The Gray family is known for their regular get-togethers. You got your invitation right on time, so you boarded a train expecting to see your relatives for the first time in ages. A letter arrives mid-journey, however, and thanks to the key word “nightmares”, you suspect something terrible is about to happen. You arrive to find an empty house with threatening messages painted all over the walls. Looks like someone’s out to destroy everyone you love, and you’re next on the list.
Grim Tales: Color of Fright is a dark and foreboding hidden object game that successfully mixes supernatural elements with a little old fashioned family drama. The game takes place in and around the ancestral mansion, a piece of property that’s as stunning as it is unnerving. As you search for your relatives you’ll encounter various clues left by the demented kidnapper. The more you look, the more forgotten secrets you uncover, and the deeper the danger becomes.
Your time in Color of Fright will largely be spent moving back and forth between an increasingly large set of room, collecting items and experimenting on places to use them. Most puzzle solutions will come naturally, with things like whetstones and dull knives that form an obvious pair. Other solutions lean towards the obtuse, but Grim Tales always gives you clues in the dialogue for those oddities. And if you get stuck, the hint system is surprisingly accurate and will always show you right where you need to go.
Hidden object scenes in Grim Tales: Color of Fright are filled with variety. Each one is a slightly different take on the traditional setup, causing you to scratch your head for a few moments before everything suddenly clicks. The very first one, for example, doesn’t show a list of items. In its place are four colored locks. Find the keys, match them with the locks, then you get to see what items you’re supposed to locate. Little things like this add up to an extremely entertaining experience.
Two unique features in Color of Fright are scrolling scenes and your artist’s kit. Most areas in the game look like still pictures at first, but if you move your cursor to the left or right edge you’ll reveal a bit more of the environment. Items and key puzzles love to hide off of these edges, so if you’re stuck just try scrolling. The artist’s kit adds another interesting touch of interactivity. Throughout the game you’ll encounter unfinished drawings that need a bit of color to be complete. By playing a fast paint by numbers mini-game, you’ll unlock a new piece of the story and get another key item that helps you move forward.
Grim Tales: Color of Fright gets everything just right. The gameplay is fluid and engaging, the story is familiar but has the right amount of twists and turns, and the puzzles keep you guessing from beginning to end. The graphics and music are stunning, as well, creating an epic audio visual experience that makes Grim Tales feel like a playable horror movie.