The Academy: The First Riddle
Top Critic Average
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.
A boarding school adventure packed full of puzzles, The Academy combines Proffesor Layton and Harry Potter to provide hours of classroom antics. If you can cope with some cumbersome controls, you'll find plenty of pop quizzes and mysteries to solve within.
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.
The Academy has a weak narrative, poor puzzles, and game-breaking bugs. This is one invitation you're going to want to avoid.
The Academy is a mess of a game, with terrible puzzles, characters and plot. Don't bother.
The Academy: The First Riddle is a good puzzle game for kids, and decent for keeping your mind sharpened.
The Academy: The First Riddle is a mystery puzzle adventure game that takes players to boarding school, but it fails to make top marks.
I was so, so excited for The Academy: The First Riddle, and although I feel pretty letdown by the experience, I believe there’s still something to it. It’s entirely possible that the dev team works everything out within the next few months and the flaws are ironed out, leaving only pure puzzle goodness to grace our screens.
Overall, The Academy provides a lot of entertaining puzzle solving and an entertaining storyline. While some of the puzzles are confusing or arguable, you get that in pretty much any puzzle game, and the few number of issues with understanding puzzle solutions really speaks for how well they're put together. There are plenty of puzzles, and enough little side missions to keep you entertained for a while. There are enough hint items floating around to help you through the core of the game, and they're easy enough to earn if you put the effort in. The Academy is an enjoyable puzzle solving experience that I would recommend to anyone coming off a Layton bend, or looking for some riddles to solve.