Creaks – a bizarre puzzle game where nothing feels out of place

Creaks is a platform single-player graphic adventure video game developed and published by Amanita Design in 2020. The game is available for Apple Arcade, Windows, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and Nintendo Switch. As the first major release by Amanita Design that’s not a point & click adventure, Creaks is a 2-D puzzle-platform game that centers around the protagonist who crawls through a hole in this bedroom and finds a world of monsters.

Creaks started as an idea of two college colleagues, Radim Jurda and Jan Chlup, who used Flash to create multiple prototypes for their graduation project. However, Jakub Dvorsky was the missing piece, and after they met, the original duo received helpful tips on how to improve their work.

Eventually, Dvorsky became more interested in their idea and offered them to join Amanita Design. That was the beginning of a small team that worked on creating Creaks for eight years. The game’s initial name was Pareidolia, but ultimately, they decided to call it Creaks.

The final costs of development surpassed one million USD. However, Creaks received favorable critics, and many reviews described it as a game that brought innovation back into a well-worn genre.

Moreover, the game encountered praises for its stellar audio, visuals, and captivating world, meshed with puzzles that hit the right balance. Creaks start in the bedroom of the unnamed protagonist, who discovers a hidden tunnel behind the wallpaper.

He decides to examine the secret hole and climbs down the ladder, uncovering a massive structure resembling a mansion. There, he finds a gigantic cavern that leads to another discovery. The protagonist also encounters hostile monsters that turn into inanimate objects if he casts a light on them.

But that’s not all that lurks in this subterranean world. The main characters also encounter an enormous feline critter that threatens to destroy the mansion due to the gravity of climbing. The protagonist will also meet friendly bird-like beings with unique characteristics that hope to find a codex that could help them defeat the monsters.

Soon, the protagonist starts the mission of taking down the villains with the bird folks. But what about other details of the game? Is it worth your time?

Read on to find our experience playing Creaks.

All the pieces fit well together

The story begins with an unassuming man reading his book before going to sleep, but the flickering of his overhead lamp and a sudden thud interrupts his intention. Thus, a piece on the wallpaper rips, revealing a secret passage. Our protagonist follows his curiosity and does what most people would do: follows the metal door and crawls in to examine what’s on the other side.

But as it turns out, there’s a surreal subterranean world underneath him. Naturally, the protagonist starts exploring the structure beneath his bedroom and finds a gigantic cavern that begins an adventure that’s everything but ordinary.

The environment beneath him loosely resembles Victorian-era architecture, but it also brims with steampunk visuals that intertwine with various passages and rooms. Our hero looks anxious as he keeps going forward, and his eyes are wide open, analyzing every detail. The player can see he’s nervous as his eyebrows continue raised as an expression of fear.

Yet, the main character isn’t completely defenseless. The light is the savior, and it makes the adverse critters terrified. Their fear comes from the fact that the light turns them back into furniture. Although harmless, these objects help the player complete the puzzles.

Each of these creaks is unique and expresses specific behaviors and characteristics. The only thing they all share is their fear of light. That’s also the most critical information in the game you need to reach your goals.

Thus, every scene is individual and presents a puzzle. You will encounter various obstacles, but the solution will often be right in front of you. However, you’ll have to pay attention to your surroundings and variables specific to each scene. Then, all you have to do is apply the knowledge you gained during the previous steps.

Besides the bizarre yet stunning visuals, Creaks also surprises you with an eccentric soundtrack that uses the instruments you wouldn’t think of – zithers and organs. But music plays a significant part in the game. The change of pace and rhythm tells you when you discovered a crucial element in a puzzle and leads you toward the solution.

As you progress, you’ll learn the game’s language and find that to be one of the most entertaining parts. Use every scene to learn more about this haunting world that brims with details, artwork, and stellar animation.

Creaks is free of any dialogue, but you won’t feel its lack of presence. Instead, you’ll enjoy putting all the pieces together and finding answers to the big mystery. Thus, there are enough hidden passages, rooms, and clues to keep you engaged throughout the game. You’ll even find minigames that, although simple, contribute to the overall fun. Hence, even though this underneath mansion is full of bizarre objects, hostile monsters, and helpful beings, everything seems to fall into place together.

Dark, engaging, creative

Creaks offer a fantasy environment where your eyes might get overwhelmed due to a variety of whimsical content. But you won’t be able to deny it’s captivating and different from other games in the genre.

The scale of this dark world is astonishing, and it’s hard to run out of things to do or puzzles to solve. Yet, once you figure out how things work and get to the bottom of the mystery, you’ll find yourself in awe of everything you’ve seen and how unique the subterranean structure of Creaks is.

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