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About the Story
Panic Mansion is a combination of a trivia game and an action-rpg. You must find your way through the Panic Mansion (like a panic room but a whole mansion) by completing quests, answering questions and defeating bosses at the end of each level.
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Number of Reviews: 3
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I'm not sure what to make of this.
It's a Twine-piece with almost no plot at all; the protagonist is described as a 'slacker' who flunked high school, but then we're told he just failed Physical Education. Doesn't really sound like a slacker in my opinion, but there you have it. A teacher offers to let the student graduate if he can 'solve' the puzzles in a panic home, which is revealed to be a mansion.
What's a panic home, you ask? I thought it would just be a locked down house, like a panic room, a sealed away room to retreat to, but it appears to be a house full of daughters who attack you after you answer random trivia questions. Top names in the US in 1900--longest national coastline after Canada--the title of a soap opera that ended in 1989 after 13 years of broadcasting--if you can see a common thread here, you've solved a deeper mystery than I could!
The lack of a plot or any other motivation makes this effectively a collection of random trivia questions, mostly all answered easily with a google search. The seemingly randomized battle sequences (click "attack" or "defend"--the right sequence will win) break what little flow is to be found in the trivia questions.
I'm not sure who this piece was intended for, or what the goal was; I didn't particularly enjoy it.
The plot of this game is obviously secondary. It's not even trying to be anything more than a pretext for the gameplay. Which would be fine, if the game were playable. The idea of combining a quiz format with RPG combat stages isn't inherently bad, but this game combines them in such a way as to make both of them less fun. The effect of the "boss fights" isn't so much to break up the monotony of the trivia game as to punish success by forcing you to repeat the questions after (almost inevitably) being defeated in a grindy link-mashing sequence.
That's the big picture. Zoom in on the details, and a different picture emerges--a much uglier picture. The battle mechanic boils down to a repeated choice between "Attack" and "Defend," a choice which has no actual discernible consequence that could lead you to develop a strategy. The fights are all unevenly matched against you, so you have you to replay each section over and over again until you get lucky.
None of that really matters though, because this is a trivia game. Just take the RPG and plot stuff as flavor or packaging, like balogna wrapped around a chocolate bar. Just gnaw your way through it to get to the good stuff, right?
Unfortunately, the trivia questions are the worst part of the game. They're the same every time you play, you're punished severely for wrong answers (you have to get every single question right), and some of the answers are flat out wrong.
All that being said, the overall structure of this game wouldn't be terrible for an educational flash-card kind of game. The questions would have to be replaced with something useful to learn, the order somewhat more randomized, and the questions in each stage would need to build logically on the previous stage. The mini-bosses could feel more like a reward than a punishment, if the player's strength in each fight depended on the number of questions correctly answered in that stage. The "attack/defend mechanic" is essentially meaningless, so it should just be thrown out. Why does there need to be any clicking at all? Just let the fights play out automatically on a timer.
This game is nothing special but it is different and for that reason I enjoyed it. The game is more about progressing and answering questions than a major storyline unfolding. It is nice that each level has a save option so you don't lose your place - you will need to use this function. Each level ends with a boss battle. At first I thought there was no difference in "attacking" and "defending" during the battles but as I got into the middle of the game I noticed each boss seemed to have a weakness and it was my job to exploit that by correcting determining if more success comes from attacking or defending. Just when I thought I was about to finish the game there were a few more levels, that can be a pleasant surprise or annoying depending on your perspective. It's a free game so give it a try.