The Academy: The First Riddle
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The Academy: The First Riddle Trailers
The Academy: The First Riddle - Release Trailer
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Critic Reviews for The Academy: The First Riddle
The Academy isn't a bad game, per se, but promises far more than it delivers. Its influences are too clearly worn on its sleeve and it ends up less than the sum of its parts. The school is too small and the puzzles just not exciting enough to really draw you in. The target audience is probably much less jaded than me and younger players will probably enjoy the combination of Hogwarts-esque schooling and puzzles, but it's a difficult title to recommend for experienced puzzle gamers.
The Academy has the kind of premise that should make it feel more special than it is. It certainly shines with its different array of puzzles. But the game's characters and their dialogue make this feel as exciting as Algebra class. I should feel more excited about the extracurriculars, but instead, The Academy's shortcomings had me watching the clock and waiting for the bell to ring.
At $17.99 on Steam at the time of writing, it's hard to beat up The Academy: The First Riddle too much. It's a lot of fun, it's value priced, and the developers are actively engaged with the community and prepping patches for much of the things I've mentioned. Could it be better at launch? Certainly. Does it deliver a compelling stack of puzzles that'll have you scratching your brain for hours? Absolutely. We have to give credit to Pine Studios for trying something new, even if they might have gotten a C on that "Debugging" class.
A solid set of puzzles and a gorgeous world are largely let down by some odd narrative decisions and middling character development that are just jarring enough to prod you out of the world that Pine Studio has worked so hard to craft. If you’re looking for a Layton style experience in an extraordinary world then this could be for you. Otherwise, take this one at your own pace because school life can be tough at Arbor Academy.