Mystery Age: The Dark Priests
(Adventure/FROG, which morphs to IHOG)
*Disclaimer: I own the first Mystery Age game (Imperial Staff), but have only played the demo of it thus far, so I can't make comparisons!
Entering the game takes you right to a cut-scene, which is skippable (though you can't click through it) and replayable. The game takes place 30 years after the first game.
First Impression: What a beautiful intro screen!
Rich colors in a lush forest, just lovely... I was tempted to make a wallpaper out of it, but decided I didn't want the buttons (don't feel like editing them out
Options include sound effects, music, full-screen and custom cursor. You can also access the credits from the options screen.
There is no mis-click penalty; HINTS are refillable
There is an optional tutorial, which I skipped.
The first screen is very simple, with only two bits of interaction, but sets the tone for the game. Dark Priests starts out as an Adventure-esque FROG, with both typical adventure movements/interaction and fragmented object scenes with the items you need to find pictured at the bottom of the screen.
A small gripe is that when you put together an item and USE it (it goes to your inventory once complete), the developers apparently really want you to notice what's been hidden (wherever) for it will flash for a few seconds before you are able to take whatever-it-is. I'd have liked to be able to click it right away, but it's not a source of frustration... just my impatience shining through. lol~
At this point I must take a break so that I can go purchase the game...
OK, that's done
Those who follow my game reviews know that I am not a huge fan of FROG's, but this game is beautiful, compelling... The only other game I can compare it to is Curse of the Briar Rose
. And I'm only 20 minutes into the game!
Fragmented objects are not the usual "just click on anything that looks out-of-place", but are well-hidden in the scene without being impossible to find. Nothing is jarringly out-of-place or out-of-time, which I really love.
I do wish there was a no-sparkles option, but at least the sparklies are not blatant.
I remember that the first game was a FROG, but this is more. This is an adventure. It is very straightforward at first, but that doesn't last for long. Soon you'll be wondering which way to go and what you're supposed to do, but there's nothing frustrating about this game. It all makes sense and is linear enough that you can figure it all out on your own. Like any good adventure game, there are things you'll need to remember and places you'll have to revisit. There is no map, but the graphics are so lovely, who cares?
You have a journal to help you keep track of the story and important points, but it doesn't give you unsolicited hints (something else I appreciate!).
The graphics are stunning, the music is environmental, and the developers added in a little something extra in every scene - small animals you can interact with that are not actually part of the story. A "click on the X and watch it X in response" type of thing. Little things that say, "This game is something special."
I highly, highly recommend trying this game, whether you are an IHOG-lover or FROG-lover... and since I'm told this game becomes an IHOG later on, IHOG/FROG-lovers especially should try this out!
And now, I return you to your regularly-scheduled reviews, and *I* return to this amazing game!
EDIT #2: Now that I have played the game for a while I see that the game does, indeed, become an IHOG (find items on a list). However, the game later goes back and forth between IHOG and FROG.
This really is an excellent game!