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The Gatekeeper

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Rating: 4.1/5 (112 votes)
Comments (10) | Views (42,222)

The Gatekeeper

Matthew's grandmother wants him to take on the family business she left behind, something Matthew is surprised to hear considering he just came back from her funeral. In Carmel Games' spooky point-and-click adventure The Gatekeeper, Matthew's going to become a ghost hunter like his grandmother whether he likes it or not, starting with an evil spirit haunting a hotel. To play, just click on things to interact, and click two items in your inventory to try to combine them. The cursor will change when it passes over something you can use, so don't worry about pixel hunting. Or haunting, for that matter, since despite the game's morbid subject matter it's not particularly scary, though there are a few attempts at jump scares to be had. Carmel Games rarely try to play it straight when it comes to subject matter for their games, and they've managed to craft a sufficiently creepy atmosphere here. Most of the puzzles make sense, though some small items are hidden in the dark a bit too often, and while it's over too soon, hopefully Matthew's adventures will be even bigger and scarier from here on out.

Play The Gatekeeper


About the tiles and gravestones -

You only need four tiles. They can be placed on all three gravestones, but they only fit correctly on one. The scrapbook will help you figure out the correct dates.


A bit short, I was just getting interested and it was over. Nice little game though.



1. Turn on the AC from the panel next to the clock.
2. Take the diary from the couch and combine it with the page.
3. Answer the phone and go to the hotel
4. Check the box next to the receptionist and find the objects inside.
5. Use the button on the elevator and get in.
6. Once in the basement, take the brick from the ground, the coin from the record player and the tiny rock from the ground, next to the pipes.
7. Proceed forward until you reach the stairs. Pick up the tiny rock from the ground and use the brick on the door.
8. Take the tiny rock from the table on the second floor.
9. Go to the bar, use the coin on the fortune telling machine and take the piece of paper.
10. Go back home and look for a book called “Lost Soul” in the shelves above the couch. You’ll find some lock picks inside.
11. Go back to the hotel’s basement and use the lock picks on the locked box and take the hammer.
12. Head back to the stairs and remove the painting from the wall. Use the hammer on the peepholes and take the blender, sealed box and tiny rock.
13. Give the blender to the bartender and take the mug from the table.
14. Go back to the basement and give the cross to the priest.
15. Fill the mug with water from the leaking pipe and give it to the priest.
16. Put the tiny stones on the left gravestone.
17. Combine the box with the scripture and Cain’s coin.
18. Put the trap on the gravestone and use the holy water on it.


In general this was fun to play, like all Carmel Games are, but also it was a MAJOR DISAPPOINTMENT. As nikikinz above said it was too short but there were more problems than just that. Hopefully someone from the game company is reading this.

My biggest concern I will save for last [if you think this is TL;DR just skip to the bottom of the comment], but there are quite a few "minor" concerns that really aren't that minor:

* For one thing (and this is not a spoiler) there is a possible unfair advantage to people who speak French -- I do not -- since something in the game is spoken (audio) in French with no translation. I even replayed the game in French to see if maybe the audio would switch to another language but it did not. If you are going to use a "mysterious" language you should use one nobody actually knows.

(Can someone here translate that audio into a SPOILER comment?)

* Speaking of language (again not a spoiler) there are a LOT of misspelled words in the written English captions text, and some totally wrong words as well (one example is "gustes" instead of "guests" in both text and audio -- I think that is Spanish?).

* One last thing on language, there is a scene where

the priest speaks in Latin

but he completely mispronounces several words just based on the spelling alone. Very sloppy audio work there.

The Carmel game mechanics worked rather well as always but there were some game design problems:

* There was a horrible lack of color contrast on some items. This is disrespectful of those game players who are color-blind/color-challenged.

In the Grandmother's house when you

turn on the blacklight

the writing is almost impossible to see

both on the door and on the ceiling.

At the hotel when you

search through the lost & found box

the list is VERY difficult to see if you are color-challenged, especially between dimmed and not-dimmed items.

Once you reveal hidden texts in a game, then by all means show them clearly!

* I found myself wondering a lot about the characters' details:

The hotel owner is dressed as a bellboy?

and his story (especially the dates, which don't synch with other clues) is rather confusing.

The bartender has been on duty for a full week already but the hotel is not due to open for yet another week?

The priest doesn't do anything except

bless the water

and that he does badly both because

his Latin is terrible as mentioned above


he willingly does it in a skull mug.

* There are a lot of "red herrings" and "checkov's guns" in this game, which is NOT typical for Carmel Games.

In the Grandmother's house these include

the clock with movable hands


the blacklight ceiling writing.

I would also add

the blacklight writing on the door

because even though that is clearly explained in the dialog, why put it there at all?

At the hotel there are

the dark stairs going up


the owl statue

, and

the cocktail lounge poster


NONE of these items seem to play any role in the game whatsoever!

Which leads me to my BIGGEST concern/issue with the game: This game feels incomplete. It feels like it was rushed out the door to hit an arbitrary deadline. It feels like Carmel Games didn't really care about the quality of the work, which translates as they didn't care about the users of the game. The final scene (one last time, not a spoiler) makes it clear they intend to follow up with a sequel to this game. If that sequel is

going back to the hotel and exploring the upstairs

then this was not a real game, it was just a teaser. If this was a teaser then they should have labeled it as such! and teaser-or-not they should have done a lot better work finishing the game, spellchecking and proofing the dialog, thinking about the logic of the characters and the story, and generally doing what they have done well in the past. If their next game is as badly done as this one was, I will not be playing anything with their name on it again.


I am stunned by the above critique ... This is a FREE game! If you don't like it, don't play it.

If you have a constructive criticism (or two), that's fine, but this novel-length diatribe is downright ungrateful!

I like Carmel Games a lot. Their stuff is always offbeat and unexpected, and their production values are top-notch.

RamblinRob March 8, 2016 2:42 AM replied to Lynne Hammar

Just because something is free doesn't give it an excuse to be poor quality. I agree with all the above critiques (especially about the red herrings in Grandma's House) and believe they are justified in voicing them. They could potentially create a better game or make improvements on a sequel if they listen.

niesh217412 September 29, 2016 1:41 PM

ok? when i found the elevator number and tried to use the elevator..what to do after find it?

Alix November 9, 2016 11:09 AM replied to Qruntsh

Qruntsh, I think a lot of the out of place or unnecessary items in this game are actually references to horror movies and books. For example,

the bartender Lloyd is from the movie The Shining, based on the book The Shining which can be seen in the grandmother's library. I don't want to say more since you probably didn't see the movie. It's a very good movie in my opinion, you should definitely watch it :)

I have not seen enough horror movies to place all the references, but I think this explains a lot of other weird artifacts and characters in the game, like

the 'random' dates of the bellboy, the priest, the french speaking, ect..

And I would say this game is not a teaser, but more the first part of a bigger installment. In any case I am looking forward to play the follow up.


Does anyone even know what the voice in the elevator is saying?


That Shining reference? There's also one in Midnight Cinema, and who knows how many other Carmel games?

smratguy August 30, 2019 5:44 AM replied to Qruntsh

Not going to comment on your lengthy diatribe, except to say:

(a) I'm also colour-blind and didn't have a significant problem with the game in that respect, as I often do; and

(b) with respect to viewing the writing on the ceiling in grandmother's apartment, it can be zoomed in on and read quite easily. It's another "Checkov's gun", anyway. And by the way, for a person so concerned about proper spelling, you've misspelled "Chekhov".

Maybe your form of colour-blindness is different from mine, but I had no issues with this particular game.


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