GAME NAME: The Delusions of Von Sottendorff and His Square Mind
DEVELOPER(S): Delirium Studios
PUBLISHER(S): Delirium Studios
PLATFORM(S): Nintendo 3DS
GENRE(S): Puzzles, Strategy
RELEASE DATE(S): Dec 17, 2015
Baron Von Sottendorff is definitely off his rocker. In the various spaces of his lavishly decorated home, the very rooms move and connect like a slide puzzle. But is it all in his head? Probably.
When The Delusions of Von Sottendorff and His Square Mind starts up, the game suggests the use of headphones for the “full holophone sound experience!” I’m not 100% sure what that means, but I imagine it has something to do with the game’s narration seemingly moving from side to side or even behind you with headphones on. It seems like it would be annoying, but it’s really not. Neither is it overly special, if I’m being completely honest.
As I mentioned before, rooms in Von Sottendorff’s house move and slide, and that’s where you, the player, come in. The gameplay is a mix of puzzle-solving and platforming, with the pendulum swinging more on the puzzle-solving side of things. The idea is to arrange rooms so that their doors connect, allowing Sottendorff to proceed from room to room, locate a key needed to unlock the way out, and then find that way out. There are 3 camera views to help you achieve these objectives: a close zoom, a medium zoom, and a far zoom. The latter is where you want to be when rearranging rooms, while the former two let you move Sottendorff around in the 3-D space of those rooms.
It’s just as well the puzzles are well put together, because platforming in The Delusions of Von Sottendorff and His Square Mind is poorly executed. Taking cues from the Super Mario series, the baron can jump on enemies to take them out, although he usually needs to jump from a higher plane to succeed in this. Other times, he has to jump on a floating enemy to clear a gap. Since hit detection in this game is certifiably wonky, not to mention Sottendorff is a painfully sluggish jumper, these instances are messy and downright frustrating.
Unfortunately, the problems don’t stop there. The game’s camera angles and blocking make navigating the game world a huge pain. For one thing, controlling the camera’s distance feels clumsy due to its insistence on using two buttons, and for another, no one camera zoom will feel comfortable for an extended time period; the reason for this is that the medium zoom is too far away, yet the close zoom causes foreground objects to become obtrusive.
On a positive note, The Delusions of Von Sottendorff and His Square Mind is pretty content-rich for such a low-profile release. There are plenty of locations and individual levels to puzzle your way through, and the story that slowly unfolds as you do so is intriguing.
Ignoring the camera and platforming issues, the core gameplay in The Delusions of Von Sottendorff and His Square Mind can add up to a satisfying experience for anyone starved for a puzzle game. Unfortunately, I’m pressed to believe you’d have to be well and truly starved to get past its faults.