Several pleasantly creepy experiences await the adventurous in Amber: Journeys Beyond. If you're fascinated by poltergeists and unexplained phenomena, or simply enjoy sitting alone in the dark and listening for things that go bump in the night, playing this spooky game from Hugh Forest Entertainment might have you sleeping with the lights on - at least for a little while.
Set in a house in the North Carolina mountains, Amber is a modern-day ghost hunt where merely observing poltergeist activity has expanded to include interacting with it. Amber gives players an intriguing paranormal experience. What begins as a response to a friend's concern develops into a journey to rescue souls.
As you explore the house and the surrounding property seeking clues to your friend's plight, you realize quickly that you are not alone. Strange things are happening and as you figure out how to use your basic equipment, things get stranger. Without giving too much away, I can say that you will learn the history of the souls haunting the house from an up-close-and-personal point of view. Each died a tragic death and is trapped in a purgatory-like state. To help them move into the afterlife, you must solve a series of well-integrated and moderately challenging puzzles. The souls in and of themselves are plenty intriguing - watching the gardener's lifeless body swinging slowly from the rafters, all because he couldn't get a date, makes your life seem a whole lot better.
While it may look like a Myst-ical experience, Amber's graphics and sound effects transcend the typical point-and-click static screens encountered in so many adventure games. The richly textured environment is sprinkled with eerie video segments of supernatural activities, like objects flying around in the house and talking bees. It all combines into an engrossing, captivatingly wicked time.
Sadly, the game is not without disappointments. It's simply not long enough. With a few more spiritual encounters and puzzles, Amber could have been a great game, not just a good one. Worse still, the final sequence is pathetically anticlimactic compared to the rest of the game. Even so, if you're looking for a few hours of torturous fun, Amber is definitely worth considering. If anything, it'll keep you wondering what really does go bump in the night.