The 7th Guest in Review – If it were not for guests all houses would be graves… and some still are…

In the 90′s adventure games came to a crossroad. On one hand there were the golden age point-and-click adventure games that defined the genre. But a new subgenre, born with the arrival of CDs, was gaining more and more traction. I’m talking, of course, about the first person Myst-like games with heavy usage of FMV cutscenes to convey the story. And of the most well-known, as well as having the distinction of being the first game that came exclusively on CDs, was The 7th Guest.

The 7th Guest is one of the originators of the whole puzzle-centric adventure subgenre. Old Man Stauf has for the longest time been a bum, preying on an occasional victim or two. Until one day he had a dream, a dream of a beautiful doll. Long story short, Stauf quickly became a well-known maker of toys, all of which came to him in his dreams. And one day 6 strangers got an invitation to visit his remote home. Upon arriving, they were greeted with a gruesome offer – all of their wishes fulfilled, but only one would leave the house alive.

The 7th Guest puts you in control of a nameless being, known only as Ego. You explore the house, haunted by the ghosts of the guests which were never seen again and try to unravel its mysteries. The events are portrayed using Full Motion Video cutscenes of ghosts, re-enacting the events that happened all those years ago. As you solve the puzzles scattered throughout the mansion, new rooms are opened up, until finally, you’ll find out what Stauf has been up to.

The 7th Guest is completely puzzle-centric, with none of that inventory nonsense to manage. A series’ trademark – none of the puzzles’ rules are ever explained, requiring you instead to bend your mind around the developers’ devious logic. Once you do work them out, however, most are rather straightforward. And if you find yourself completely stuck you can always visit the library, where a book will offer hints.

For any port of a PC title, a big question is always whether the developers do a good job with the controls. Unfortunately I can’t say The 7th Guest is a model in this respect. The game seemed to be quite well adapted for the touchscreen from the get-go and the developers tried to embrace the full-touch interface. You can touch a spot to activate it or tap-and-hold to show a cursor that you can drag around and see the active areas. Why the developers couldn’t just highlight all the hotspots is a mystery to me. And the menu is a pain to operate, using the same interface as the rest of the game.

The graphics are a direct port from the PC version and are a mix of prerendered backgrounds (which look quite nice) and Full-Motion Video figures superimposed upon them (which unfortunately suffer from rather poor compression quality). Both the music and voiceovers are great and very atmospheric, though subtitles are sadly missing.

The 7th Guest definitely deserves all of the awards it received when originally released for the PC. The great writing, original concept and devious puzzles made it cult classic long before the iPhone was ever conceived. I can’t say it survived the transfer to the App Store perfectly, but once you get to grips with the control scheme and the sometimes obscure puzzle rules, it presents an amazing opportunity to experience the legendary adventure. And if the developers polish up the controls a bit, add some more user-friendly hints and subtitles, The 7th Guest will join the ranks of some of the top adventure games on the iDevice.

With this I declare The 7th Guest officially touched!

App Summary
Title: The 7th GuestDeveloper: Trilobyte Games, LLC.
Reviewed Ver:7.1Min OS Req:4.0
Price:$2.99App Size:623.46MB
  • Very atmospheric
  • Great puzzles
  • Classic gameplay
  • Excellent writing
  • Somewhat cumbersome controls
  • Not very good FMV quality
  • No subtitles

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