Creaks (opens in new tab) is the latest puzzle game from Amanita Design and it's a bit of a different direction for the Czech studio. The developers are known for point-and-click adventures like Samorost, Machinarium, Botanicula, and one of our hidden gems of PC gaming in 2019, Pilgrims. These games tell tales of gnomes who play magical flutes, a robot in search of his mechanical counterpart, and bug friends on an adventure to save their tree home—miniature adventures full of quirky characters in whimsical worlds.
Then you have Creaks, an eerie puzzle platformer in which you explore a subterranean mansion that's home to deadly furniture monsters. You need to make your way through the mansion's labyrinth of rooms in search of a way back to your home on the surface. It's a totally different vibe to Amanita Design's previous works, but like the others it's offbeat and features wonderfully weird music—and in this case the score has a special role to play.
Composed by Scottish musician Joe Acheson as part of his Hidden Orchestra project, Creaks' music is filled with gorgeous, haunting sounds: deep synths, the strumming of sitars, and the soft hum of xylophones. But Acheson's eclectic music is more than an accompaniment: It also acts as a clever hint system for Creak's devious puzzles.
As you progress through a puzzle room, musical flourishes let you know when you're heading in the right direction. When you've successfully completed a correct sequence of moves you'll hear the tinkling of piano keys or the introduction of rhythmic percussion, giving you a small confirmation that you're on the right track. These melodic teases work so well that I finished Creaks in two evenings, its musical flourishes coaxing me forward every time I hit a snag.
Hearing the introduction of a new melody can sometimes indicate that you've solved a puzzle before you've even realised it yourself. It's a joy to listen to as you progress, and when you do finally get to the other side of the room, the musical score has become layered with wonderfully distinct instruments—it's pretty awesome.
Amanita Design's games are entirely wordless, and Creaks is no exception, so the music has to do a lot of communication. It both works brilliantly as a guide through Creaks' trickiest brain teasers, and makes for good listening on its own. Amanita has a gorgeous collection of game soundtracks already and Creak's compositions are a great addition to the anthology. If you want to hear the score outside of the game, you can find ways to listen on the Hidden Orchestra website (opens in new tab).