The Marionette is an indie 2-D, first-person, freeware adventure game released by a development group called Team Effigy. You play as a sculptor named Martin who receives an envelope in the mail containing nothing but a creepy photo. Immediately, Martin collapses and wakes to find himself in front of a strange house.
He enters the house and goes through a series of mysterious encounters as he travels from room to room. To say that he’s traveling through rooms in the house itself wouldn’t be correct. It’s more like he’s traveling through different memories—both his own and those of a resident of the house.
I had my guard up going into this game as I recently didn’t enjoy an indie adventure that was also billed as a game for “mature” audiences only. After finishing The Marionette I didn’t find that the “rated mature 16+” billing was quite justified. The game does have some mild adult content and some violence but it relies more on psychological tension and mystery than visceral horror.
After a few minutes of playing The Marionette my caution proved not to be needed. I became immersed in the game and wanted to keep going. The game’s artwork is great. I especially like the hand drawn cut scenes that frame the game’s story.
The music blends well with each setting and gives the right amount of edge as the story becomes more intriguing. The story is interesting and it measures out answers in an appropriate fashion as any good thriller should.
The game play itself follows a simplified version of the typical adventure game object collection/inventory system. But rather than collecting random objects, you mostly collect letters, notes, and photos that help further the story.
The puzzles are at a nice level of difficulty and all very logical. Traveling through each memory feels a bit like you’re playing a bunch of room-escape games as you’re essentially trying to find the way out of the area each time. It’s especially tricky early on when you’re not sure of what’s going on and are unaware of each memory’s connection.
I’m glad that I decided to take a break from the other games I was playing to try The Marionette. It’s not a long game – with breaks to do laundry, grabbing some lunch, and even with trying to find its different endings, I finished it in a couple hours. It was certainly worth the time. Give the game a try, you can download it here for free.