Suburban Timewaster

I play video games and review them.

Archive for the tag “hidden object”

Christmas Stories: A Christmas Carol Collector’s Edition (Big Fish Games)

Your uncle Scrooge writes you a letter, asking you for help.  In order to grant his request, you must work with his good conscience and the ghosts of Christmas to save him from himself.  Careful, because Scrooge’s evil alter ego seeks to undermine you at every opportunity.

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, I’m sure that you’re familiar with the classic story, A Christmas Carol.  It is the tale of a rich old miser who must change his ways for the good of the world and himself.  This game chose to take a different turn by having you take the role of Scrooge’s nephew, Fred.  I’ll admit that this change is not one I’m crazy about at all.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m not against change and I do love the story Zombie Christmas Carol.  The only difference is that the zombie version managed to stick to the original theme of the story with an extra plot about the undead walking among them.  This version undermines the moral of the classic story.  In the original Christmas Carol, the three ghosts of Christmas visit Scrooge to scare him into changing his ways.  The Ghost of Christmas Past shows Scrooge his past, forcing him to observe memories from his traumatic childhood and demonstrating how it made him the man he became.  It also forces Scrooge to see the mistakes he’s made, such as choosing money over Belle, and showing the few bright spots in his life to make him see that he’s wrong.  Scrooge is helpless to change his past and the bad decisions he made, showing a deep regret for some of his choices.  The Ghost of Christmas Present shows Scrooge the life he’s missing, such as taking him to Fred’s house, and the depravity of the world he refuses to face.  It also demonstrates to Scrooge how he has the power to do something about this depravity.  The Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come takes the appearance of the grim reaper and never speaks.  This is to demonstrate how scary and unknown the future can be.  Its job is to show Scrooge the future he will have if he doesn’t change his ways.  Let me tell you, said future is not a good one.

In this game, the ghosts each make an appearance.  However, spoiler alert, you get to change Scrooge’s past.  I’m sure you remember the scene in the original story, when Belle didn’t like the man Scrooge became and broke off her engagement. Well, in this version, Scrooge tried to propose to Belle but the evil alter ego steals the ring and Belle gets angry, thinking Scrooge played a cruel joke on her.

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Don’t worry, you can get the ring and change Scrooge’s present so that he and Belle not only marry, but also get to have children of their own.  As I said earlier, the whole point of the Ghost of Christmas Past is to show Scrooge how bitterness and greed consumed him.  While Scrooge is helpless to change his past, he can still learn from it.

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The Ghost of Christmas Present asks you to take a letter to Scrooge from Bob Cratchit asking him to get medicine for Tiny Tim.  Unfortunately, said alter ego took the letter and tries to destroy the medicine.  That’s right, Scrooge’s current misery isn’t because he let greed and bitterness consume him.  It’s because a little demon goes out of his way to sabotage him at every opportunity.  The Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come makes its appearance and it talks.  The whole point of this spirit is that it doesn’t talk.  You also get to see Scrooge’s miserable present, which doesn’t make sense considering that you changed his past.  He’s not the same man anymore, so he wouldn’t have a bitter future.  There are also two other plot issues, such as Fred saying that he misses Fan.  Since she died giving birth to him, he wouldn’t remember enough about her to miss her.  Another one is that, when you first get to Scrooge’s house, he has a Christmas tree.  The whole point of the story is that Scrooge hates Christmas.  Why would he put up a tree in his house?

The Collector’s Edition comes with an extra story line where you explore kitty cat world and help Sherlock Cat find Santa Cat.  It’s An American Tail with felines.

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I’ll admit, this story is adorable but it really has no point other than to get you to shell out more money.

The game play is actually quite fun, with you going around and collecting objects to add to your inventory.  You can use them to advance throughout the story.  Some items require you to take place in a hidden object scene for you to collect.

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You also play mini games that you have the option of skipping.  If you’re stuck, use a hint.

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While this game seems like the typical hidden object formula, it also has one extra addition.  Remember Scrooge’s good conscience, who comes with you?  He can animate objects in order to help you with your quest.  In the extra storyline, this feature changes into a magnifying glass so you can collect paw prints.

This game is fun, but undermines the original story.  I give it 5 out of 10; making an adaptation that completely ignores the message severely damages the game.  However, the addictive game play makes up for it.

