Kevin C. Wong

Apple Arcade - Creaks (2020) [+]

Creaks is a side-view puzzle game from Amanita Design who did the Samorost games among others and Creaks has that Amanita Design hand-drawn intricate graphics look. In this game you are a young man who finds a secret tunnel in his house and follows it across then down down down to a giant cavern wherein there is a tall intricate gothic looking building.

Each level is about a screen size, usually smaller, so there's not much scrolling. The basic gameplay is to get from beginning to end walking along horizontal paths, using ladders (sometimes jumping down small distances -- it won't let you fall to your death), flipping switches and avoiding creatures.

The big thing is avoiding creatures of which the first type is the mechanical dog. They move horizontally only and chase you if you get close. Lights are an important mechanic and if you turn on a light on a dog it turns into a dresser which you can move (though don't move it out of the light!) and climb on to reach a high ladder. Other creatures have different movement behaviors though they all turn into furniture when you light them (I think only the dogs turn into useful furniture, everything else is furniture you can move but otherwise can't climb on).

Meanwhile there is a bit of a story about three or four inhabitants fighting off this huge mechanical monster that is outside the mansion. You often see them a level below or above or through a crack in a bit of a cut scene. Eventually they see you and eventually you join forces to defeat the big monster.

This is a 20-hour game. There are many puzzles and some took a while to figure out but I never had to use a walkthrough. Graphics are impressive, game play is easy with touch or controller, and it has good background music that changes a bit. This was quite a fun game.