Re:Reviews for Dark Alleys: Penumbra Motel Collector's Edition

[Post New]by NancySusan on May 14, 12 2:47 PM
Hmmm. I played this and exited it with 9 minutes left on the trial. I was perfectly happy to have no HOS, but I thought that something rather stunning needed to replace the time you would normally spend playing them -- something very different or very unnerving or, well, something. Instead you got a lot of little girl screaming (even with the slightly ironic comments, it kind of creeped me out). I didn't mind the graphics or the graininess, but it just wasn't what I was looking for. I applaud ERS for trying something new, but it's another car goes to place where something awful happens to someone, there's a deep, dark secret, and you spend a rather leisurely time desperately trying to save someone. sigh. I also had some of the problems I associate with ERS, but have had less problem with recently -- hurky-jerky play -- stop, freeze a bit and continue. I played in advanced mode, with absolutely no problem in terms of figuring out where to go and what to do, with a very quick hint refill, so never needed the SG. I liked playing the films, that was fun, but this game just needs something else to grab me. I may check it again when it comes out in SE, but I knew early on I wasn't going to buy it.

3,873 Posts

Re:Reviews for Dark Alleys: Penumbra Motel Collector's Edition

[Post New]by gingergal on May 14, 12 6:32 PM
ERS concentrated on the live actors and seemed to not put as much effort into gameplay or plot or even some of their graphics. And although the lip synch in the actors was mainly good - when it wasn’t, it’s just so off putting. They are obviously trying to catch up to elephant and BFG with using them but just putting live actors into a “C” adventure game isn’t being different and it doesn’t make a blah game good.

Plot was a mishmash of a nod to haunted halls and every other game – spoiler mostly children in peril, bad man wants to suck their spirits so he can live forever. end I’d forgive the tired plot if the gameplay wasn’t as tired. There was nothing new or exciting or even captivating about this game. There didn’t seem to be many new areas to explore. In the middle of the game, puzzles were few and far between and the lack of achievements or things to collect (which should be a minimum for a CE game) made the middle part of the game boring.

There was a puzzle which was a twist on the rotating rings puzzle and that was good but you had better like it as it kept repeating, getting slightly harder each time. The last hour suddenly got more interesting and had a couple of harder puzzles in it very close to each other, with some others. I would have loved if it had been spaced out a bit more, so I could have enjoyed them in amongst the same old tired gameplay. Most of the puzzles were on the easier side.

There was a choice of 3 settings of hardness for gameplay. I play on the hardest for ERS games as they are easy games to play. But I still got full explanations for all the puzzles even though they say there would be no tips and occasionally I still got the black bar tips which they also said wouldn’t be there. Do developers not know that when you play on advanced you don’t want any hand holding?

I think this should have been a SE game and not a CE game, when you think of games like 'phenoman: city of cyan' and 'urban legends the maze' were straight SEs (that were far better than this) I don’t understand how this was a CE. I haven’t been as disappointed in a game I bought for ages.

The only reason I bought it was knowing that it was this hyped up, long awaited ERS game so I thought it would be something special when it didn’t even come up to the standard of a good ‘same old’ game. Azada libro was far better than this, being a straight adventure game.

continued next post

3,873 Posts

Re:Reviews for Dark Alleys: Penumbra Motel Collector's Edition

[Post New]by gingergal on May 14, 12 6:34 PM

The plot was 100% tied up in the SE main game. Took me about 5hrs.

Bonus gameplay–

Actually the bonus gameplay was quite good compared to main game, it was puzzle heavy so for those that don’t like puzzles or skip them then it will be super short. It took me 45 mins no skipping but if you find puzzles harder it will take you longer. I wish the main game was more like this. The setting was about 50% same area as before and 50% new. The one thing that was really bad about the bonus was the plot. spoiler It literally was a u-turn and was laughable especially with the robot. end But because the gameplay was OK by then, I didn’t mind too much

Other bonus – 4 music ‘tracks’ you hear being looped over and over during the game, screensaver, concept art, wallpaper

Hardness 3/5 (gameplay and puzzles) overall rating 2.5/5.

