When I saw the initial screenshots of 100 Stones Interactive‘s The Eyes of Ara, I was immediately transported back to my childhood. I grew up playing the Nancy Drew PC games and loved solving mysteries in their detailed 3D settings. The Eyes of Ara built on that familiarity and love, and ultimately delivers a thrilling puzzling gameplay experience.
The Eyes of Ara is your standard point and click puzzle adventure. And on the Nintendo Switch, this game can be played in two different ways: Handheld or in TV Mode. With Handheld Mode, you are touching the Switch’s screen for all of your gameplay. Likewise, with TV mode, the Joycons are utilized as the motion controls. Ultimately, I wished there was a way for me to use the TV mode controls while in Handheld mode. I wasn’t the biggest fan of getting my fingerprints all over my Switch’s screen.
In regards to puzzles, they range from simple to extremely complex. As you ascend each level in the mysterious castle, the puzzles grow in difficulty. This presents a satisfying yet opportunistically challenging feel. The puzzle design is also executed wonderfully as well. There is no better feeling than recalling the solution to a puzzle, being found in the book you stumbled upon in the other room.
In The Eyes of Ara, you never actually see the characters of the story. Instead, you find letters, notes, and logs that help tell the narrative of what happened to the residents of this mysterious castle. This method is called “Environmental Storytelling”, and the game exceeds at it. Likewise, the themes of science versus mysticism come into play through the various books and character entries. In exploring these complex themes, we also begin to see the underlying tensions between the characters in this title. I loved finding the life within The Eyes of Ara. As a gamer who appreciates narrative, the story was so interesting that I simply craved more. In the end, more slice of life snippets from the various characters would have made this game perfect for me.
The 3D settings are stunning in The Eyes of Ara. While there are no physical “human” characters in the game, the castle that the game takes place in is a character in itself. Each room is beautifully designed and lit, evoking an eerie yet curious feeling. Additionally, there are so many lovely details in every room, it was just as fun exploring the environments as it was solving the puzzles. In games like these, the visuals and setting design are crucial, and 100 Stones Interactive knocked it out of the park.
The Eyes of Ara is a challenging and delightful puzzle game that left me craving more every time I put it down. I cannot wait to see what further titles come from developers 100 Stones Interactive. If you’re someone who enjoys solving puzzles and mysteries, I highly recommend picking up The Eyes of Ara on the Switch today!
The Eyes of Ara is available now on the Nintendo Switch.
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