The Late D. Flate’s Great Estate has a very long, unwieldy name. But it rhymes, so that’s already a point in its favor. Another point in its favor is that it’s an interesting, sometimes challenging, occasionally frustrating puzzler that plays by its own rules. That’s probably a bigger point, in all fairness.
The game sees you trying to find special treasures in the titular estate. You’re using balloons to do it, attaching them to boxes, doors and other mechanical contraptions, solving puzzles as you go. It’s an interesting core mechanic, and more than enough to set the game apart from other, similar puzzlers.
You drag the balloons around by a stretch of rope, which you can then attach to other items. You can pop a balloon by tapping it, or letting it get too close to some spikes, and untie the knot that’s connecting it in the same way.
Levels are a combination of dragging balloons through mazes of pointy things, and using physics to get a box to a portal. It starts off simple, but as you get deeper into the experience you need to be fast and smart if you want to get to the end of the level.
There are annoyances here. It’s sometimes hard to get balloons past the spikes, and the rope dangling from them has a habit of sticking to things you don’t want it to. And sometimes it feels less like you’re solving a problem and more like you’re bodging a less satisfying solution.
But when The Late D. Flate’s Great Estate gets things right, it’s a whip-smart puzzler that ticks all of the right boxes. There are stars to collect on every level for completing in within certain parameters, and you’ll feel pushed to do just that. All-in-all, there’s a lot to like here if you can get past the more fiddly, frustrating aspects.