MazM: The Phantom of The Opera (Nintendo Switch) Review

By Nayu 24.01.2022

Review for MazM: The Phantom of The Opera on Nintendo Switch

First written as a serial novel in September 1909, the fictional tale behind MazM: The Phantom of the Opera has had multiple retellings including a long running musical by Sir Andrew Lloyd Webber still in production since 1986, a Broadway show, plus over ten film versions throughout the twentieth and twenty-first century. It was merely a matter of time before this popular horror thriller entered the gaming world from Growing Seeds and CFK Co Ltd. Set in early twentieth century Paris, it follows the drama in the Opera house, as new owners discover they are not free to run the place however they like, as there is indeed the Phantom whose threats of death are not idle. The story focuses on a young chorus singer, Christine, the roles she is given in production, and how her friends and colleagues treat her as a result of The Opera Ghost's fascination with her.

From the start CFK stays true to the original tale while maintaining its own spin on events by having a detective investigate the strange goings on, who has an absurd hat in the same shape as the Phantom of the Opera's hat, but the detective's identity is forever a mystery. Given the severe disfigurement of the Phantom, and what happens to him, it couldn't be him, but they do have a similar build. The detective meets Baroness Castelot Barbezac, who helps tell the tale of what happened in the past.

Every so often the story returns to the duo, but predominantly it is told in real time at the theatre, with character movement carried out by the player. The plot is a delight for those who know the main story, as all elements from the novel are referenced including more obscure scenes that other productions omit. Christine, a simple chorus girl with an incredible voice, gets asked to sing the main role in the next opera. Other members of the opera house take offense to this, but anyone trying to thwart Christine has mysterious goings on occur courtesy of the Phantom of the Opera, also known as the Opera Ghost (OG).

Screenshot for MazM: The Phantom of The Opera on Nintendo Switch

MazM: The Phantom of the Opera explores the predominant role of jealousy in a theatre, especially of those who succeed. Camaraderie of specific groups are also central to the story: the chorus girls stick together and help Christine as best they can despite the consequences from both the managers, the Phantom and other theatre members. Melodramatic Jammes is a ballet dancer with an amusing personality that adds timely humour to the horror story. Her bravery and gumption is remarkable. Her friend Sorelli, a solo dancer with much talent, adds amusement with the way she spells out words.

Together with Christine they form a friendship group of four along with Meg Giry who is the principal dancer, but is not all that talented: her mother is a force to be reckoned with, and is why she has to work so hard for each performance. At various moments in the game Sorelli has some bravery in the form of keeping a dagger with her at all times and not being afraid to use it against the Phantom or whoever else is in their path. Their relationship with Christine feels extremely close and caring in stark contrast to the at times outright hatred that other performers and theatre staff hold against the favouritism the Phantom has for her.

For part of the story the Phantom is mentioned and referenced but not seen that often. As the plot progresses that changes. Through his actions, his obsession with Christine is evident and causes harm to befall any opposing him, whether or not the perceived threat is valid. Regardless of the malicious nature of his punishments, both they and how he traverses the theatre without being seen have to be given credit for the genius behind the mechanics. His moral compass is severely lacking, but his mind is a marvel.

Screenshot for MazM: The Phantom of The Opera on Nintendo Switch

Christine's secret boyfriend Raoul can be hot-headed, but his heart is in the right place. He truly loves her, and he never gives up trying to help Christine, no matter the danger it puts him in with the Phantom or the odious managers whose actions are at best vile and at worst a detriment to the running of the theatre. They learn the hard way that you do not mess with a determined dancer and the rest of the corps de ballet. Carlotta, who is used to being the primary soloist singer is never happy, and her expressions show how horrid she is on the inside and outside.

The minimalistic yet clear tutorial is unintrusive, easy to follow, and can be reviewed at any time from the main menu. The game itself is set out like a play with overtures and intermissions each with a music specific title. Main episodes hold the key story, and require completion for progression. Extra episodes are optional, as they add some details not in the main story - but why anyone would want to skip them is a mystery because they add a lot to the experience. It is possible to make poor choices and not get all the explanation of what happened, and the chapters could be played out of order, but doing so would be nonsensical. The ability to choose what to play makes it easier to replay a chapter for one hundred per cent story completion, since some choices made will affect whether all the secrets and truth in a chapter are revealed.

Screenshot for MazM: The Phantom of The Opera on Nintendo Switch

Lying at the bottom of the screen the menu provides options to access information about characters, and the tale in the footnotes section which becomes extensive as the story progresses, including information about individuals, and their relationships with other key characters. There are notes about key incidents and historical points too; concepts that may not be known by all players are explained, such as areas of the world and scientific definitions. All this data enhances and helps provide a fuller understanding of the game for everyone regardless of prior knowledge of the tale. Previous story points can be reread at any time in the review section of the menu, and key moments have full screen images that can be seen at any point from the main menu. Game options including basic sound management, changing the language to one of seven options including English, and finally an option to wipe all of the current game data.

The graphics are beautiful to look at, and it is almost always clear where to go and what needs to be interacted with. There are multiple cute cats lounging around the opera who are not there simply to look pretty. Clicking on them provides a token to have a hint on what to do next, which is not really needed, but the inclusion is a comfort for players who would like more direction. The game is predominantly an active visual novel, so there is no fighting but there are puzzles to solve. Some are easy puzzles in the form of news articles, a button has to be pressed at the right time on the highlighted squiggle to reveal key words then the whole article is uncovered. If unsuccessful the process is repeated until all the key words are successfully highlighted, then revealing a longer text.

The other puzzles involve searching rooms for clues to whatever the characters are trying to find out. Sometimes the clues are not obvious and take a bit of finding. At relevant times in the plot there are inserts of opera singing which are exquisite. The full song is never played but enough is heard to understand the atmosphere, which in turn may encourage players to investigate the operas mentioned. The music and sound effects are excellent and feel even more vital to the title than other games because of the musical nature of the original tale. Ambient sounds contribute greatly to the intense nature of some scenes.

Screenshot for MazM: The Phantom of The Opera on Nintendo Switch

Cubed3 Rating

9/10
Rated 9 out of 10

Exceptional - Gold Award

Rated 9 out of 10

The combination of an atmospheric musical score, eye-pleasing graphics, remaining true to the original novel and adding well timed humour and melodrama, makes MazM: The Phantom of the Opera a captivating puzzle adventure on Nintendo Switch. The ability to play it in handheld mode or on the TV makes it even easier to continue playing the at times nail-bitingly tense thriller, which is hard to put down once started.

Developer

Growing Seeds

Publisher

CFK

Genre

Adventure

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  9/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date None   Australian release date Out now   

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