Belladonna advertises itself as a game about reanimated corpses and morality. Whilst the former is undeniable, the latter is something which one can take with a pinch of salt in its interpretation. I’ll come back to this bit later.

You control a girl who has a giant key turning in the back of her head. She has recently been reanimated in a laboratory, Frankenstein-style. Whilst she can talk and recognise things, the process has caused her to forget who she is and what happened to her prior to her resurrection. Using point-and-click controls you interact with your surroundings to find your way out of the laboratory and the surrounding house.

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Some environments have you scrolling across a room, revealing something significant with the music giving you a “dun-dun-duuuun!” sound, just in case you didn’t think it important enough. The voice acting can come across as a little wooden at times (well, she’s undead, so you can put it down to being a walking corpse) but the girl does show elements of cheeky humanity by naming inanimate objects, such as dubbing a skull Yorrick and a knight Roland.

The story is pieced together from journal scraps from three different perspectives: Klara the maid, Doctor Wolfram Von Trauerschloss, and his wife, the titular Belladonna. The Doctor’s entries are the most prominent and the most emotional. They start off describing a man who is devoted to his wife and is willing to do anything for her; then they take a dark twist as it describes the pain of losing their young son, and soon  paranoia and suspicion begin to raise their ugly heads.

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In true point-and-click style there are puzzles for you to solve, however they are far too easy and only a couple of them require some form of item combination. You stand next to some cogs with shaped holes and shaped pegs are on the wall right next to them, so it’s clear the cog with the triangle hole will only fit on the triangle shaped peg. Because of this, there are no trial and error moments and solving the puzzles aren’t as satisfying as it could be.

There is one puzzle which requires a small increase in brain activity and it’s that which could bring in the question of morality: the removal of an angry cat. It’s one of them moments where the game forces your hand to make an impossible choice. There’s no way around it. It’s akin to Mario jumping on a turtle and then kicking the shell into its friends to get past them, the only difference is that this takes longer, and the method is practically handed to you via the journal entries. As someone who was brought up playing Monkey Island and Grim Fandango, I would’ve liked a bit more challenging meat on the puzzle bone.

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Despite the lack of difficulty I actually enjoyed Belladonna. The story is easily the best thing about the game, the way it is drip fed to you á la Gone Home. The game keeps you wanting to explore and discover more. However, unlike Gone Home, the story is over way too quickly and can easily be done in under an hour. Just as you start feeling a connection with the characters the game rushes to the grand finale and it’s all over. The ending actually came as a surprise, just as something was about to happen and I was very curious as to what would happen next, it cuts to a still of the predicted future and “The End” stamped on it. The image makes you want to know how it got to that point from the game’s end. If a sequel is made I would like to see the challenges taken on from the end of Belladonna to that moment.

Review: Belladonna
Pros
  • Engaging story
  • Atmospheric Soundtrack
Cons
  • Too short
  • Puzzles lack imagination
7Overall Score
Reader Rating: (1 Vote)
4.6

About The Author

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Was born with a Commodore 64 in his mouth and never let go of the gaming sensation. Now spreads his wings around the gaming world like an angel with really big wings wrapping them around games.

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