Title: The Delusions of Von Sottendorf and his Squared Mind
Developer: Delirium Studios
Platform: Nintendo 3DS
Game Type: 3DS
NA Availability: Digital
EU Availability: Digital
Block Usage: 2.488
Today marks a special day in moving forward with my site. Back in November, I expanded and rebranded the site to support all handhelds. I incorporated 3DS, 3D Classic, Nintendo DS, and Virtual Console reviews, adding the arsenal of the Nintendo 3DS onto my current library of PlayStation Vita and PlayStation TV reviews.
Today is special because the review you’re about to read is the very first 3DS game I received as a review copy from a publisher. Strangely Compelling was kind enough to come to me almost right away with interest in a 3DS game they were about to release in the West. So, puzzle fans should take interest, as this is my official review of The Delusions of Von Sottendorff and his Squared Mind.
The plot revolves around a man whose name is hard to read and pronounce, Von Sottendorff. He is a Europe citizen with the title of “Baron”. This is a title of honor, though this baren has a lot going on in the strange mind wrapped up in his head. It turns out that he had conjured up and trapped himself in a false illusionary version of his mansion. Being in a nightmare created by his own mind, he has to try to make sense of the world and escape his own mind.
The story isn’t what I would call great. There tries to be a plot, but the Baron doesn’t talk and you hear the voice of someone else, mostly just degrading him and talking about all of his quirks, calling them annoying and stupid. This is a puzzle game, so you don’t play it for story, though the story that’s there does get quite annoying.
Delusions is a puzzle game, though I’m not sure what kind of puzzle game you’d really call it. You have environment manipulation in a block-like manner for making doorways. So, let’s just call it a puzzle game. From the puzzlers I’ve played, this game has its own unique style that I’ve not seen in games before.
As you play the game, you will be progressing through puzzles both in a hub world and in separate levels. The hub world actually works as a puzzle in itself. Though instead of finding keys and photos like in the main stages, it has you looking for new worlds to go into, which have their own sets of stages with puzzles.
Each stage has several rooms of the mansion that are set up in a grid-like format. On the top screen, you can see the rooms you’re exploring and on the bottom screen is the current grid formation setup of the rooms in that stage. Each stage could have as little as 3 rooms or half a dozen or more to tackle. Each of these rooms has collectibles and key items for you to find.
Navigating to the other rooms is done with doors and manipulating the grid. Each room has doors that can be linked to doorways in rooms adjacent to it in the grid. So, you have to move the rooms around on the grid to get access to the rooms you want through doorways. However, it gets complicated because many doors are set in different parts of a wall. You have to have perfect match-ups to get a doorway and proceed to another room.
In each puzzle, there are 5 photo collectibles you can get for use later as well as a puzzle piece and a key. Getting a key unlocks the door that completes the puzzle and the puzzle piece unlocks part of a picture that serves as one of the Baron’s memories. Completing these memories unlocks new level sets and is the main task for helping the Baron escape his own mind.
Getting these is a matter of not only moving rooms to get to the right areas or heights, but also platforming and using other items. For example, you can use a trumpet to play music and make new platforms appear in certain rooms. But, you only have so many uses out of it, so you have to do it in the right places or find refills in other rooms.
Things get even more interesting when enemies start to appear in the game. Enemies come in the form of household objects, like suits of armor that come to life and follow you around. So, not only do you have to worry about manipulating floors and platforming, but you have to watch out for these enemies that roam around.
There are 8 “worlds” to explore and 40 different puzzles to go through. I began completing each puzzle in around 4-6 minutes in World 1, but that easily got longer as things got more extensive. Overall, I’d say the entire game should take you about 4-5 hours to complete. It’s not a bad amount of length for a puzzle game.
Controlling the game isn’t very hard to do, though the only special feature of the 3DS the game utilizes is the 3D. The New 3DS buttons don’t do anything in the game. The normal L and R triggers don’t function for much, and neither do the ZL, ZR, and C Stick buttons.
The Circle Pad is used for moving the Baron around the rooms and the D-Pad is used to rotate the camera angle so you can find objects hidden behind parts of the environment. The L and R triggers are used to cycle the camera from showing only one room to the entire grid. The B button is used for jumping and the other face buttons are used for various items, like the trumpet.
I wouldn’t say the visuals look terrible, but I wouldn’t stay they look good, either. For how small each of the environments are, I would wager that the Nintendo DS probably could have handled this game without issue. There are a lot of jagged edges all over the place, and there’s not all that much detail in the actual environments. Even some of the pictures in the environments have noticeable blurs to them.
The next nitpick I have is with the sound quality. The music is kind of soft and flowing, which works well with the puzzle game theme, but the voice-overs really grind my gears. The voice-work only comes through one speaker at a time. Whether this was intentional or not, it sounds really degraded and choppy like this.
The game performs well, for the most part. There are some decently long loading sequences for the game, but overall, I don’t have a lot of complaints there.
The Delusions of Von Sottendorff and his Squared Mind is a puzzling name for a puzzling game. This does have some annoyances, like the less-than-enjoyable plot, degraded voice-over quality, and visuals not really up to 3DS standards. On the brighter side, this is a puzzle game that stands out in its own genre, on the 3DS and in the gaming community in general.