Midnight Mansion HD Episode 1: Tom's Mac Software Pick

Don't Look Now, But I Think a Spider Is About to Grab You!

Midnight Mansion HD Episode 1
Courtesy of ActionSoft

As you may have noticed from the title, there are two Midnight Mansion HD episodes. While I recommend both, we're going to start with Episode 1; if you find it a fun diversion, Episode 2 is more of the same.

Midnight Mansion is a classic platform game that allows you to explore five different spooky mansions in the guise of Jack Malone, an intrepid explorer who has nerves of steel (unlike you and me) and is sure that he'll find the secrets of each mansion, along with the rumored treasure.

Pro

  • 5 different mansions to explore, including one that provides game hints.
  • Three difficulty levels let you replay the game at ever tougher levels.
  • Supports keyboard and gamepads, although the keyboard is all you really need.
  • Family-friendly mode eliminates any blood; you can still die, just with a bit less blood.

Con

  • It's possible to get stuck during your search of a mansion, forcing you to quit and restart from the last saved position.

Midnight Mansion HD is a throwback to the early days of the Mac when games like Dark Castle ruled the game world. In fact, you could think of Midnight Mansion as an updated version of such classics as Prince of Persia and Dark Castle. But while Midnight Mansion may remind you of these older games, it isn't simply a remake of the classics; it's a whole new adventure game with its own characters, perils, traps, secrets, and yes, treasure.

As a 2D platform game, Midnight Mansion has you move through a scene by jumping, running, ducking, and swinging, to get around various obstacles and move from area to area.

There are locked doors that require keys to open, and part of the challenge is to find the keys needed to advance to another room, scene, or area of the mansion.

Of course, the keys are usually guarded by some denizen of the mansion, or by traps and puzzles that need to be navigated or solved before you can grab the key.

The goal is to find your way out of the mansion with any treasure you manage to acquire along the way. Once you leave a mansion, you can select another one to start exploring anew.

Each mansion has a slight theme to it, but generally, you'll find similar characters, traps, and puzzles to move carefully past. Some denizens are easy to sneak by, such as the snakes, which are easy enough to jump over; others, such as the spiders that slide down their webs, may require you to time a leap just right, or run as fast as you can to get past their furry legs. One of my favorites is the bouncing eye that tries to squish you. Last but not least are the Medusas that follow you, and whose very touch will turn you to stone.

I’ll let the rest of the cast of characters introduce themselves to you during the course of the game; just remember, no one you meet is your friend. Mansions have from 80 to 100 rooms to explore, although calling them rooms is a bit of a stretch since they can range from underground caves to rooftop parapets.

Playing Midnight Mansion

Midnight Mansion is played exclusively from the keyboard, or if you wish, a connected gamepad. The pace of the game allows the keyboard to be the only controller you really need.

Movement is performed with the usual w, a, and x keys, which move you left, right, or to your knees, to duck something dangerous flying by. The same actions can be performed using the arrow keys as well. The space bar makes a good jumping command, as you'll be jumping about quite often during game play. You can also use the game settings to customize which keys perform what actions.

Moving about the game is easy enough, though many of the puzzles and traps require a good bit of careful timing to get the jump, leap, run, or swing to occur at just the right point to get you past the problem.

Video options are limited to playing the game in a window or full-screen.

A nice touch is that when playing within a window, you can resize the window to suit your preference.

Sound options are limited to choosing whether or not to include sound effects (a must, in my opinion) and background music.

Midnight Mansion is $8.99 and is available from the Mac App Store.

See other software choices from Tom's Mac Software Picks.

 Published: 9/19/2015