I thought I’d start something a little different. I have been considering reviewing a handful of jarring, unimpressive puzzle games that I got on Steam for less than a dollar (total), but not much really stood out about them that you couldn’t tell from their descriptions and screenshots. I pressed on, however, intent on finding something interesting. This led me to “Ferrum Secrets Where Is Grandpa?” or as my Steam menu says “Ferrum’s Secrets: where is grandpa?” I think it was the oddly sinister title, what with its foreboding secrets about lovable old grandpa, that drew me to this one in particular. After a bit of play, however, I felt like a review wouldn’t be enough. So instead I decided to play through the whole game. I’m just not sure I could express how odd this game is without accidentally enticing someone to waste their money. I suppose I couldn’t stop you either way, but I hope you’ll find this to be enough. Also, bear with me. It gets progressively more… strange as you play.
So here we are in Ferrum. The title screen is pretty innocuous, although I’m not really sure what’s going on in the back there. It seems like it’s just a thin wall of two-dimensional stone. I’m pretty sure that thing between the trees is a door though. Oh well, we’re not here to question architecture. We’re here to unravel secrets. Like just where is grandpa? Well we’re going to go to his house and try to find out!
Grandpa’s house is rather overgrown and unimpressive, but to be fair these graphics could be way worse. I’m sure I’ll be eating those words before long, but for now let’s just be nice and say that, visually, this game is on par with what it makes you expect. So this is a point-and-click puzzle game, and I’ve begun my pointing and clicking b checking out that cat creature near the door. Apparently, Iris is terrorizing the squirrel. The squirrel is not aware of this, however, since it just kind of… sits there. Actually, everything just cycles through its animation rather creepily. Also there’s some weird skid mark from what I can only assume is grandpa’s golf cart on the ground.
Okay, so maybe grandpa doesn’t have a golf cart. If he did, we probably wouldn’t find these tracks so sinister. Better go inside and see if grandpa’s okay. But I’ll bet since this is a puzzle game, I’ll have to find a key to unlock the door!
Or… I’ll have to find a doorknob that someone pulled right off, causing the house to be impenetrable. So I guess I’ll check around for common… doorknob hiding spots?
Uh… Well I knocked over a plant, but it didn’t reveal anything. Maybe that’s a hint though. I can knock stuff over, so I must be able to find stuff under things.
Okay, I’ve clicked all over the place and only managed to find a step ladder that I’m now carrying around, and knock down the other plant. Perhaps finding grandpa will be harder than anybody thought. But being the great inventor that he is, he can’t be in too much trouble. I mean, maybe he’s just trying to perfect his latest invention.
Having finally found the place I was supposed to click, I am now tasked with sorting through some random crap in hopes that one of these objects is, in fact, a door handle. I’m heartened by the fact that my bank has the words “Door handle” in it. Although, it also wants me to grab the squirrel, which we just scolded the cat for doing. This is no time for moral quandries, though! Grandpa needs finding! So I click at random, and things just sort of… Fly up at me.
Really, I started out trying to pick out the thing I needed, but then I realized I’m being asked to find objects like “glass sphere” and “white butterfly” which, though I can easily see, I didn’t really want to be bothered, so random clicking seemed like the way to go. And it worked!
I should mention here that I had grabbed the door handle before the glass sphere and the white butterfly. I still needed them to fly at me before I could get back to the door. Oh well. I guess that’s standard for this kind of puzzle. Time to open that door!
Alright, me and my trusty step ladder are ready to burst into 43 Something Street and see what’s going on at grandpa’s! Let’s just pop this doorknob back on and open the door. That’s how they work after all.
Wow! I guess we were right to be worried. It looks like someone’s ransacked grandpa’s house. Well, at least his stairway. I think we might have let the cat in, too. Also there’s a weird cloud in the corner.
Oh, woah! Grandpa’s living room steam pipe is malfunctioning too! Wonder if there’s anything we can do about that.
Guess this isn’t the right idea. How about I look around at other stuff? Like that table.
So I’m not sure, but I think this is a different cat. Either way, there’s nothing here. Let’s check out upstairs.
Nope. Apparently we are unable to step over glass. Luckily, though, there’s this giant knob that I can take with me. I’ll bet it lets me fix the steam problem!
Look at me! I’m figuring out this game’s weird logic already. Guess it’s time to do some kind of mini-game.
Okay, so this here pipe game is kind of annoying. You have to make sure the steam makes it from the green arrow to the red arrow, but you can’t see all the pipes properly. You also can’t block the pipes completely, otherwise the pressure will cause an explosion, severely injuring you. Oh wait, it will “damage the pipe system.” Whichever.
So after moving back and forth between camera angles and accidentally shutting all the valves three times (no explosion or damage or anything really) I finally got thrust unceremoniously back to the living room, where I could now grab the thing behind the steam – a broom. Armed with the only thing in the world that could push glass away, I can now make my way upstairs. Although a slip of my finger caused me to click the table right away…
…forcing me into another mini-game.
Next time, we’ll explore the second floor of this bizarre house and see if we can get more clues as to what could have possibly happened to grandpa. This does start off a bit slow, and to be fair the game itself is slow overall, but things become more and more bizarre as it progresses so hopefully there will be more to say. Thanks for joining me here and sorry if it’s a little dry. I’m getting used to this style of writing, so hopefully I’ll find my voice as the game… hits its stride?