Time – main game – 5hrs plus 45 mins in bonus

Short to me on both main game and bonus play

It's the worst CE I've ever bought and it's one of the most blah SEs.

82 Posts

Re:Reviews for Dark Alleys: Penumbra Motel Collector's Edition

[Post New]by JadedBlonde on May 14, 12 10:53 PM
I love ERS games but this one, not so much. As others said, there were grainy graphics. The voice overs (I hate hate hate voice overs, period though....) were annoying (why do all voice overs talk like they're speaking to a 4 year old? I think I've actually played ONE game where the voice overs were natural and decent) (ok, I'm ranting...)

The background sounds were like nails on a blackboard, with a constant screeching "music", unless you were in the scene where an owl hooted every 5 seconds (literally).

The little movie screen in the right corner was as bad as diaries that constantly sparkle unless you open them, even if you don't want or need to.

But OK, since I'm morbid at heart, I found some of the scenes kind of cool...I mean who doesn't love a dead soldier hanging by chains from a barn? However, as my fellow fishies pointed out, it was the same Ol' stuff the rest of the time.

Did anyone else notice that when you're at the house, the front yard was daytime and the backyard was night time?

I'll wait for the SE. I am burned out on cars on the road with no key to the trunk and some child/loved one who was stupid enough to go get kidnapped by hellish ghouls who have a grudge and have terrible taste in wallpaper.

I found it interesting in some places but a big "eh".

Happy Late Mother's Day to all

Edited on 05/14/2012 at 10:55:26 PM PST

128 Posts

Re:Reviews for Dark Alleys: Penumbra Motel Collector's Edition

[Post New]by Fifiluna614 on May 15, 12 1:44 AM
I just finished the game (bonus play included) and for the most part it was a good time. It keeps you guessing about the villain's motives, which is a good thing - keeps you interested about what's coming next. However, the game REALLY needs a map. There are a lot of scenes that lead into other scenes, and a fair amount of back-tracking.

But my biggest peeve was having to use tools to complete tasks that make no sense whatsoever. For instance (this isn't in the game, so no spoiler): thinking you need a crowbar but actually having to use a shotgun! Really? C'mon guys!

The bonus game was a decent length and provided more closure to the story. I thought I would miss not having any hidden object scenes, but it turns out I hardly even noticed they were gone.

All in all, I give it a thumbs up, and consider it well worth the CE price.

40 Posts

Re:Reviews for Dark Alleys: Penumbra Motel Collector's Edition

[Post New]by ruadhan on May 15, 12 10:33 AM
I liked this game well enough; yes, it is yet another "run-down abandoned building in the middle of nowhere with creepy goings-on" setting but that didn't discourage me.

As others have said, this is basically copying the plot (and even appearance!) of Hitchcock's "Psycho", with very strong similarities in appearance to the infamous Bates Motel and Norman himself. Again, that may or may not irritate some people - I just rolled my eyes at their cheek.

Mini-games are not too difficult and the skip button charges in a reasonably short amount of time, so if you really need to (or want to) skip a game, you won't be left hanging for what seems like forever before you can progress.

Bits I didn't like so much - live actors. They never quite match up gestures and lip movements to the text they are supposed to be delivering, and it looks very jarring to see the 'real' image of the actor overlaid on the drawn background. As well, they look silly standing around doing nothing after they've delivered their little speech and left you to chase around solving puzzles while they wait there - but that's just the effect on me.

The plot was a little unclear, in that I wasn't sure if the supposed murderer really did do the murders, or was it the other guy, or the other other guy? But that wasn't really the most important part, so I can live with a little ambiguity.

