Long, Mundane Puzzler Saved by Writing
Download Size: 340 MB
Time Played: 4 hours 20 min
Game Completed: 46%
Manual Dexterity Required: None
What I'd Pay: $7
Steam Price (4/22/12): $5
MacGuffin's Curse has too much of a decent thing (puzzles), which gets in the way of enjoying the good stuff it has (writing). While the box-moving puzzles have a bit of a twist to them, the sheer number of them (150+) makes them feel monotonous. Meanwhile, I'm wishing I had to complete less of them to advance the story, which is a bit intriguing for a cheap puzzler.
You play Macguffin, a down-on-his-luck magician "persuaded" to steal an ancient amulet to pay his rent. Unfortunately, once he steals it, he's unable to take it off, and the theft sends the entire town into lockdown mode. To get out of each room, he has to push the battery onto the power tile to reactivate the doors, a job that's too heavy for his puny muscles. Fortunately (unfortunately?), the amulet lets him turn into a werewolf and back in moonlight. In werewolf form, he can push batteries & crates around, but has trouble opening doors, climbing through windows, and swimming. To get around easier (and manipulate the many control panels), he has to change back into human form. All of the puzzles involve you swapping between arranging a path in human form and moving boxes around in werewolf form.
The problem is that many of the puzzles are long and drawn-out. I spent 3-4 minutes on some of them just pushing crates into just the right position, then circling around to pull them from the other side, then circling back to push them again. On other puzzles, I had to cycle crates between pressure switches to finally open up a path for the battery. In many cases, it felt more like busywork than an actual puzzle.
Fortunately, the game has plenty of snarky writing to break up the monotony. The characters you meet along the way are all suitably weird and somewhat entertaining, and many rooms have several objects with little quips if you examine them. None of it's chuckleworthy, but a few of them brought a smirk to my face. The story itself is also interesting, with MacGuffin pining over a lost love and trying to gather evidence against the corrupt aristocrat that put him out of business.
I'm tempted to keep playing just to see how that unfolds, but the thought of going through another 4 hours & 70 puzzles just to reach the end is exhausting. If you like crate puzzles and snarky writing, you'll get your money's worth out of this game. If not, you'll probably want to pass on this one.