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Mystery Tales: The Other Side Beta Test

The Twola TV Company’s giving away free super TVs all over town.  Only issue is that the police keep getting reports about dead bodies in front of these television sets.  Is it a coincidence, or are these TVs deadly for viewing?

I’m sure you already figured out on your own that there’s something suspicious about these TVs.  The actual mystery is about what is up with these TVs.  In the first few minutes, you know something’s wrong when your partner, Natalie, passes out in front of hers.  That’s right; it’s the damsel in distress cliché.  The use of this is particularly grating when you discover that Natalie collaborated with you on several other previous cases, all of them involving the supernatural.  Wouldn’t she know better than to fall into such an obvious trap?  If that wasn’t enough, one of the characters is a scientist with anti-television views people haven’t had since the 1950s.  Needless to say, this incident actually makes his argument stronger.  Despite these plot issues, the mystery is intriguing and I really would love to solve it.

The game play is typical hidden object with you going from room to room collecting various items to use in different locations.  Some items require you to participate in hidden object scenes.  If you’re having trouble finding items, use a hint.  Let me tell you, I’ve only had to use the hint a couple of times throughout the beta test.  You can also play mini games that are easy to follow but, if not, you can skip it.  I’ve only had to skip one game, which is a good sign.  During the run, you collect notes and diary pages with only the former available for viewing.  You can read the latter when the full game comes out.

This game is addictive and intriguing.  I can see myself buying the full version in the future.

Halloween Stories: Invitation (Bigfishgames.com)

It’s Halloween, and Jane and Joe received two tickets to attend the coolest party of the year.  Unfortunately, said party turns out to be a trap as Jane and Joe find themselves locked in a creepy mansion with mysterious creatures.  Can Jane get herself and Joe out of the creepy mansion before the evil creatures set their plans in motion?

Let me say that, despite the lack of jump scares the game gives you, the story itself is terrific.  I don’t want to give anything away.  Therefore, I’ll just tell you this one little detail.  There are some people in the world that will go to any lengths to get what they want.  I mean this in a tragic way and, if you play the game, you’ll see what I mean.  As for the mysterious creatures, they call themselves Beyonders and they have an enemy in the main character.  When you play the game, you’ll discover why.

The game play is quite typical of the hidden object genre.  You go from room to room collecting items and using them in various locations.

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Some items require you to participate in some very well done hidden object scenes.

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You can also play mini-games to advance the story that vary on level of fun.  If you are stuck, use a hint.  Purchase the Collector’s Edition and you’ll discover Jane and Joe’s back-story as you conduct a séance.

This game is addictive and intriguing.  I give it 8 out of 10, not scary but well-crafted Halloween fun.

Christmas Stories-Gift of the Magi Beta Test

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When an evil spirit captures Oliver’s sister, it’s up to him to fill a magical amulet up with three good deeds to save her.  Can Oliver succeed, or will the spirit capture him as well.

The plot is your basic rescue the damsel in distress with the short story, Gift of the Magi, thrown in.  You guessed it; the first good deed is helping the couple.  Fortunately, the couple already sold their most valuable possessions to get each other gifts for Christmas.  Instead, the couple finds themselves in deep debt and you have to get them the money to fix it.

The game play is hidden object, with you going around collecting items for your inventory.  Sometimes, you have to play hidden object games in order to get one item.  If you’re stuck, use a hint.  The map is also there to guide you and believe me when I say that you’ll have to do plenty of backtracking.  This game also comes with a little helper elf who will assist you throughout the game.

This game is entertaining and still keeps the meaning of Gift of the Magi while still allowing you to help the poor couple.  I might buy the game when it comes out.

Alice in Wonderland (Bigfishgames.com)

When a young woman named Rachael buys a house, she discovers many secrets hidden within its walls. One of them being that it holds a secret world called Wonderland where a little girl named Alice rules, holding ten little girls hostage. Can Rachael save those girls, or will it be off with her head?

That’s right, I’m back and I’m not dead. I also read both Alice in Wonderland books and truly have a feel for the story. Let me just say that I love the new take on Alice in Wonderland. I love the creepy aspects of the storyline and I love how a magical world used as a child’s fantasy to get away from their life is now used as a prison that enslaves children with no hope of escape. It’s very similar to Once Upon A Time’s version of Neverland.

