Mystery of Mortlake Mansion is a fantasy horror-themed casual adventure game developed by Stella Games and published by Playrix Entertainment in 2010.
The game opens with the protagonist receiving a letter, sent by someone identified only as "R", telling them that their life is in danger, and urgently summoning them to the titular mansion. Once inside, the protagonist seeks "R", discovering several of his diary entries, and quickly learning that the mansion exists both in the real world and a dark, magical dimension - the realm of an evil magician.
The game is available from Playrix here.
This game provides examples of:
- Alien Geometries: The shadowy mansion's rooms are similar to their real-world counterparts - in general layout, if not in appearance - but are connected completely differently. When playing the game on the easier mode, there are two distinct maps provided, for both the real and alternate mansion layouts. Other weirdness abounds - objects float in mid-air, planets can be picked up when viewing them through a telescope, and entire galaxies exist in glass spheres sitting on a desk.
- Alien Sky: Visible through most Portal Pictures in the shadowy mansion.
- Apocalyptic Log: "R's" diary, documenting his discovery of the mansion's magic and his gain, and subsequent loss, of its powers.
- Batman Gambit: Everything the protagonist does is because he/she is an Unwitting Pawn. However, the Big Bad clearly didn't expect to be blindsided by a vengeful "R".
- Big Bad: Occasionally pops up to taunt you, and turns out to be Cagliostro, not "R" as assumed by the protagonist.
- Big Fancy House: The mansion, while not especially big, is quite fancy (or at least was). However, it has only one bedroom (two if you include the nursery) - perhaps guests stayed in the shadowy bedroom...
- Black Magic: Wielded by the magician, naturally, although this being a casual game, it's used to create magical obstacles rather than for anything directly harmful.
- Campbell Country: Implied to be the location of Mortlake Mansion (both the male and female protagonists have English accents).
- Cel Shading: The game's stylised graphics resemble a mix between this and oil painting.
- Closed Circle: Notwithstanding any compulsion to solve the mystery, the protagonist is trapped in the mansion ostensibly because the front door slammed shut behind them. However, at no point do they attempt anything outlandish such as, say, opening one of the mansion's many windows. At one point, when looking out of an upper-floor window, he/she remarks that it's too high to jump. One would think that they could at least try leaving that way, given that the outside of the mansion is covered in a climbing plant, there's a ladder in the library etc...
- Color-Coded for Your Convenience: The real world has a gentle beige/brown theme, whilst the alternate world is ominously dark and moody, with lots of glowing green. Objects collected in each world also reflect this colour scheme.
- Cue the Sun: When the evil has been defeated, the world becomes much more cheery, along with the mansion returning to its former splendour.
- Dual-World Gameplay: The shadowy mansion is very much a parallel of the real-world one, with the protagonist spending roughly equal amounts of time in each world.
- Eldritch Location/Dark World/Mirror World: The alternate reality - the "seamy" side, as described in-game, with its dark-'n'-glowy colour scheme, bizarre physics, and strange creatures drifting around. The shadowland credentials are further reinforced by the names of its rooms being "Shadowy <room>".
- Evil Plan: Cagliostro wants to break out into the real world, seemingly trapped in the alternate dimension until he has control of the power in the alternate mansion's central chamber. He cannot do this without the protagonist's help.
- Gender Flip: The protagonist's gender can be chosen at the start of the game, which changes the voice acting. This has no effect on the plot, however.
- Glowing Eyes of Doom: These are all we see of the magician's face. It's probably better that way.
- Hero of Another Story: The raven appears to be this, because he always seems to be rushing to/from other events, and is the one who ultimately defeats Cagliostro.
- In the Hood: Complements the magician's glowing eyes.
- It Must Be Mine!: "R's" motivation for seeking out the mansion's magic, and what brought him there in the first place.
- Late to the Party: Implied at the start of the game. The protagonist notes that "R's" letter was sent in 1963, which comes as a surprise to him/her (the implication being that the game is set in the present day, or at least some years after the letter was sent).
- Lovecraft Lite: This being a casual game, the Eldritch Location of the alternate mansion is eerie but not dangerous, and actually pretty cool.
- Plot Coupon: No shortage of them, given the genre, but especially relevant for the various random "enchanted" objects which must be collected as ingredients to make the keys to open the central chamber.
- Portal Door: Several small, magical portals are located around the mansion, hidden in pedestals, wall-panels etc., which allow travel from a room in the real world to its "shadowy" counterpart, and back again. Each portal has a different colour, with each being unlocked only by its correspondingly-coloured key. This, combined with various other BrokenBridges and LockedDoors, establishes the progression through the mansion.
- Portal Picture: The mansion's many paintings almost all become these in the alternate reality, showing scenes very different to their real-world counterparts. Most show distant views of a green sky with bare trees and birds flying around, but one set of pictures in the shadowy hall all show what seems to be an endless procession of souls walking slowly along a suspended walkway. The protagonist doesn't enter any of the portal pictures, but the raven flies in and out of them.
- Roaring Rampage of Revenge: The raven's final act which destroys Cagliostro and the alternate dimension along with him, and, sadly, the raven, "R", himself.
- Shout-Out: The magician Cagliostro's name references Alessandro Cagliostro, Italian adventurer and occultist.
- Swirly Energy Thingy: The means of travel to/from the Dark World, via the Portal Doors.
- Talking Animal: The crow/raven (the game can't seem to decide which) becomes this, once he has drunk a potion concocted by the protagonist. He turns out to be "R", the former, diarising owner who, having fallen foul of Cagliostro's magic, transferred his remaining energy into the bird.
- Towers of Hanoi: The four-tier variant must be solved in the shadowy nursery.