While this puzzle-driven adventure game seemed promising with an intriguing premise, the flawed controls and unfair puzzles really hold this game back from making the grade. In The Academy: The First Riddle, you play as Sam, a new student at an elite private school. But while this could've been a great opportunity for you to better yourself, you spend much of your scholastic energy solving the mystery of the school, one that may be paranormal in nature. That's why, instead of reading, writing, and 'rithmetic, you spend your time exploring, talking to people, and solving various intellectual puzzles.
As enticing as this all may sound, though, it doesn't always work well. While it's easy to navigate school grounds by tapping, this also has virtual joystick-type controls that are frustratingly awkward. Similarly, while some of the puzzles are clever, and there's a wide variety of these brain teasers, some of the bonus questions are unfair (though they're also easily bypassed). The first one, for instance, has a pencil broken into four pieces, and asks how many pieces of tape it would take to fix. But if you answer 3, which is what you'd need to reassemble the whole pencil, you're wrong; the answer is 1, since you only need the point and eraser parts to work. All of which is why, after playing the free version of The Academy: The First Riddle, many players won't spend the real-world money needed to re-enroll for the second and third parts of this game.