I’m going to put it out there. Uninvited is a crushingly hard game! I can’t recall another game that has made me fight so hard to achieve anything at all, only to find myself with no idea how to progress again immediately. At the end of my last post, I’d just removed (i.e. melted) the mysterious woman that was blocking my access to the rest of the house. As it turned out, the rest of the house is massive, meaning I’ve now got stacks more questions with very few answers, not to mention endless items that may or may not be useful. It’s daunting to say the least, and while any small successes I have are celebrated with fist pumps and outbursts of elation, the lengthy periods of failure and confusion that separate them are beginning to break my spirit. Am I giving up? No, not yet! But I am beginning to wonder what I’m going to do when I simply can’t complete a game, even if Uninvited is not the game that breaks me. Hopefully you guys will help me out! For now, let me describe to you my recent experiences and attempt to give you an idea as to why Uninvited is so brutally difficult.
Even fluffy, soft towels are deadly in this house
After Zenic made me aware that I’d missed a vital item (a gold amulet) on the first screen of the game (which you can never go back to), I started Uninvited again and set off more determined than ever to figure out its mysteries. It didn’t take me long to get back to where I was previously, since I’d already mapped every location I’d visited and hadn’t actually achieved very much. I then set about mapping the rest of the house and checking out all the items in each room, guessing as to which ones might have a role to play later on. One thing I did come across that I figured I could do something with was a spider on the veranda. I just so happened to have some spider spray in my inventory, which paralysed the arachnid, allowing me to carry it with me in a live state. Once I’d mapped every room I had access to, I set about re-reading the various books and parchments I’d collected to see if I could find some sort of hint about what I needed to do next. At this stage there were three rooms I couldn’t get access to (the Magisterium, the Chapel and a room off the study) and two locked cabinets (one in the rec room, another in the master bedroom), but everything else was accessible.
I did something! I actually did something!!! :) :)
Other than the book in the library that contains magic related definitions, the rest of the notes I had talked about an apprentice called Dracan, who had obviously gained too much power and become dangerous. One particular note mentioned that the house servant had stolen Dracan’s star, which I assume he required to do something with magic, and hidden it in a box that cannot be opened. Since this was the only note that seemed to contain a hint, I decided to follow it up. I looked through every room trying to find a “box that cannot be opened”, but couldn’t find anything other than the locked cabinets, which I couldn’t do anything with. I eventually figured that the small bedroom off the kitchen could belong to a servant and directed my attention there. After finding absolutely nothing of worth, I just happened to turn the light on. Now before I continue, I should mention that I’d already tried to turn the lights on in numerous rooms throughout the game, only to be informed that there doesn’t appear to be any power, so turning the lights on in the servant’s bedroom was done with no belief that anything would come of it. Well it turns out that turning the lights on makes an apparition of the servant appear in the room (don’t ask me why!), demanding to know who let me in there.
There's no power in the house except for the servants room. That makes sense!
This is one of those moments where the game gives you a glimmer of hope that you’re on the right path, and that things will start to become a bit more obvious soon. However, no matter what I tried to do with the servant, he would kill me instantly. I could see that a panel had moved behind him and that there was something in the wall behind where it used to be situated, but if I tried to move it to my inventory or even just examine it, the servant would kill me. Over the next period of time, I tried to figure out what it was that I could give to or use on the servant that might get him to allow me to get whatever the object was, but there was nothing obvious I could think of. I was then forced to use trial and error, otherwise known as click and hope, “operating” all sorts of items on him ranging from knives to axes and even matches, to no avail. Getting desperate, I used the paralysed spider on the servant, and he screamed and dissolved from view, apparently “flustered and frightened”. The game didn’t give me any information to make me think the servant might have arachnophobia, nor does this solution seem any more logical than using any other item in the mansion. It was just luck!
You know he's just as scared of you as you are of him
I’m not going to continue describing the game in this detail, but I hope the above has given you an idea as to why the game is so difficult. It’s hard enough that there are hundreds of items spread out over multitudes of rooms, and that most of these items play no part in solving the game, but it’s made stupendously challenging because the hints given to the player are simply not sufficient. You can’t really apply logic or clever thinking to these puzzles and instead have to rely on luck and an almost inhuman amount of patience. Remember how I mentioned in my last post that one of the notes hints that a chair knows where the missing key is located? Well, I’ve spent a lot of time with all the chairs in the house over the last few days, getting to know them, showering them with gifts and trying to loosen them up with alcohol, in the hope of getting this information out of one of them. The solution was to cut one of them open with a knife, as the key was hidden inside. Now that hardly follows on from the hint and as you can imagine, was figured out through frustration rather than any sort of brilliant intellectual thought. If the rest of the game is filled with these sorts of puzzles and solutions, then at some point my luck is likely to run out and I’m just going to get plain stuck.
"The chair knows where". Does it still know?
On top of all this (yes, I still have more things to whinge about!), just as in Déjà Vu, there is a time limit in which you are required to finish the game. Thankfully it’s much more generous than in Déjà Vu, but given how difficult Uninvited is, and how much time needs to be spent simply exploring, looking for clues, and trying out different possibilities, it seems an unnecessarily cruel element. My most recent save games have my character clinging to his sanity, trying to keep the demons out. I’m pretty much going to have to start again and rush through everything I’ve done to create a save game that will give me a chance of finishing the game, and will likely need to do this again at some point. Once I’ve done that, I just need to figure out how to get past the dogs at the chapel, where the diamond is that will give me access to the Magisterium, what gold and silver items are required to mix with the mercury to create a key (this is one of the hints I’ve found), what these stars actually do, and how to catch the annoying creature that constantly waves a key at me. Oh, and I haven’t found a use for the amulet that Zenic told me about either, or where and when I’m supposed to recite the magic words, if indeed that’s what they are.
You feel frustration. You feel discouraged. You feel a restart approaching.
If you’ve read this far, you’re probably getting the impression that I hate Uninvited. The truth is that it’s an intriguing game with a haunting atmosphere, and I really do want to finish it. I was looking forward to the horror themes prior to commencing and I guess it hasn’t really let me down on that front, apart from some inappropriate use of comedy killing the tone on occasion. The illogical solutions to barely perceptible puzzles are just making the whole experience unreasonably challenging. I’ve racked up five hours in total so far and since I committed to playing at least six hours on every game, Uninvited has at least one more hour to prove to me that it’s worth the effort, which brings me back to my earlier comment about what to do if and when I’m unable to get through a game on the list. I have a couple of ideas about how to deal with it, but would be interested to see what the readers think. For now, I’m going back in...
Here we go again...