Horror titles come in all different forms these days, but it’d be easy to believe that Amanda the Adventurer is something aimed at… well… children. Alas, you couldn’t be more wrong, with the innocuous-looking puzzler hiding some dark secrets that’ll keep players on the edge as they learn more about the eerie adventures of the titular character.

Check out some screenshots down below:

Amanda the Adventurer puts players in the role of Riley, who discovers a bunch of strange VHS tapes after inheriting a house from a deceased aunt. They’re seemingly harmless tapes too, with each showing a recording of an old kids cartoon known as Amanda the Adventurer. Except something is off, with Amanda acting odd and aiming her questions directly at the player (as well as acknowledging their responses). Furthermore, you discover your aunt was actually investigating a string of mysterious disappearances of children before her death, which may have been connected to this show. It’s up to you to carry on her investigation and find out what the heck is going on.

I don’t want to go into too much depth about the narrative because it’s better for the player to discover themselves, but believe me, it’s utterly engrossing and full of peculiar little twists and turns. Not only are multiple playthroughs required to understand the full story (there are multiple endings on offer), but you’ll also have to closely look at your surroundings and the little details within each tape to uncover every little secret. The game does so many little things that could easily go unnoticed, but they all add that extra *something* to the overall experience. I wouldn’t necessarily say that Amanda the Adventurer has a scary narrative, but it is certainly unsettling and the way that it develops across multiple tapes and playthroughs ensures it’ll keep players fully invested until the end.

Just make sure you return for those repeat playthroughs. Your first run through Amanda the Adventurer will only last around forty minutes and it’d be easy to feel like you’re not getting that much bang for your buck, but it NEEDS to be replayed to get that full experience. Not only are there new ways to approach existing puzzles, but you’ll also get access to new content that pushes the story further forward than before.

“I wouldn’t necessarily say that Amanda the Adventurer has a scary narrative, but it is certainly unsettling and the way that it develops across multiple tapes and playthroughs ensures it’ll keep players fully invested until the end.”

When it comes to gameplay, Amanda the Adventurer does keep things pretty simple. Everything takes place within the attic from a first-person perspective, with most of your time spent watching the tapes or interacting with a few random toys that tie into the puzzling. You will get prompted to respond to Amanda whilst watching these tapes, but all you need to do is type your answer so that’s simple enough.

Or is it? This is where Amanda the Adventurer’s more sinister aspects come into play, with Amanda growing more devious and frightening if you don’t give her the answers she is seeking. Not only will the cartoon itself change to reflect this, but her interactions and attitude towards her sheep companion Wooly and the player take a darker turn too. It’s very clever (and admittedly creeped me out on a few occasions), whilst it also adds a crafty twist to the puzzles themselves – and hey, it’s surprising just how much she will respond to, so don’t be afraid to experiment a little with your answers.

Admittedly, players shouldn’t be too perplexed by the puzzles of the game, with it mostly obvious what you need to type or what you need to do to progress. The show is meant to be aimed at kids after all, so the responses that are required kinda cater to that mindset. That’s not to say that it doesn’t do some clever things though, especially in the later playthroughs that require players to be a little bit more observant and approach existing puzzles from a different angle. Again, it’s unlikely to stump players for too long (with the exception of one or two tricky moments), but it does add an extra layer of creative depth to the puzzle-solving to ensure those further playthroughs keep players guessing – plus, the way that the more complex puzzles tie into the VHS tapes is really, really cool.

Check out some screenshots down below:

One of the things that Amanda the Adventurer absolutely nails is its atmosphere. As I mentioned, it’s not a particularly scary game, but it will certainly leave players feeling uneasy as they watch these low-quality VHS tapes that look like something that came out of the early 90s (and I mean that in the best way possible). The show itself just feels so believable, so much so it’d be easy to think that it’s something you actually may have watched when younger… I definitely got some Dora the Explorer vibes from it. And some of the more shocking moments? Yeah, they’ll stick with you after playing.

It’s just a shame that it’s over so soon. Whilst it does require multiple playthroughs, it still won’t take players much longer than two-to-three hours to see everything in the game. It’s reasonably priced so you won’t feel hard done purchasing the game, but I just wanted MORE. Maybe I’m greedy, or maybe it just shows that I found the game utterly compelling to play?

Amanda the Adventurer Review

Amanda the Adventurer is a unique and engrossing experience that isn’t necessarily scary, but will definitely keep players on edge as they uncover its dark secrets. It’s easy to think that it’s a simple and straightforward puzzler to begin with, but it doesn’t take long before the narrative takes unusual turns, the puzzles become more creative, and Amanda really starts to creep the player out with her sinister outbursts. It’s really, REALLY cool, and easily stands out as one of the more memorable horror experiences I’ve played through in some time.

Developer: MANGLEDmaw Games
Publisher: DreadXP
Platform(s): PC (Reviewed)
Website: https://store.steampowered.com/app/2166060/Amanda_the_Adventurer/