The Cari Mysteries – Grandfather’s Fortune [Hivemind Review]

Grandfather’s Fortune is a point-and-click game created by The Cari Mysteries in The Netherlands.

An old black and white photo album with the game's title overlayed, "Grandfather's Fortune: An unforgettable journey." In one of the photos is our teammate Joel.

Format

Style of Play:

  • Online native experience (can NOT be played IRL)
  • Play on demand
  • Point-and-click
  • Includes video segments

Who is it For?

  • Story seekers
  • Scenery snobs
  • Any experience level

Required Equipment: computer with internet connection

Recommended Team Size: 2-3

Play Time: about 90 minutes (no timer)

Price: €39.95 per team

Booking: purchase and play at your leisure

Description

We were on a quest to interpret our grandmother’s diary as a treasure map to our grandfather’s secret fortune. To do this, we pointed-and-clicked our way through several locations near their house. As we entered codes to solve puzzles, we received additional pages of the diary, revealing more about our grandparents’ lives and other areas to investigate.

The game included a shared inventory among all players as well as an embedded video chat. Players could explore the spaces freely apart from their teammates, but when someone entered a code or made certain discoveries, everyone’s focus was redirected to the relevant part of the environment.

A digital interface with an inventory at the bottom of the screen. In the main view is the front of an old brick home, number 73."

Joel Smileypeacefun Reaction

As a young family moves into their grandmother’s house, they find her diary that leads them on the hunt for a hidden mystery.

At its best, the game comes with a nice interface, a cute introduction video, and a great onramp to the experience. A video chat system is already integrated into the game. Besides the beautiful-looking 360-degree photos, one core mechanic of this game was simply brilliant.

At its worst, we found clues earlier than we were supposed to on multiple occasions, which threw off the game flow. In one instance, we accidentally skipped an entire chapter of the story. The photos sometimes took a long time to properly load. Lastly, there was too much reading for my liking.

If you look beyond the puzzle design flaws we encountered, you’ll experience a charming story of a family’s past and future.

Sarah Mendez’s Reaction

Grandfather’s Fortune had a lot of potential in many ways, but most of its shiny elements were marred by technological nuisances. I appreciated its efforts to go big, with an interwoven story, some intricate puzzles, voiced characters, and a few cinematic moments. The game also offered a unique, narratively appropriate mechanic for seeing things from a different perspective. This helped to build empathy for the characters, and the story developed some intrigue as the game progressed. I always felt on the edge of learning what I wanted to, so I was disappointed when many of my questions were left unanswered.

Unfortunately, an unreliable interface and laggy screen updates distracted us from the game’s best elements, making the experience feel like a bit of a slog even during our favorite passages. We were also frustrated by the game’s choice to steal our focus when a teammate made a new discovery. This seemed necessary because of the way the game revealed new story elements upon many discoveries, but it was disruptive and contributed to breaking the illusion of an otherwise immersive environment. Lastly, the embedded video chat had the same flakiness we’ve experienced with other games that use Jitsi, making an extraneous puzzle of how to get everyone’s audio to work at the same time (among other things).

Overall, this game has a strong heart, but at the price point, it’s hard to recommend it given the pervasive frustrations of playing it.

Matthew Stein’s Reaction

Grandfather’s Fortune told a touching story that just happened to lead to treasure. The game took place at a lovely country house, documented through beautiful 360-degree images. In each room of the house, we were treated to vivid details conveying the story and rich, diverse cultural legacy of the family that lived there. I especially appreciated the elegant implementation of a sort of time-travel mechanic that helped link past to present.

The puzzles in Grandfather’s Fortune were generally solid, with a range of exciting reveals that supported the narrative. However, some other interactions involved a bit too much pixel hunting, and we encountered occasional tech glitches while images re-rendered, which further compounded this problem. Disregarding this small handful of minorly frustrating moments, Grandfather’s Fortune was overall a polished and highly thoughtful work of puzzle-driven storytelling.

Disclosure: The Cari Mysteries provided the Hivemind reviewers with a complimentary play.

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