A few years ago, back before the website opened and the country was placed into lockdown during the start of the pandemic, I discovered a curious title on the Nintendo e-shop known as Madorica Real Estate. As a game that strongly encouraged you to print out its floor plans, it had you solving puzzles using physical material in order to eradicate ghosts that dwelt inside the various properties.
With me scrambling across the floor scribbling notes as I tried to solve each one, I found myself having a blast and the game remains as one of my favourite indie titles on the console for that very reason.
As such, what better way to celebrate the site’s 200th review than with a review of the newly released sequel – a game that shadow dropped out of nowhere and runs equal risk of being just as obscure as the first title. Believe me, this is a game you don’t want to miss out on if you’re a puzzle game fan!
Many thanks to GIFT TEN INDUSTRY for the review code.
LOOKING FOR CLOSURE
Madorica Real Estate 2 puts you in the shoes of an Estate Agent Exorcist that aims to eradicate spirits lurking within various properties around the area. As the only agency in town that offers houses that are 100% guaranteed ghost-free, it’s up to you to clear out the area using your ability to conjure magical spells that affect the world around you. Think of it as a cross between Ghostbusters and Homes under the Hammer.
It’s a silly and nonsensical setup for what is essentially an escape room game. You enter various types of properties and have to solve the various puzzles in order to navigate the environment and learn the spell needed to eradicate the ghost residing there. The spirit won’t provide any real threat, so the game’s antagonist is your own logic skills. Spells are inputted using a combination of the d-pad and face buttons, but the need for your character’s eyes to be closed while chanting means that you’ll have to note down any spells you work out [in the handy space provided on the floor plan].
What sets this game apart from other games in the genre is the game’s requirement to use physical materials to solve many of the problems. That’s right, not only do you need printed floor plans but you’ll also need colours and scissors too from time to time. Many levels are solvable without all this, but would require a genius level of mental mapping to do so it’s recommended that you just do what the game tells you to. The drawback to this approach means that the game isn’t one you can necessarily play whilst on the toilet or on the bus, but this physical puzzle system also makes the game feel incredibly fresh and rewarding – especially if you work with other people to solve the puzzles.
IN A MANOR OF SPEAKING
Puzzles start off pretty straightforward, with the first few stages acting as a warm-up to the rest of the game. The first one in particular is almost insultingly simple and will no doubt give people the wrong impression as to how creative the game is, but that will soon change in the second level once you realise that the maps are not just there for show and will have to be manipulated if you want to succeed. The lateral thinking required for the end of this second stage will probably stump people for a while and perhaps even force them to use the game’s handy hint function, but either way players are going to get that satisfying ‘aha’ moment once they realise the rather elegant solution.
From there, the levels kick up a gear as they start to change things up. There’s a mixture of puzzle types available, and each one displays what materials you will need and what skills it will be testing. I personally let out a sigh of despair whenever I saw one that required a sense of direction, but most of the stages are challenging yet feasibly solvable for most people (especially if working as a group). There are a couple of exceptions that can be a little obtuse, and one stage in particular was incredibly hard to solve without consulting the developer. However, these moments are thankfully not frequent, and the progression system means that there will usually be multiple options for you to choose from as you work your way towards the final property.
The most impressive thing about the game though is just how much variety is on offer for a game all about finding button combinations. One can have you powering up generators or navigating a garden solving nature puzzles, but then you’ll be thrown into monochromatic levels focusing on sound (my personal favourite level in the game) or one where you’re chasing a paint dripping spirit around some tight corridors. The stages all stand apart from both each other and the ones present in the previous game too.
Even the game’s visual style, whilst simplistic, also mixes things up enough to keep things interesting. None of the stages will blow you away with how impressive they look, yet they all remain equally charming – especially when mixed with the relaxing music that makes up the soundtrack. The spirits really steal the show though, with some of these monsters being so adorable that you won’t want to eradicate them. I have to admit that my heart sank a little as I blasted the cute little frog-on-a-cloud ghost into smithereens.
But… I had a house to sell!
Madorica Real Estate 2 takes the great premise of the original and takes it to the next level. This time you’re not just encouraged to print the floor plans, it’s actually a necessity as you draw, cut, and fold your way to the right solution. It feels so good to be back in the world of real estate once more, and it’s highly recommended for puzzle fans who want a more hands-on experience.