The Cardinal House

Creator: ノベボー

Average Rating
8.5 / 10
Average Difficulty
49.2 / 100
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Tags:

Adventure (6) Trap (2) Gimmick (2) Puzzle (1) Horror (1)

Screenshots

  • by Xplayerlol
  • by Xplayerlol

11 Reviews:

Wolfiexe
Cardinal House is an incredibly unique fangame, giving me memories of hunting around mansions in Resident Evil games, looking for keys and other useful items to figure out which rooms I can unlock next, all whilst keeping a spooky atmosphere. I'll get into extra at the end of the review, but the main game in particular is pretty damn great and is what my scores are based on.

It's also worth nothing this game was initially a much shorter game before it was updated and finished not long ago, meaning other review scores may be slightly inaccurate they were based off what was essentially the first stage of the game.

The game features a story which is unfortunately all in Japanese, but you can draw your own conclusions about what is going on. You wake up in a room of a large house, and start exploring to find other room keys which let you access locked doors scattered amongst multiple floors of the mansion. Each floor has generally has some platforming going on which starts with some simple gimmicks like moving eye lasers and basic knight enemies, to pretty crazy stuff later on. I won't spoil any later gimmicks but the platforming gets very creative.

There are also a multitude of bosses in the game, the majority of which are really neat. A couple of them suffer from the issue of certain attacks lasting a little too long, resulting in some tedium and frustration, but for the most part their design is pretty interesting. The final boss in particular feels very reminiscent of a Gustav boss. Whether or not he had a hand in the creation of it, I'm not sure, but it definitely feels inspired by a lot of his works.

The visuals do stay the same for the most part which can cause it to become a little graphically stale at times, and whilst new floors and bosses have some variety in visuals, you're going to want to get used to seeing the inside of this house for the rest of your foreseeable journey. Everything looks really polished though, and I can tell a great deal of work went into the production value.

There's also some puzzles here and there, and this may be the first fangame in a long time (if ever) I remember having to bust out a notepad file to write down some ideas and important information I think will be relevant later. It really adds to the atmosphere and gives it a puzzly adventure sort of vibe, although if you're not a fan of exploration and potentially getting lost many many times then this might cause some frustration.

There are 7 hidden coins that are often in unusual places or in hidden walls scattered throughout the house. These are required to get the main ending (not extra, just the main actual ending). Fortunately, a book can be found at one point lategame which reveals the rooms in which these coins are hiding. This helps narrow down the possibilities and make the final search much easier.

Overall the game is just great. It's not quite like anything else in terms of the atmosphere and setting, and it's for sure worth a play. After you beat the game, there's then extra which can be done, as you may realise there was a door you never got around to opening. I'll cover extra in a spoiler as I'll go into a bit more detail.

So when exploring the house post-game, you can find a new portrait combination which you can then enter in the real house and find the key to extra. Unfortunately I wasn't as big of a fan of extra. It has some really cool segments, but some parts just felt like it'd been designed by a different maker. One gimmick in particular features a ball you have to guide by activating directional objects, but one save makes you do this around an empty corridor for 30 seconds, before then going off to platform around some FPS-slowdown-water and some awkward jumps. This got incredibly tedious, as you'd waste 30 seconds only then to go and die to something silly due to the speed-up difference between the water and normal physics. I guess I just didn't like the gimmick in general, but this save just didn't feel like it was designed by the same maker. There's some other saves which feature some kinda precise bouncing jumps that feel annoying, as they only really pop-up at the end of the save which made it flow very uncomfortably.

This isn't to say I disliked the extra platforming, as some areas made uses of the gimmicks really creatively and were really fun to play around, but some spots just felt so unfun and frustrating that it put a dampener on the end of the game for me, especially after how well the main game ended and rounded things off.

The extra boss whilst being pretty neat has problems too. It has an avoidance intermission at 66% HP and another at 33%, each one lasting far too long. The first one felt pretty free too, whereas the second one was legitimately challenging. Their length really makes me question how these attacks were thought to be okay, and it's kind of weird when looking at the design of the rest of the game (although the main game final boss did have this problem to an extent too).

I'd even still suggest trying extra because it was overall a fun experience, but the rough spots really got frustrating for me after how high-tier the rest of the game was.


Ultimately though this game is definitely worth your time if you have any interest in exploration and a bit of thinking, as well as some amusing and interesting gimmicks. Also this probably comes as close as I can think of to being a horror fangame, without resorting to obnoxious jumpscares or trying too hard. Worth your time!

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Tagged as: Adventure Gimmick Puzzle
[4] Likes
Rating: 9.2 92       Difficulty: 62 62
Jul 21, 2018
sunbla
very fun game and glad it got finished. wish i could understand japanese so i would understand the story more since it seems it actually has a lot going on (maybe english version one day?)
otherwise a great game nice platforming that has good variety and the bosses are well made too (bit too long sometimes, but that didnt bother me)
would recommend

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[4] Likes
Rating: 10.0 100       Difficulty: 60 60
Jun 17, 2018
patrickgh3
Great spooky atmosphere and production value make this game memorable to me. There's some cool platforming obstacles too, and the occasional puzzle. I wish I could read the Japanese text. I wish it was finished, though it feels somewhat complete as is. Would definitely recommend, there's some cool and unique ideas here that are well executed.

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Tagged as: Adventure
[1] Like
Rating: 8.0 80       Difficulty: 35 35
Nov 20, 2017
Quietly1999
On the whole, it is a game of high quality and good experience,But Extra Stage is very drag down the quality of the game.

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Tagged as: Adventure Horror
[0] Likes
Rating: 7.6 76       Difficulty: 68 68
Aug 13, 2018
sonicdv
Honestly, I'm not sure about this game. Its a good game, but the level design isn't quite my cup of tea. I tended to find the platforming parts lasted too long for my taste, and the bosses had really annoying segments. I ended up quitting at boss 5 because I was getting really bored with the game. I would still suggest playing it as it is still a good game, just not my cup of tea.

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[0] Likes
Rating: 7.0 70       Difficulty: 50 50
Aug 12, 2018