and the story, while not very original, is quite engaging. For fans of the genre and players looking for something a bit more unique than a pure hidden object game this title is easy to recommend. Gameplay: A nice blend of classic point & click adventuring, mini-games and fragmented object scenes. Graphics: The hand drawn visuals look great and the game even features live action cut-scenes. Sound: Decent voice acting and appropriate music.

KickBeat Steam Edition

KickBeat Steam Edition

I have played many Rhythm action games over the years and KickBeat is definitely one that is as entertaining to watch as it is to play. Defeating opponents to the beat of the music is exhilarating stuff and it is made even better by the smooth animations. If you tire of the included music you can also import your own giving this game a lot of replay value. Gameplay: A unique take on the Rhythm action genre. Graphics: The visuals have been enhanced for the Steam release and look better than ever. Sound: Six new tracks boost the complete list to a total of 24 tunes.

Leave a comment

5 × five =