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Mysterious adventure game Creaks arrives next week

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Explore a spooky subterranean structure full of puzzles

a bird blowing a trumpet while a man watches through a hole in a wall in Creaks
Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance), dir. Alejandro González Iñárritu
Image: Amanita Design

Creaks, the new game from Machinarium and Chuchel developer Amanita Design, will be released July 22 on Mac, Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, Windows PC, and Xbox One, the studio announced Tuesday.

Amanita Design introduced Creaks to the world with a trailer more than 18 months ago, but the project has been in development for far longer — eight years, according to lead designer Radim Jurda. The Czech studio is renowned for puzzle-based adventure games with gorgeous handcrafted worlds, and while Creaks follows in that tradition, its control scheme represents a major departure from the company’s history: The game blends Amanita’s puzzle adventure DNA with some light platforming elements, so instead of relying on a point-and-click setup, you control its character directly.

Creaks begins with a blond-haired man reading at his desk, and quickly unfolds into an eerie adventure as the man explores the sprawling mansion that apparently lies beneath his home (and the eponymous monsters — or are they merely furniture? — within). I’ve spent some time with a preview build of Creaks, and it drew me in from the very beginning with a strong mystery hook (what is going on in this massive underground structure, and who are those bird-people?) as well as a creeping sense of dread (why is the building shaking and, well, creaking?).

The creaks are intimidating and spooky without being too scary, especially since they turn into harmless furniture as soon as they get hit by a beam of light. (Kids will likely find this game enchanting and even amusing, as long as they can get over the creepy ambiance.) The puzzles so far are the right amount of difficult; sometimes, it’s actually as much of a challenge to execute on the platforming required to solve a puzzle as it is to figure out the solution in the first place.

If this sounds enticing, you don’t actually have to wait until next week to play Creaks. The game debuted on Apple Arcade on Friday, July 10, so you can play it on an Apple device right now as long as you subscribe to the service.