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Creator / ERS Game Studios

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ERS Game Studios (now called AMAX Interactive) is a Russian game developer known mainly for their works in the Hidden Object Game market. They started as a small company in 2006, creating simple games for everyone to enjoy. They became well known in October of 2009, when they released the first of the Puppetshow games, and have created Supernatural/Mystery-based games ever since. They are well known for their scenery, stories, and puzzles, and there's always something for everyone to enjoy.


    Game series 

Games developed by ERS Game Studios include:

  • Puppetshow
    • Mystery of Joyville
    • Souls of the Innocent
    • Lost Town
    • Return to Joyville
    • Destiny Undone
    • Lightning Strikes
    • The Price of Immortality
    • The Face of Humanity
    • Her Cruel Collection
    • Bloody Rosie

  • Dark Tales
    • Edgar Allan Poe's Murders in the Rue Morgue
    • Edgar Allan Poe's The Black Cat
    • Edgar Allan Poe's The Premature Burial
    • Edgar Allan Poe's The Gold Bug
    • Edgar Allan Poe's The Masque of the Red Death
    • Edgar Allan Poe's The Fall of the House of Usher
    • Edgar Allan Poe's The Mystery of Marie Roget
    • Edgar Allan Poe's The Tell-Tale Heart
    • Edgar Allan Poe's Metzengerstein
    • Edgar Allan Poe's The Raven
    • Edgar Allan Poe's Lenore
    • Edgar Allan Poe's Morella
    • Edgar Allan Poe's The Pit and the Pendulum
    • Edgar Allan Poe's The Oval Portrait
    • Edgar Allan Poe's Speaking With the Dead
    • Edgar Allan Poe's Ligeia
    • Edgar Allan Poe's The Bells
    • Edgar Allan Poe's The Devil in the Belfry

  • Redemption Cemetery
    • Curse of the Raven
    • Children's Plight
    • Grave Testimony
    • Salvation of the Lost
    • Bitter Frost
    • Island of the Lost
    • Clock of Fate
    • At Death's Door

  • Haunted Halls
    • Green Hill Sanitarium
    • Fears from Childhood
    • The Revenge of Dr. Blackmore
    • Nightmare Dwellers

  • Haunted Legends
    • The Queen of Spades
    • The Bronze Horseman
    • The Undertaker
    • The Curse of Vox
    • The Stone Guest
    • The Dark Wishes
    • The Secret of Life
    • The Iron Mask

  • Shadow Wolf Mysteries
    • Curse of the Full Moon
    • Bane of the Family
    • Cursed Wedding
    • Under the Crimson Moon
    • Tracks of Terror

  • Maestro
    • Music of Death
    • Notes of Life
    • Music From the Void
    • Dark Talent

  • Spirits Of Mystery
    • Amber Maiden
    • Song of the Phoenix
    • The Dark Minotaur
    • The Silver Arrow
    • Chains of Promise
    • Family of Lies

  • Grim Facade
    • Mystery of Venice
    • Sinister Obsessions
    • The Cost of Jealousy
    • A Wealth of Betrayal
    • The Artist and the Pretender
    • Hidden Sins
    • Monster in Disguise
    • The Red Cat
    • A Deadly Dowry (as AMAX Interactive)

  • Azada
    • Azada: In Libro
    • Azada: Elementa

  • Dark Alleys
    • Penumbra Motel

  • Gothic Fiction
    • Dark Saga

  • Twilight Phenomena
    • The Lodgers of House 13
    • Strange Menagerie
    • The Incredible Show

  • Reality Show
    • Fatal Shot

  • Phantasmat
    • Crucible Peak

  • Reveries
    • Sisterly Love
    • Soul Collector

  • Flights of Fancy
    • Two Doves

  • Queen's Tales
    • The Beast and the Nightingale
    • Sins of the Past

  • Forgotten Books
    • The Enchanted Crown

  • Ghosts of the Past
    • Bones of Meadow Town

  • Worlds Align
    • Beginning
    • Deadly Dream

Upcoming Games from AMAX Interactive:

