Merk's Review: Lord Bellwater's Secret

The “official” version can be found at my website:

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The problem for me with this game was that I felt it could have used more polish.

I feel kind of contradictory saying that, because in many ways this game is well polished indeed: the bookshelves, the room movement, the raft of letters, diaries, and parchments, the secret nooks and crannies. All of that was enjoyable, and I liked the story, but for me there were too many immersion-breaking minor technical issues in a (somewhat pedestrian) story such as this one to rate this more than ‘good’ in my scoring.

Also I was a little unsatisfied that Bellwater Jr. didn’t get his comeuppance, but I guess that makes sense given the setting. I almost wanted Bert to be the illegitimate son of Lord Bellwater – perhaps that would have been too obvious?

I didn’t notice much wrong with it, if I recall correctly. It seemed well constructed and pretty well polished. You might have encountered different issues than I did.

And yeah, I too was hoping for an ending in which the junior Bellwater loses it all to Bert. The author told me in email that he had originally thought of having an ending like that, but it didn’t fit with the game’s theme (dealing with the Brittish class system). This threw me while I played, though, because I spent a bit of time trying to find that ending, and it doesn’t exist.

This is still one of my favorite entries this year. Right now, it ranks second (factoring in the plus/minus of the other games with the same score), and I only have a few more yet to go.

I just finished the game. Loved it. I’ll write a blazingly recommendative review tomorrow morning, after I let the story sink in some more…

I was actually hoping for an ending where the horse would get it all.

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