(A one-room game I actually loved. Great historical atmosphere and backstory.
Lord Bellwater’s Secret - Details (ifdb.org))
A room investigation.
Being trapped ina single room with a bunch of puzzles is not normally my preferred cup of IF-tea. Lord Bellwater’s Secret however managed to draw me in by the exquisite writing and the intruiging backstory.
The old Lord Bellwater has died and his estate has been taken over by his only son. Soon after your beloved Elsie took a suspicious fall out of a window while she was cleaning the study. You, an aspiring groom of the household, sneak in at night to investigate and clear up the muddy circumstances of your sweetheart’s death.
The gameplay consists mostly of thoroughly examining everything in the room, gathering clues and piecing together the true happenstances surrounding Elsie’s death, and the peculiarities of the young master’s take-over.
I was amazed at the depth of implementation of the library, with more than a thousand books you can supposedly read, and the detailed backstory that is revealed in a large number of letters, texts and diaries there are to be found in the room. There are three code-cracking puzzles that require thoughtful handling of the written clues. The solutions should become obvious to the player who does the work and carefully investigates the entire room.
The game very believably breathes the atmosphere of the time-period it is set in, the middle of the nineteenth century. There are hints all over the place to the relationship between the privileged upper class and the “downstairs people”.
Coincidentally, just a week before I played Lord Bellwater’s Secret I had read the novel The Quincunx by Charles Paliser. I don’t know if or in how much the author was inspired by this book, or if he even read it. It did seem to me that I had found a secret door into one of the most suspenseful scenes from that book, where I could place myself in the place of the protagonist. This gave an extra dimension of immersion to the game.
An exciting investigation that is sure to keep the grey cells working overtime for a few hours. Recommended.