The gameplay is your typical hidden object. You go around, collecting items to add to your inventory. Some items require you to participate in hidden object scenes. You can also participate in mini-games, such as spot the difference and connecting pieces of a puzzle. If you’re stuck, use a hint or skip the mini-game.
This game is entertaining and slightly creepy. I give it 6 out of 10, a nice little distraction.

Worlds Apart: The Descent Beta Test

When your stepfather falls ill, it’s up to you to travel to the mystical world of Terra. Can you find a cure for him and uncover this world’s secrets?

Before we get to the review, I need to make an announcement. From now on, I’ll only be posting once a week and on Wednesdays. I recently started writing and I want to spend more time on that. Right now, I’m only working on fanfiction but I’m confident that, eventually, I’ll move up to original work.

From what I saw of the plot, it definitely looks intriguing. The game play is your typical hidden object. You go from place to place collecting items for your inventory. Some items require you to participate in a hidden object scene in order for you to collect them. You need to use these items in order to advance throughout the story. If you’re stuck, use a hint.

This game is intriguing but not really addictive. I might buy the full version.

Off the Record: Linden Shades (Bigfishgames.com)

When a mysterious figure haunts the Linden Shades orphanage, the police immediately shut the place down and send the children to foster homes. As a reporter, your job is to investigate the former site of the orphanage. Can you discover what’s going on and help reopen Linden Shades?

Playing the beta test made me want to check out the entire series. I have to say, I love the plot in this game. You never know what’s going to happen. I also like how everything’s wrapped up and the ending of this game will shock you. If you want more of the story, buy the collector’s edition.

The game play is your typical hidden object. You go from scene to scene collecting items for your inventory. You have to use what you collect in order to advance throughout the game. If you’re stuck, use a hint. The one thing that separates this game from other hidden objects is that you also collect tapes to discover more about the mystery of the story.

This game is addictive and intriguing. I give it 8 out of 10; one of the best hidden objects I’ve ever played.

Matchmaker: Joining Hearts (Bigfishgames.com)

When an old woman marries off her last single daughter, she finds herself with nothing to do. It’s not until an old friend tells her that she wants to get married that she finally finds her calling.

The plot of this game couldn’t be more simplistic. An old woman with nothing to do decides to badger other people about their lives. Instead of having her matches date each other to see if they’re compatible, she breaks into the houses of her clients and their candidates to see who should be with who. How this woman hasn’t been arrested for breaking and entering I have no idea.

The best way to describe the game play would be formulaic. You go to your client’s house to collect objects that tells you what kind of person he or she is. Then you visit the candidate’s homes to discover what type of people they are. You check off each person’s similarities to your client and collect items around the next location for a gift. Then you set up their date by putting objects in the correct location at the next scenario. You do this for 10 levels straight.

This game is addictive yet simplistic. I give it 4 out of 10; something to do when you’re bored.

Off the Record: The Art of Deception Beta Test

When a lost masterpiece resurfaces in Austria, a young artist named Lisa Steiner is put in charge of restoring it. When a reporter arrives to interview her, Lisa disappears without a trace? Perhaps there is something much darker going on than anyone realized.

That’s right, Big Fish Games sent me another beta test. I can’t say much about the plot except that there’s a huge conspiracy going on that you find yourself caught in the middle of. This is also a sequel to another game that I have not had the chance to play. The surprising thing is that I had no trouble understanding this game.

The game play is your typical hidden object. You go from scene to scene collecting items for your inventory. Some items will require you to take part in hidden object scenes. You can also play mini-games in order to advance throughout the story. If you’re stuck, use a hint.

This game is addictive and intriguing. I’m definitely buying the full game when it comes out.

Awakening: Kingdoms (iPhone App Store)

Queen Sophia’s away on another quest. As steward, it’s your job to bring Skyward Kingdom back to its former glory.

Okay, I wasn’t going to touch this game because I try to avoid free-to-play whenever possible. If Monika Guballa from Boomzap (the company that made the Awakening games) hadn’t emailed me personally, I would’ve never even played it. Like I said, instead of taking the role of Queen Sophia, you take the role of the steward. You meet characters from previous Awakening games and help them accomplish their goals.

The game play is a mixture of hidden object and building sim. You gather materials by participating in various hidden object scenes. You use the items to construct buildings throughout the land. During the game, characters will give you quests and it’s your job to complete them. You can also send messages to your friends and play mini-games in various buildings.

This game is beautiful and addictive. I give it 7 out of 10; it renewed my interest in the Awakening series.

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