Gray Matter is a throw-back to a type a game we just don’t get enough of anymore (I blame Telltale), the point & click.
Created by the famous Jane Jensen who is responsible for the Gabriel Knight series the story revolves around magic, the paranormal & neurobiology.
For most of the game the player controls Sam, an aspiring magician who is travelling to London when a broken sign mis-directs her to Oxford & her motorbike breaks down in a storm. She takes refuge inside a mansion called Dread Hill owned by Professor Styles. In the morning the house-keeper mistakes her for a student from Oxford University answering the professors ad for a research assistant.
Needing the money & repairs for her bike Sam decides to play along & work for the strange & elusive Professor Styles.
The game is split into chapters where an objective has to be completed in order to advance. There are also bonus objectives that can also be completed but aren’t necessary. The major objective is for Sam to recruit 6 students from the University to take part in the Professor’s studies. Through doing this Sam will find out about the Professor’s hidden past & help him move on from the death of his beloved wife.
Gameplay is made up of classic point & click elements with shades of magic thrown in. Exploration, puzzle solving & talking with characters is predominately what you will be doing but with such a variety it is never boring. In fact the magic side of the puzzles is very clever & fun as you begin to piece the entire trick together.
Gray Matter is a pretty looking game with accurate renditions of Oxford locations filled with loads of detail. Characters appear fully-fleshed out with interesting stories of their own & you can’t help wishing for more freedom in town then it allows.
With a game trying to sell itself on story it had better be good & Gray Matters is fascinating if not a bit overtly-complicated at times. I really enjoyed delving into the Professors past & trying to work out if something super-natural was actually going on.
Voice acting is great as well but not really that memorable beyond Sam & the Professor.
Another major plus for Gray Matter is the top drawer music that sticks in your head long after you’ve heard it. Every piece of music fits the scene perfectly with the magic shop/club standing out particularly.
Unfortunately the game is a toughie & many of the puzzles can leave you stumped for long periods of time. If you do preserver without a guide your feeling of reward lasts only as long as the next brain-scratching section.
As classic a point & click as you are ever going to get in the modern era of gaming. Wonderfully told with great visuals let down only by its shortness, lack of replay-ability & mis-steps in story.