According to ESRB, this game contains: Alcohol and Tobacco Reference, Blood, Mild Violence, Mild Language

Although taking the wise option of leaving the horror largely unseen may still not make Scratches as terrifying as the creators had liked, it does at least make the game palatable for a wider audience, and though its themes and imagery are dark, the game avoids explicit horror enough for Parents to be satisfied with its Teen rating. Appropriately, the environments are only as frightening as the player is willing to imagine them.

Adventure game fans might well be tempted by the promise of a claustrophobic and tense gothic horror, and for the most part Scratches delivers. But this is an adventure game in the still-screen tradition of Myst, which, despite its freedom of camera movement, is likely to display a stultifying lack of dynamism for anyone weaned on more exotic third-person adventures. Though for what it's worth, the game rarely overreaches itself by looking for jumps and jolts, or otherwise betraying its sedate pace and well-suited conventions.

Deaf and Hard of Hearing gamers can rest assured that descriptions are all text-based and the unconscionably bad voice acting is restricted to phone calls, which are also transcribed onscreen. However, the atmosphere will suffer from being largely created by the game's minimal soundtrack and evocative sound effects. More importantly, there are at least two points in the game that require the player to track an unsubtitled sound to its source, which is likely to throw up some horribly confusing moments for some players and make an FAQ essential.

Andrew Fletcher
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