PC

  News 
  Reviews
  Previews
  Hardware
  Interviews
  All Features

Areas

  3DS
  Android
  iPad
  iPhone
  Mac
  PC
  PlayStation 3
  PlayStation 4
  Switch
  Vita
  Wii U
  Xbox 360
  Xbox One
  Media
  Archives
  Search
  Contests

 

Abandoned: Chestnut Lodge Asylum

Score: 50%
ESRB: Not Rated
Publisher: Trisynergy
Developer: Lazy Turtle Games
Media: Download/1
Players: 1
Genre: Puzzle (Hidden Object)/ Puzzle/ Adventure

Graphics & Sound:

Abandoned: Chestnut Lodge Asylum is an eerie Hidden Object Adventure game that takes the main character to the Chestnut Lodge Asylum, following a series of disturbing nightmares. A recent news story about the asylum and the death of a young boy there spurs the player to find out what happened and it is here that the story opens.

The aesthetic of Abandoned: Chestnut Lodge Asylum is creepy, to be sure. The asylum is decrepit and has fallen into great disrepair, although you will still run into a couple of people while you are there, for some odd reason. A parched policeman and a frantic little boy are the only living people you interact with and they look pretty good and have competent voice acting. Many times in casual games, the voice acting can be incredibly overdone, but I found it to be fairly believable in Abandoned: Chestnut Lodge Asylum, although sparse.

Abandoned: Chestnut Lodge Asylum evolves into a story about phobias and the poor patients at the asylum. If you are afraid of clowns or creepy dolls la Chucky, you'll see some disturbing imagery here. Achievements are earned when you spot a morphing object in an area - a picture that looks normal, then transforms into something weird, or even just objects that appear to be different. Keep your eyes peeled for these.

In the Hidden Object Scenes, items are well drawn and represent the name listed (except when there are spelling errors or weird translations of object names - more on that later), but there are times when a fly is the same size as a basketball or something similarly sized. Even if the larger object is in the distance, the Hidden Object Scenes are restricted to a small area, so it is more a matter of tricky sizing. On the flip side, if the fly were actual size, you'd never find it because of the lack of a zoom feature.


Gameplay:

Abandoned: Chestnut Lodge Asylum has you working your way through an abandoned insane asylum and its surrounding grounds. You'll need to pick up and interact with objects you find in the environment, along with objects obtained in completing Hidden Object Scenes. You will pick up items and hold them in your inventory for quite a while before using them and the game is much more Hidden Object Adventure than Puzzle, as there are only a few puzzles to solve along the way.

The Hidden Object Scenes are designated by a sparkling area, and clicking on them results in a zoomed-in locale with a list of items you must pick up. Some items are in blue, designating that something must be done to complete the item, such as placing a lid on a teapot, or slicing a piece of fruit. I found that the deeper I got into the game, the fewer special items there were, which was fine with me, as some weren't obvious and I simply scanned the area with my cursor waiting to see if it changed into a gear or a hand, indicating whether it could be picked up and moved, or was awaiting the other piece before completion. Often, the item names would be strange and perhaps this is due to a language misinterpretation, but things like "yarn with spokes" may be confusing when you need to be looking for a ball of yarn with knitting needles. And don't get me started on the scene where I was supposed to find a "Hummer," which actually turned out to be a Hammer. I was confused, to say the least. Typos like that are a real problem in the item list for a Hidden Object Scene, but they can be funny and sad when they just show up in the context of gameplay. For instance, when I found a murder victim, the text said "Holly crap!" which sounds much more like ugly Christmas decorations than the frightened expletive it was meant to be. However, when mistakes or bugs interfere with your progress in the game, then it becomes a real game-killer. More on that in Game Mechanics.


Difficulty:

Abandoned: Chestnut Lodge Asylum has two modes of difficulty: Casual Mode and Expert Mode. Casual Mode has your Hint recharge at a pretty quick pace and is designed for beginners to the HO/Adventure game genre. Expert Mode has your Hint button recharge much slower and most Hints aren't available. Although I have played many Hidden Object Adventure games, I played on Casual to get through the game at a quicker pace for review purposes. That being said, I found the Hint button to be pretty much worthless in most situations and found there to be so many fetch quests as to be difficult to figure out where to go at any given time. A map would have greatly helped Abandoned: Chestnut Lodge Asylum, but there isn't one. Also, clicking the Hint button will sometimes point to something that doesn't make any sense, instead of pointing you in the direction you need to go.

Overall, I found Abandoned: Chestnut Lodge Asylum more frustrating and tedious than difficult, not to mention all of the bugs I experienced that eventually rendered the game unable to be beaten. Talk about a letdown. All of that slogging through the game only to never be able to complete it unless I start over at the beginning.


Game Mechanics:

Abandoned: Chestnut Lodge Asylum is a basic point and click Hidden Object Adventure and your controls don't get any more diverse than that. However, there is no zoom feature available in the Hidden Object scenes, as earlier mentioned, so that can make it tougher to spot certain items. I did find that I got used to the lack of a zoom feature pretty quickly, though.

Puzzles are basic Adventure game fare and include varieties on sliding tiles, color swapping, pressure setting, and one where you must carry a key along a wire, not letting it touch, Operation style. Some were fun, some were tedious, and some were forgettable.

Unfortunately, insurmountable problems lie throughout Abandoned: Chestnut Lodge Asylum. For starters, there were numerous times when I saved the game through the Main Menu by selecting Quit, only to return to it later to find it had lost several scenes' worth of progress and I had to figure out what I needed to redo. This happened so often that I took to simply leaving the game on in the background as I approached the end of the game. Sadly, the final chapter has you defusing a bomb. While I was in this chapter, I found the bomb, then ended up going out to dinner, leaving the game running. Honestly, I forgot the bomb was ticking and only remembered it while I was out at dinner, figuring I would have some parts to replay when I got back. That was my fault for not saving and closing out the game (which probably would have resulted in several lost screens of progress, I guess). However, when I got home, not only had the game closed itself out, along with Steam, but when I went back into the game, I was set back several steps in a Hidden Object Scene requiring me to find the "Hummer," I mean Hammer, only it wasn't in the list. Huh??? I found all of the objects on the list and got the message you'll see in the screenshot. I acquired the object "%s" which does nothing and is an error in the coding of the game. I exited the HO Scene, only to go back, with all of the objects I had previously collected now gone, and a new list in sight, still with no Hammer (since I had already previously picked it up before the game crashed on me). I repeated this process until the final time when only two items remained. At this point, I can't beat the game without initiating a completely new game and there's no way I would do that. There were also several times when the collision detection was off and I was unable to pick up an item, then all of a sudden, I hit the magic spot that let me pick it up.

Even if the bugs were fixed in Abandoned: Chestnut Lodge Asylum, I just felt directionless most of the time and even resorted to using a walkthrough, out of frustration. I can't recommend this game to anyone without a serious patch, since it is quite simply broken, and even then it isn't unique enough to make me want to play it again to see the end.


-Psibabe, GameVortex Communications
AKA Ashley Perkins

Minimum System Requirements:



OS: XP, Vista, 7, 8, Processor: 2 GHz, Memory: 1024 MB RAM, DirectX: Version 6.0, Hard Drive: 269 MB available space
 

Test System:



Windows 7, 2 GHz AMD Phenom 9500 Quad-Core Processor, 8GB RAM, Realtek High Definition Audio On-Board Sound, NVIDIA GeForce 8300

Related Links:



Microsoft Xbox One RIDE Windows Minecraft: Story Mode: Episode 1 - The Order of the Stone

 
Game Vortex :: PSIllustrated