Classified Stories: The Tome of Myrkah is one of those puzzle games where you’ll travel back and forth within the game’s locations in order to find items which will help unlock others in another location, and then come back to where you last started, in order to progress. Yep, that doesn’t sound confusing at all, does it?
You begin as private investigator Jim Morrison (really?) looking for your friend Alfred at his house, but the power’s gone, so a fuse must be found, along with certain pieces of a puzzle, allowing you to unlock a particular door… and that’s before you even get to the man’s office. Yes, don’t expect this to make a huge amount of sense.
However, that’s generally because this puzzler has a supernatural bent as you’ll go through portals, find and open the Tome of Myrkah in order to reveal certain symbols, so you can head through larger, glowing portals, since while Alfred’s gone missing, so has his daughter, Aleta. Can you find one or both?
This feels like only part of a whole game, and that’s because it’s a “micro-adventure” and only meant to last a couple of hours, hence the budget price of £7.19. I did find it lasted longer, but – and this is one of a number of problems with it – I spent lots of time running around, not knowing where I’m going or what I’m supposed to be doing. It doesn’t feel very intuitive when a game does its level best to stop me from working out where to go next. I don’t want games to be too simple, but I also don’t want them to make me want to quit and not go back to it. However, since I knew this wasn’t a long game, I stuck with it.
In fact, I actually went through the game twice, so I could make a gameplay video where it *didn’t* look like I was running around like a headless chicken. However, it was more like 2.5 times, because on my second run-through, I got to a point where I’m meant to go through a portal in Aleta’s room, but… it wouldn’t work, and just kept saying “Objective updated”. I tried quitting back to the main menu and ‘continue game’, but something had clicked within which stopped me progressing because it still didn’t work, and I had to restart a new game.
So, this feels badly programmed. I understand patches are being done every few days, but if I’m spotting game-breaking bugs on a second run-through, surely these should’ve been picked up?
In Classified Stories: The Tome of Myrkah – and what felt like fairly frequently, too – I got stuck in the scenery – generally in the final battle, when the devil started throwing blocks of bricks at me (so it seemed) which turned into ‘ground tentacles’ which chased after me. I’m normally more used to a gamepad, but had to use a keyboard and mouse, and since the up-down-left-right arrows – for movement – are a long way from the ‘E’ button to ‘use’ an item, it caused a few near-death experiences.
A couple of other issues were that the loading times between scenes take forever. I’ve cut them out of my gameplay, but I actually thought the game had crashed. Why does it take so long? It’s not a huge game, so there can’t be a massive amount to load in??
Also, while looking for items, there are too many cupboards and drawers to be opened which are simply just empty, making you feel like there is more to investigate in the game than there actually is. This isn’t the first game to have that issue, and it won’t be the last, but it’s still a pain.
However, the short length of the game is a bug-bear. You could get, say, six of these ‘adventures’ in one game for full price, so Classified Stories: The Tome of Myrkah feels like you’ve only bought a single chapter of a game, rather like 2016’s Hitman, which was originally released in individual chapters, and that was annoying. I know RVL Games won’t be a huge company, though, so they’ve probably gone flat out to produce what we have here, but it still feels like a too-small experience.
I will check out what comes next, but please eradicate the technical issues.
Classified Stories: The Tome of Myrkah is out now on PC/Steam.
- Developer: RVL Games
- Publisher: RVL Games
- Players: single-player
Reviewer of movies, videogames and music since 1994. Aortic valve operation survivor from the same year. Running DVDfever.co.uk since 2000. Nobel Peace Prize winner 2021.