Clea is the super creepy story of a mysterious girl who looks like a possessed doll and her little brother trying to escape their home, Whitlock Mansion. Why are they trying to escape you may ask? Well it’s a long story, involving their scientist parents conducting experiments that have gone horribly wrong. These people have been turned into what is called Chaos Servants and they will do whatever they can to ensure that you will not escape the house. The thing that really made me want to check this game out is it promises that it is a jump-scare free horror game. I absolutely hate jump scares, so I was a bit skeptical about this claim.
The game features a 2D anime style art, though the characters themselves resemble paper dolls. Clea is a very serious looking little girl, who wears shoes that are incredibly noisy. Her shoe choice really makes it a lot harder to sneak around the house undetected, especially when the background music is classy piano music. The constant clacking of her shoes in contrast is a dead giveaway of her position. Following Clea, we have Ed, her younger brother, who is always holding his teddy bear. They are trying to find a way to get out of the house and away from the Chaos Servants who are constantly patrolling the rooms. The Chaos Servants are wearing cloaks and resemble the mutants in the Omega Man movie. These beings want to hurt the children, the whole reason isn’t totally explained off the bat, it will take some exploration and research, but it sure seems like it’s a good way to get revenge on the scientist parents.
To avoid these Chaos Servants you will have to be observant, peek under doors and try to stay as far away as possible from these creatures. To be successful and escape, you have to solve the puzzles that are designed to keep you trapped inside the house. While trying to stay out of danger you will be required to hunt down the key items needed for each of the brain testing problems. While exploring, you will find pieces of metal that you can assemble and deconstruct to make the keys needed to open locked doors. You will also learn dark secrets about Clea’s family as you progress in the game. The game times you on how long it takes to escape from each area of the house. If you are playing on the Hard or Chaos modes, you can unlock different medals for achievements like not getting caught or not using candles to save your game.
While playing the game you will have to be sneaky and observant. If you hear a noise like an angry dog growling it means that one of the Chaos Servants is nearby. So make sure you hide in a closet to avoid detection, because if they find you, they will kill you. Every room and hallway has a closet, so they won’t be hard to find. When I first started playing I heard that weird growling sound, then the door to the room opened and a guy started chasing me. I guess this isn’t really a jump scare, but it sure startled me! After that, whenever I play, I’m always cautious when I hear footsteps and angry growling. I found I was hiding in closets a lot. I think a lot more than I needed to, but that was before I realised the creatures weren’t as smart as I gave them credit for.
There were multiple times I was standing in front of a door when a Chaos Servant walked in and they didn’t notice we were right there and they just walked away. A few times they would start chasing after us, so I would run away and after a few seconds they would just stop and walk away. Guess they really need to work on their cardio more! As you progress in the game you will find multiple types of these Chaos Servant, some that move slower, then others that have spider legs coming out of their back and they move a lot faster. To creep us out more, there are Chaos Spiders, that don't look like real spiders, that will sneak up behind you and dash towards you. Be sure to face them head on, if you try to run, they will surely kill you. The story also introduces you to a new villain called the War Maiden who threatens to take you over.
The house decor and the costume design in this game definitely feels like it is set in the Victorian Era, especially with the fancy dresses and shoes Clea is wearing. The cool thing is if you have ever played any games published by Sekai Games in the past, like fault, you will recognise some of the costumes that are available for you to choose from. I love when games have little easter eggs like this for fans to find.
I really enjoy the puzzles in this game. Once you learn the layout of the area you are in, you can strategise what pieces you need to make the keys, how to avoid the enemies that are patrolling the rooms and the other puzzles you need to solve. Make note of where the birthday cake save points are located because after discovering something new you will definitely want to save your progress. If you like games that involve stealth and puzzles, Clea may be something you would enjoy. This is definitely not the longest of games, but, it will give you a few hours of game play before you learn all the crazy secrets of this family!
Clea (Reviewed on Nintendo Switch)
Game is enjoyable, outweighing the issues there may be.
An enjoyable stealth, horror puzzle game, that is definitely creepy, but not too scary. The puzzles are enjoyable to solve and will have you coming back again and again to figure them out. It’s too bad the Chaos Servants seemed so dumb and lazy at times, as they weren’t very scary at all.