It's not the most original storyline, and for some it may be too gory or creepy, but if you don't mind a dark tone and you're willing to enter yet another dilapidated building in search of a crazed killer, this is a good game to pass the time!


Re:Reviews for Dark Alleys: Penumbra Motel Collector's Edition

[Post New]by baystater57 on May 16, 12 2:20 PM
I amost stopped playng this game after 2 minutes. I am visually impaired so prefer bright games. The graphics in this game are even hard to read. I decided to give it a chance, it's very slow going for me , because everything is so dark. I am enjoying a game without HOS for a change. I have bought the game and am glad I did.

75 Posts

Reviews for Dark Alleys: Penumbra Motel Collector's Edition

[Post New]by debraljensen on May 16, 12 8:08 PM
bfgBaikal wrote:Hi Fishies!

What do you think of Dark Alleys: Penumbra Motel Collector's Edition? We’d love to hear all about it, as would many of the other fishies in our pond! You can now share your review on our website, just pop over to the Dark Alleys: Penumbra Motel Collector's Edition page <a href="">here</a>.

Unsure how to submit a review? Please check our help article <a href="">Big Fish Game Reviews</a> for more information.

After sharing your review on our website, please feel free to repost your review in this thread!

Remember, a lot of fishies that will be reading your review will have never played the game before. If you are posting spoilers, be sure to include the words SPOILER ALERT at the top of your post .

To help other players get the most out of your review, you could add a note stating if you played the trial or full version and how far you have gotten in the game.

If you’re experiencing technical issues with this game, be sure to swim over to the support thread dedicated to the game <a href=>here</a>.

**If you are seeking game help, the best thing to do is to start a new thread in the Game Forum by clicking on 'Create New Discussion'!

Happy gaming!


75 Posts

Re:Reviews for Dark Alleys: Penumbra Motel Collector's Edition

[Post New]by debraljensen on May 16, 12 8:09 PM
I just love this game

424 Posts

Re:Reviews for Dark Alleys: Penumbra Motel Collector's Edition

[Post New]by arthurC on May 17, 12 12:27 PM
On the basis of the rave anticipations, I was really looking forward to this game, so I bought its straight away without playing the demo .. something I've only ever done with MCF games in the past. I was expecting something spectacular. And though it was a nice enough game, It was nothing out of the ordinary. In fact, I got tired of it way before it was finished - and didn't even bother with the bonus chapter.

One thing that really irritated me about it were the puzzles. They looked very nice, but I can't even say if they were hard or easy because the instructions were so vague that in the case of most of them I hadn't a clue what I had to do! I found the same with Return to Joyville. I didn't finish that game either.

Thank goodness I bought 'Clutter - He said She Said' .. I've had great fun with that.

254 Posts

Re:Reviews for Dark Alleys: Penumbra Motel Collector's Edition

[Post New]by OzzyRobyn on May 17, 12 2:52 PM

This isn't a HOG so if that's what you want it's not for you. But it IS an excellent puzzle/adventure, with some puzzles I hadn't seen before. However, I must admit they did get a bit repetitious even though they got harder. For example, I skipped the last couple of magic keys because they would take too long to fiddle with. Yeah yeah, my bad.

For those who think it's grainy, play in windowed mode - it makes things much sharper.

9,383 Posts

Re:Reviews for Dark Alleys: Penumbra Motel Collector's Edition

[Post New]by Valdy on May 18, 12 4:12 AM
I have now finished the game, and if you thought that the main game was quite dark and foggy, then you will need night vision to see in the bonus game.

I liked the main game better than I thought I would, but the bonus game, which took me 40 minutes (skipped a few puzzles though), was a load of rubbish, IMO.

I do hope that ERS sticks with their wonderful HOGs (and I saw that another one is coming out "soon"). And PLEASE... shorten the length it takes for both the SKIP and HINT buttons to fill in Easy mode. I do not want to hang around for minutes on end before I am allowed to skip a puzzle (most of which I simply can't or care to do). I only ever play Easy mode for the QUICKER fill and refill of the SKIP and HINT buttons.

