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The Guest (PC) artwork

The Guest (PC) review

"A short stay"

The Guest wastes no time. You begin this point-and-click adventure by rolling out of bed while pushing through a heavy grog. It's 4:23 AM, and someone's knocking on your hotel room door. You might be reluctant to open it, though, because the heavy, repeated thuds sound ominous. You go to answer the raps and notice the door knob is missing. Of course, you jump to the most drastic conclusion: someone wants you dead! You then respond to your imminent execution by scouring the room for event items and newspaper clippings.

Now that you're fully awake, you can appreciate The Guest's presentation. Corners of the room remain in pitch blackness. Objects hiding in the shadows stand out just enough to be noticeable, but not enough for you to deliver a thorough examination of your surroundings. After you flip a few switches, soft glows illuminate the vicinity perfectly. Crisp, detailed visuals allow you to make out which objects are interactive and which are merely decoration. Your digs are sharp, too, and not plagued by jaggies or blurred edges.

Older point-and-clicks love to bury event items beneath thick layers of junk, leading to long sessions where you push useless objects aside or click on everything in an attempt to accidentally uncover a lead. However, The Guest doesn't want you to engage in such asinine tasks. Instead, it invites you to collect what you need and move on expediently. After you examine the room, you'll easily amass an assortment of event items and clues that will aid you in later challenges. I'd wager it won't take most players long to figure out how to open the door and advance to the next scene, thanks to the game's slimmed down rummaging.

Before you know it, you open the problematic door and things get weird. The protagonist, Dr. Leonov, apparently suffers from extreme anxiety and hallucinations. When you flip the switch in the next room, a bright blue flash blinds you. Ghostly writing manifests everywhere while a crackling radio broadcasts a couple of broken sentences in a nonstop loop. Even after you pop a couple of pills and eliminate the hallucinations, the radio continues to drone in a deep, emotionless voice. That's also about the time you notice you're in an empty bathroom, wondering who (or what) was causing that racket...

The situation evolves from peculiar to spooky and continues to worsen from there. As you rifle through stacks of documents, you locate newspaper stories about a woman who mysteriously vanished. In fact, her circumstances sound a lot like your own. The more you read, the more you realize you need to find or create an exit.

The Guest is not purely a horror game. All the same, it does a wonderful job of instilling a sense of paranoia and fear through lighting, sound effects and arbitrarily deposited news stories. It gets your gears turning and you start to develop conspiracies, wondering who would toy with you so and why. The Guest doesn't outright terrorize you; it provides you with the mental tools to do that to yourself.

The game also features a fair variety of riddles, with little downtime between them. After opening the first door, you stumble into a couple of additional puzzles. From there, you waltz into a parlor brimming with similar challenges. One has you combine three items to make what appears to be an extraterrestrial artifact that you must place on a mount. To solve this segment, you must move all of the doodad's individual parts to create a specific design, which requires you to analyze every dot and line on all of the artifact's components. Later on, you use a globe and a boarding pass to crack a code, plus locate solutions to a colored light bulb riddle by switching off certain overhead lights and examining nearby walls for glow-in-the-dark diagrams.

Unfortunately, the puzzles can't all be winners. The Guest features one unoriginal challenge that crops up often in modern games. You start with three valves, all of which must be positioned just right. However, turning a valve one space also moves another one multiple spaces. Yeah, I can hear some of you groaning, and I empathize with you. Though I can handle these nuisances, there are many who absolutely cannot do so without frothing at the mouth. After reading some comments online, I concluded that puzzles like these elicit one of two responses: mild grunts of disapproval and, hatred so intense that it could drive a player to serial arson. In any case, puzzles of this nature are hackneyed and bothersome, and I have no idea why developers insist on utilizing them.

I wish I could say I loved The Guest, but its fleeting experience left me underwhelmed. After I pushed through three to four hours of point-and-click trials, the credits rolled and I was left with a sad, empty sensation in my gut. Merely six rooms and a simple maze within a dream blazed by me, and I fancied more content. I know it sounds greedy, but what little material The Guest offered also lies in multiple, superior adventure games.

The main issue is that the puzzles you encounter are not unique or especially challenging, despite their entertainment value. We've seen other iterations of them in numerous adventure titles, where they presented healthier challenges. Unlike other point-and-clicks I've played, I was able to breeze through The Guest in a single sitting, without using a guide. Bear in mind that I am by no means a genius when it comes to this genre.

The Guest arrives, stays for a quick drink and departs. It neither overstays its welcome nor leaves you with a sense of fulfillment. I reached the campaign's conclusion desiring more of what its developer had to offer. The team crafted a decently enjoyable diversion, but barely showed me any significant material. Ultimately, The Guest earns a tiny recommendation from me. I'm not telling you to race out and pick it up immediately, but I am letting you know that if you like eerie adventures, the game should pass an afternoon for you. Sadly, due to its lack of content, I've little choice but to offer a light endorsement rather than an enthusiastic blessing.


JoeTheDestroyer's avatar
Staff review by Joseph Shaffer (August 06, 2017)

Rumor has it that Joe is not actually a man, but a machine that likes video games, horror movies, and long walks on the beach. His/Its first contribution to HonestGamers was a review of Breath of Fire III.

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hastypixels posted August 18, 2017:

My favorite line: "After reading some comments online, I concluded that puzzles like these elicit one of two responses: mild grunts of disapproval and, hatred so intense that it could drive a player to serial arson."

I always enjoy your casual-and-competent writing style.
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JoeTheDestroyer posted August 18, 2017:

Thank you! I'm glad you enjoyed it.

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