  • Christmas Eve
    • The Secrets of Pandora's Box

  • Beyond the Unknown
    • The Golden Sarcophagus

Tropes Commonly Seen:

  • Author Appeal: If there's a game with a location in real life, chances are it's in Europe. Dark Tales and Puppetshow games post-Destiny Undone take place in France (although Dark Tales also has installments set in England, Hungary, and the United States), and Grim Facade has locations in Italy and Spain.
  • Bunnies for Cuteness: The mascot of ERS Game Studios.
  • Cute Kitten: Cats are frequently seen in the later games. To continue with the plot, you have to feed them fish or cream, dry them off, and play with them. In return, they'll let you take important inventory items and can even be used in puzzles.
    • Pluto, the title character from Dark Tales: The Black Cat, has become the mascot for that entire series. How cute he is may be up for debate.
  • Depending on the Artist: The majority of the games have openings done in either CG or are hand-drawn. Depending on the series, it will determine the game's atmosphere. For example:
    • Spirits of Mystery: Amber Maiden and Silver Arrow have hand-drawn graphics, while Song of the Phoenix and The Dark Minotaur are CG. The former are shown to be Lighter and Softer while the latter are Darker and Edgier.
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    • Dark Tales: Rue Morgue, Black Cat, House of Usher, and The Tell-Tale Heart have hand-drawn openings, while Premature Burial, Gold Bug, Masque of the Red Death, and House of Usher are all CG openings. This is the exact opposite of Spirits of Mystery. However, as of Marie Roget the openings are back to being hand-drawn.
    • Grim Facade: Only Sinister Obsessions is hand-drawn, while Mystery of Venice and Cost of Jealousy are CG. It follows the Dark Tales pattern.
    • Puppetshow: Mystery of Joyville, Souls of the Innocent, and Lost Town are hand-drawn, while Return to Joyville, Destinies Undone, and Steam Heart are CG. The Price Of Immortality is back to hand-drawn.
    • Twilight Phenomena: House 13 is CG while Strange Menagerie and The Incredible Show are hand-drawn. It follows Spirits of Mystery.
    • Redemption Cemetery: All but Salvation of the Lost and Island of the Lost are CG, following the Spirits of Mystery pattern.
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  • Early Installment Weirdness: Many of their hidden object games prior to Puppetshow.
  • Featureless Protagonist: Zig-zagged. In general, the player character in most of the games has no characteristics whatsoever, but there are instances where the player character's gender is specified or the player takes on the role of a usually female main character.
    • Queen's Tales: The Beast and Nightingale subverts this. The Framing Device is a queen telling her daughter how she married (the titular game) so we get a full glimpse of her present self.
    • Puppetshow: The Cost of Immortality lets you decide to be male or female with three avatars to choose from, while Puppetshow: The Faces of Humanity asks you which gender you are when signing in.
    • Haunted Legends: The Secret of Life averts this as you play as St. Germain, whose appearance before being cursed into the dwarf commonly seen throughout the games and turned evil is shown in at the start of the game.
    • Dark Tales has this all over the place, since in most of the games you don't get to see the avatar and the gender varies from one installment to the next.
  • Full Motion Video: Redemption Cemetery: Grave Testimony, Dark Alleys: Penumbra Motel and Gothic Fiction: Dark Saga are the only games so far to use live actors rather than the hand-drawn characters for which ERS is known.
  • Ghost Town: With few exceptions, most locations visited by the player character are completely empty of other people.
  • Hidden Object Game: The majority of their games.
  • Intercontinuity Crossover/Crisis Crossover: The Worlds Align series brings together Puppetshow, Haunted Legends, Shadow Wolf Mysteries, Redemption Cemetery, and Dark Tales. The player is pulled into the world of the games to help characters from several of the parallel universes stop a fiend who is trying to destroy them all.
  • Lighter and Softer: Spirits of Mystery, Flights of Fancy, Reveries, and Queen's Tales are brighter than the developer's usual fare.
  • Limited Special Collector's Ultimate Edition: Starting with Dark Tales: Edgar Allen Poe's Murders in Rue Morgue, all games have been given a Collector's Edition which come with bonus gameplay, screen savers, concept art, strategy guide and soundtracks.