Edited on 05/18/2012 at 4:13:31 AM PST

341 Posts

Re:Reviews for Dark Alleys: Penumbra Motel Collector's Edition

[Post New]by Seascape6 on May 20, 12 3:18 PM
I enjoyed the demo of this so much that I went ahead and purchased the game. Kind of reminiscent of Psycho in scenery (the motel, the house on the hill), and I'm interested to see where it goes.

I may not be in the majority, but I like live actors and think they are good in this game so far. And I like voice-overs.

I played the demo in Expert mode but started over with a new profile in Advanced mode in order to have as little help as possible. I like figuring things out by myself and won't use hints.

I can't give a full review yet, but I'm enjoying what I've played so far and the nod to Hitchcock.

170 Posts

Re:Reviews for Dark Alleys: Penumbra Motel Collector's Edition

[Post New]by heleanthia on May 21, 12 3:50 PM
I used to be an avid hog devotee but much prefer adventure type games now.
I REALLY enjoyed this game; it had a certain humour to it ( in SPITE of the creepy plot).. I usually get upset over the dark stories but this one was much more like a really good Alfred Hitchcock type spoof...

Yes there were parts that I didn't want to linger over but it was FAR less gruesome than the Ravenhearst trilogy...

LOVED the music, loved the plot and the way one could(almost) see why Jack was so twisted from all the war reels..we forgot how dreadful the world wars were because there are so few WW vets left..

The puzzles were great too; I must be getting smarter as I could get through most with no help(hooray)

Love the film noir theme; the whole package was SO well done.
Kudo to the developers, my only criticism was that it was over too


Re:Reviews for Dark Alleys: Penumbra Motel Collector's Edition

[Post New]by Scarletraven on May 31, 12 3:47 PM
I loved this game. I liked the live actors and absolutely adored that it wasn't a hog. I was expecting one, since they all are, but was thrilled to see an adventure game. It's under adventure, but if you hover it says "hidden object game." A couple that are obviously hogs are labeled adventure even when you hover. This used to not be the case. I think someone is confused.

Buy if you want an adventure! I'm very happy I did.

731 Posts

Re:Reviews for Dark Alleys: Penumbra Motel Collector's Edition

[Post New]by lovely62 on Jun 4, 12 11:33 AM
I love ERS games they out did them selves on this game I was not unhappy with this awesome game at all, I did the bonus game and i did think it was kind of short..I hope they come out with more like this one..
Graphics was excellent and so was the sounds I am glad I bought this game..
Thx BF and Thx DEV's for all your hard work and many hours on this game..

439 Posts

Re:Reviews for Dark Alleys: Penumbra Motel Collector's Edition

[Post New]by msmithnc on Jun 4, 12 1:31 PM
1. I like HOGs but kinda like having a game without HOS sometimes, as in this game.

2. As one who plays in a room with other people and so the sound is off - the voiceovers on the video bits didn't have subtitles, so I had no idea what was being said. I don't think there was an option for subtitles, but I didn't actually look because it didn't seem to hamper my understanding of the plot line, such as it was. In other words, I'm not sure the live acting added much.

3. Some people don't like running around alot, but I do - figuring out what location still has actions possible and what I need to use there (although a map option with the ability to jump is really nice, rather than backing out through scene after scene). This game, however, seemed more linear - when you get to a new location, there doesn't seem to be anything left to do in older locations, even though you can still go there.

4. My usual complaint is about SG's that don't show all the chapters, so there is no way to judge the length of the game. Developers, we know we aren't going to be able to PLAY the whole game during the trial, but can't we at least see how far we got?

5. Another ho-hum plotline with ghosts, old disasters, etc. It seemed slightly better than the haunted houses / hospitals / asylums / blah blah blah but not much. Developers, please go play some of the old games, read some science fiction or modern mysteries and get some new ideas!

