Guise of the Wolf
Publisher: FUN Creators
Developer: FUN Creators
Release Date: 01/24/2014
Horror and adventure go hand in hand. As such, it’s no surprise that mixing werewolves with point-and-click gameplay is something that someone would want to do. However, there isn’t much point to the combination unless the framework is solid. The mix alone isn’t going to make your game good. I think that’s something that FUN Creators didn’t count on.
The story of this game starts off well alone. You play as a young alchemist on his way to manor out in the woods. Unfortunately, your carriage is attacked by a werewolf, leaving you infected with a terrible curse. Your task is simply to create a cure for yourself, while attempting to solve the mystery of how this whole business got started to begin with.
While the premise might be simple, the actual telling of it is atrocious. When you reach the castle, you’re an invited guest. You readily agree to help the lord by creating a potion to help control the werewolf and seem in his debt. Yet the only way to progress past that point is to steal from a guard and break into the dungeon. A prisoner refuses to let you help him out of his cell until you bring him an apple, a dead guard can spring back to life just to refuse your entry through a door, and main characters disappear until the ending. It’s head-scratchingly odd at best, and horribly written at worst.
As for the presentation, I’m actually OK with the poor man’s cell shaded graphics the game uses. Contrary to popular belief, graphics do not make the game. At least you’re able to tell what everything is. The voice acting is sub-standard to be sure, but the main characters are at least tolerable. The music is even kind of cool at points. However, the whole package is rife with bugs and glitches. For example, black seams can be seen throughout the architecture, faces distort, characters get caught in unseemly animation loops, your wolf arms get frozen in air, the sound of the wolf howl gets played on top of itself, etc. It’s just a complete mess. It takes a sub-par presentation and drags it down to completely terrible.
As an adventure game, it might seem like the controls here should be simple. It’s basic first-person movement. You use WASD to move, and the mouse to move the camera. You can run with shift, crouch with ctrl, and jump with shift. Items are added to your inventory, and you need merely click on them to activate them. So to open a locked door, you need to open the inventory, click on the key, and click on the door. It works fine for the most part.
However, the mechanics of the game are completely broken. For starters, you’ll get caught on everything in the environment. At one point, I needed to dash between a couple of pillars. The pillars were at least five feet apart, and I managed to get stuck on them. By this, I can only assume my character was more than five feet wide. Jumping was usually required to get unstuck. On top of that, stairs are bizarre. They kind of work like an icy slope. You’ll often slide backwards when you’re trying to climb them. There’s also this wonderful glitch with the treasure chests. One of your quests is to get enough gold to bribe a guard. The only way to do that is to pick the lock on various chests strewn throughout the castle. I encountered a couple of chests that wouldn’t unlock. This made it impossible for me to beat the game, at least until I lucked into one of them opening when I clicked on it. Another section had me attempting to hid from the werewolf. However, I could simply dash into a room, grab the item I needed, and let the wolf kill me. I’d re-spawn with item, and could skip the section entirely.
As this is an adventure game, the whole thing is quite linear. You simply can’t move forward until you do something the game wants you to do. If you try, your character will hit an invisible wall before a message pops up that “there is still something else”. During one scene, I needed to hide from the wolf. Naturally, my first instinct was to run out the door of the room I was in. That message popped up, which told me the game wanted me to do something else. Logic be damned.
Perhaps the biggest complaint I have about the game is that the objectives are often beyond vague. For example, I had to steal a key from a guard to get into the dungeon. That’s odd. I was told I needed to make a potion. It would make a hell of a lot more sense for me to dig through a library to find a recipe or even look for a place to brew said potion. However, all those doors were locked until I snuck into the dungeon. Another section had me looking for a way into the library. Somehow, I was supposed to figure out that jumping across the chandeliers in the chapel would lead to this.
While many games have a tutorial, I’m OK that this one does not. Instead, it offers up a help screen that tells you all of the controls. However, this screen neglects to inform you that you can crouch or pickpocket. You have to stumble upon that on your own or find someone in the real world to tell you. That’s just unacceptable.
There are few puzzles in the game, and what’s here is plain. It amounts to rotating some gears, pulling levers in the right sequence, and an honest to god game of memory. Each of them are contrived and make little sense. Who would design a castle so that the levers in front of each door opened up a completely different door in the other room?
Supposedly, there is stealth gameplay in Guise of the Wolf. What this really amounts to is picking pockets and hiding. To further break it down, you pick pockets by crouching behind a guard and click on him. If he sees you, you just don’t get the item. There’s no penalty and you can try again until you get it right. As for hiding, there are all of two section in the game where you need to hide from the wolf. You simply need to crouch under a table before time runs out. The wolf will lose you, apparently because wolves are idiots I guess.
OK. So the game is pretty bad so far. But you get to turn into a wolf! That has to be cool, right? Ha ha. You learn quite slowly. After a certain point in the game, you can turn into a wolf by stepping into glowing circles on the ground. Once in wolf form, you’ll stay that way until your moon meter runs out. You can refill it by finding more glowing circles, destroying moon altars, and by killing humans. The only reason you ever need to turn into a wolf is to break chains and barricades that block paths. You can make your way through the game without killing if you want, which sounds cool. However, the dead come back to life when you leave the area anyway. Guards are incapable of chasing you. They stand still and wait for you to walk near them. It’s bizarre. The control issues are still present as a wolf, and you’re unable to actually interact with things. It’s not fun and it’s actually detrimental to your advancement unless there’s a fence to smash in.
If you manage to avoid any of the game-breaking bugs, you can beat this game in two hours. There are two different endings you can unlock, but there’s no reason to bother. The bad ending isn’t really all that bad after all. Once you know where all of the items are located, you can breeze through this game in probably as little as an hour. That’s just pathetic.
Short Attention Span Summary
Guise of the Wolf is short, buggy, poorly written and ill-conceived. Not only is it not worth the fifteen bucks they’re charging for it, it’s not even worth a single dollar. This game is bad, and likely not even completed. Even if you’re a hardcore adventure fan or lupine aficionado, this is one time when you should just stay away.