As part of PAX Australia’s Indie Showcase, 100 Stones Interactive were on display with their upcoming adventure-puzzle game – The Eyes of Ara. The game takes place within a castle on a small secluded island, where the player has to explore and uncover the hidden mystery within. The game itself has a strong astrology/astronomy-centred theme, where most of the puzzles featured the western zodiacs and known space nebula. We had the opportunity to try the demo while talking to the Lead Developer, Ben Droste.
The demo takes place at the beginning of the story, where the player first arrives onto the island, slowing ascending the castle to find out why the place had been abandoned. From the offset, the graphics of the game stood out, highlighting the time and dedication that the team at 100 Stones Interactive has spent on the game. Upon arriving on the island, the game provided a quick tutorial on the basic point-and-click gameplay mechanics, such as investigating certain objects, or interacting with items.
While playing the game, I was told that the game features messages and notes from previous residents and guests of the castle – providing clues on why people had left. allowing the place to become abandoned. While exploring the demo, I uncovered a few notes from previous visitors, giving the impression that the castle was haunted. I was later told by the developer, as the player progresses further into the game, the mystery of the castle and what the past visitors speculate on what is the cause of it.
As the gameplay, the game itself was a simple point and click puzzle game, where the player has to explore the area around them, finding items to solve a puzzle – allowing them to progress through the castle. The demo itself featured three puzzle areas, each increasing in difficulty. The type of puzzles ranged from combination locks, to rotating blocks to make an image – highlighting the wide range of mind-boggling puzzles. The game itself provides good direction on areas for which the player should explore or observe, as the cursor would change shape – highlighting something of interest.
Additionally, while exploring the game, there were some collectibles scattered throughout the game. When I asked Ben on the importance of these collectibles, he said that they link to the pass tenants, and if all 140 collectibles were found, a secret room opens – adding to the game’s replayability. At the end of the demo, various floating lights, the source of why the castle was abandoned, revealed themselves before running off; giving a taste of what to come.
If you are a fan of a strong story-driven mystery game with puzzles, then this game is for you. The Eyes of Ara is currently available for purchase on the Humble Store, Steam, and Apple’s App Store.