The House of Da Vinci by Blue Brain Games is a 3D puzzle game based around the contraptions imagined by Leonardo da Vinci¹. Not all of these contraptions were realized, but now you get to see and experience some of them in-game plus a lot of other clever mechanisms, hidden passages, and so on. It’s a pretty relaxing game (except for a few action cutscenes) and most puzzles are based on keen observation. There is a bit of story to motivate you if you don’t find the puzzles to be enough, but I played this for the puzzles and the contraptions.
As soon as I saw this game’s title I was immediately drawn to it, but I am a little biased — not in any direct sense of the word (I’m in no way affiliated with the developers), but because Leo and I have a bit of a history together: as a kid I didn’t care so much about the typical celebrities or popstars, and if I ever had any idols at all, it would have been all dead guys like Archimedes or da Vinci himself, but probably not those either, because the person behind an idea didn’t interest me as much as the idea itself² (although da Vinci being a fellow leftie³ did matter too, so little me wasn’t entirely consistent…). Anyway, as a child I was fascinated by scale models and mechanical contraptions, so this game, with its fullscale realizations, is a large part of my childhood packed into one neat little package.
It is hard not to mention The Room⁴ and The Room Two by Fireproof Games when reviewing this, because The House of Da Vinci is very similar in style and it does borrow a bit. I haven’t played the Room series (I’ve only watched it being played), so The House of Da Vinci was a fresh experience for me.
¹You know, that Renaissance guy who did the smiling dame, wrote backwards, and did a whole bunch of other crazy shit. He was a pretty big deal in his time, but, like so many other artists from this era, he’s probably more known today than he ever was during his lifetime.
²Which reminds me of a story, “Det hemliga sällskapet“, by Swedish writer and pataphysicist Claes Hylinger, in which a philosopher, after he decides to become an idiot, is met with fame and fortune. Students call him all the time wanting to study under “such an interesting personality“, but he calls them idiots and tell them to become interesting themselves (“Idiots! Become interesting yourselves!“), which could be interpreted as him simply telling them to go fuck themselves — which might also be all there is — but I interpreted it more along the lines of pretentious bullshit like “don’t waste your time basking in the glory of others, because that will only hinder your own growth” (or maybe “become your own person” or “don’t pedestal anyone”). I read this story long after I had already grown up, so little me was never influenced by it, but it made me think about what I was like back then.
³Da Vinci being naturally left handed has been subject to debate, though.
⁴The game, not the movie. 😉