  • No Fourth Wall: In the Worlds Align series, you literally play as yourself. The first game's opening, once you select your preferences for things like volume and difficulty, features Dupin shoving the menu out of the way and then offering his hand to pull you into the game world. Throughout the entire game, he and other characters speak directly to you, the player. This is also true of the second game, although it happens much less frequently.
  • No Name Given: The player character is never given a name. In most mystery based games, they're called 'Detective,' and Spirits of Mystery has you being called "Your Majesty" or "Princess". The only time this is averted is in Reveries: Sisterly Love, with the name "Anna", and Haunted Legends: The Secret of Life as "St. Germain".
    • It's also averted in Dark Tales: The Raven, although this is not revealed until the bonus chapter of the later game Morella. A newspaper article reveals that the player of The Raven is Anna Fleurs, Dupin's assistant from the now-defunct Nightfall Freemium game. (This further implies that Anna may also be the player character in some of the other games in the series, though as some of them have a clearly male player character, this can't always be the case.)
  • Non-Human Sidekick: Starting with Spirits of Mystery: The Dark Minotaur, the player character frequently gains partners that helped them out in various tasks. These include:
    • Spirits of Mystery: The Dark Minotaur: A collection of four animals: A red panda, a nightingale, a turtle and a cat who create items if you feed them.
    • Dark Tales: Edgar Allan Poe's The Gold Bug: Arthur, a Newfoundland who sniffs out clues.
    • Azada: Elementa: A fairy sidekick (although he only makes remarks on stuff that happens)
    • Puppetshow: Destiny Undone: A Doll with robotic spider legs to help reach hard to find places.
    • Twilight Phenomena: Strange Menagerie: A raccoon with a huge Sweet Tooth.
    • Flights of Fancy: Two Doves: A fairy who can use magic pollen to subdue animals.
    • Queen's Tales: The Beast and the Nightingale: A magic nightingale whose songs make plants grow.
    • Spirits of Mystery: Silver Arrow: Romas, a Lingbeast that can translate all types of animal languages.
    • Dark Tales: Edgar Allan Poe's Fall of the House of Usher: A spirit called "The Reborn One" who brings stone statues to life.
    • Dark Tales: Edgar Allan Poe's The Gold Bug: A Newfoundland named Arthur, who is exceptionally clever and can assist in the investigation.
  • Private Detective: In many of their series like Dark Tales, Haunted Legends, Shadow Wolf Mysteries, Grim Facade and Puppetshow.
  • Rule of Three: Prominent in their fantasy games. Azada takes the cake, especially in Elementa. To save Azada, the main character needs to save the guardians of the elements of air, fire and water (3 elements, 3 guards). To do so, they need to go and find the pieces of their amulets, which are three of each.
  • Samus Is a Girl: The player character is confirmed to be female in Haunted Halls, Spirits of Mystery, Gothic Fiction, Reveries, Flights of Fancy, Queen's Tales, and Redemption Cemetery: Bitter Frost (only confirmed in the beta when she has a voice). Some of the Dark Tales games also have a confirmed female player character, although in others he's male.
  • Scenery Porn: Their games are beautiful, but when their horror game settings get creepy, they get really creepy.
  • Short Title: Long, Elaborate Subtitle: Some of them fall into this.
  • Suddenly Voiced: The later Puppetshow, Haunted Halls, Haunted Legends and Dark Tales games were mostly silent until either their second or third installments.
    • Redemption Cemetery: Bitter Frost marks the first time the protagonist gets a voice, although this was removed in the beta. Grim Facade: A Wealth of Betrayal and Puppetshow: Steam Heart are the first ERS games to have the main character speak. The player character in Dark Tales: Morella also has a single spoken line.
  • Take Your Time: Generally played dead straight; no matter how long it actually takes to advance the plot, the player will always finish their tasks in time to save the day (albeit by a slim margin).
  • The X of Y: In many of their titles.
  • You Have to Burn the Web: Prominent in many of their games.

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