I may put this on my list for a DD but I don't think I'll even be buying the SE.


Re:Reviews for Dark Alleys: Penumbra Motel Collector's Edition

[Post New]by iluvhogames on Jun 4, 12 1:52 PM

Edited on 06/05/2012 at 5:51:49 AM PST


Re:Reviews for Dark Alleys: Penumbra Motel Collector's Edition

[Post New]by melikamiki on Jun 5, 12 7:18 AM
This review is based solely on the trial version, that I didn't complete. My primary complaint (and the reason why I didn't finish it) is that is made me sick to my stomach. I'm not one who get's motion sick, but the pop-up screen every time you click on something to look closer at it does a little sliding jig into position. After the first 4-5 pop-up screens, I thought it was unnecessary and annoying. By the time I got to the (stupid, stupid) dog scene in back, I was feeling a bit queasy and annoyed. I tried closing my eyes when I clicked on anything (which is why I think I made it that far), but then I wondered why I was doing all that work just to play a game.

For the little bit that I played, it definitely doesn't look like a typical ERS game. I don't mind the variety and others have detailed the differences, so I won't bother. I'm an old-school adventure gamer, so I was really looking forward to not having any HOS scenes. I considered the similarity to "Psycho" to be more of an homage than a rip-off. My other complaints are the use of live actors and voice overs. I know there are people that just *love* live actors, but I can't stand them. No matter what they do, they don't match the background or in any way look like the rest of the game. When one starts up, the first I think is, "Here comes a bad actor/actress (relative of developers) for the live action sequence" and I'm immediately thrown out of the game world. What really annoys me about them is that the video footage takes up so much memory that the game is overly bloated, especially since for me, it doesn't add anything to the game. (note to devs: even if you got an Academy Award performer, the sequences are still jarring because they DON'T MATCH THE REST OF THE GAME.)

I would welcome and enjoy voice-overs if it wasn't for the fact that the actors/actresses are so completely terrible at it. Some are OK, but most are so obviously amateurish that it's cringe inducing. Is it so hard or expensive to find some decent voice performers? I'm not sure which is worse, the feigned kid voice from an adult or the bad reading from the dev's related children.



Re:Reviews for Dark Alleys: Penumbra Motel Collector's Edition

[Post New]by melikamiki on Jun 5, 12 7:36 AM
The other thing this game does is throw in a cut scene at every scene change. Maybe this changes later in the game, but at this point it is too much. You are happily exploring, you go through a door, and Bam! a cut scene that is extraneous. When you get into the 1st building, there is a scene where the kid is outside a door with the monster and is snatched - again. You already know she is snatched, what is the point of the scene other than to take up more time? When you get out the back, there is a non-scary scene with a dog that goes away. Why? These trials seem to be stuffed full of scenes that are nothing more than padding to make the game seem long. Bad form, old man.

A final note for all the devs:

One thing I've noticed with almost all of these games is who the primary players are: women who have or had children. Just because these are your primary customers doesn't mean that they want every single stupid game to be about a kid/husband who needs rescued or a man who needs married to the character!! Games are about pretending to be someone else in a situation that doesn't necessarily resemble real life. Who wants to play a game where the player is supposed to "image" what it would be like to have their kid/husband put in danger? Life is perilous and stressing enough. It's OK if it is done on occasion for a specific effect, but every single HOG/Adventure game coming out is the same old formula. No wonder everyone is getting bored. I imagine all of the great "sales" we've been seeing reflect the less than stellar sales figures. I used to look forward to the games, now I'm desperately trying to spend my earned credits before they expire. Even the fantasy HOGs are the same boring formula, but with spells and mythical creatures and pretty graphics. Boring. Why not have a few games where the played character is a man (gasp!) doing something not involving finding a kid or hooking up with another character.

Edited on 06/05/2012 at 7:38:33 AM PST

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