Weirdly, I’m Hooked
BASED ON DEMO
Definitely for a niche market, this game is ultimately an almost pure HOG (Hidden Object Game), and a very primitive one at that, yet I defy anyone to say they’ve ever come across anything like it before. It had much that annoyed me, and not enough of the things I like, but I was totally caught up in this unique game.
SIGHTS & SOUNDS
Basic. Basic. Basic. The low-def graphics are a bit cartoony, oversimplified and cheap-looking. But you can see everything clearly, despite a tricky little number in the HOPs. There, the background is blurred a little, to give a false sense of depth, but it doesn’t affect the visibility of the objects. They are very clear and colourful, but sometimes craftily hidden.
The music is almost not there. You hardly notice it at all. The same is true of the background noises. But there are voiceovers, and they are excellent.
You, an eXtreme traveller, are invited to tour a spooky English mansion by a travel agency called “Excursions Of Evil”, whose idea is to visit places where acts of eXtreme evil have taken place. In this one, the butler (who else could it be?) killed everyone and then himself. Or did he? That seems doubtful from the minute you get there.
Love love love this storyline! Something truly new and fascinating!
Here we also have something truly unique. This is a HOG, there are lots of HOPs and only a few puzzles, and most of the adventure component is just getting to the next HOP. But getting there! No map. No hotspots or black bar hints. Instructions on the (difficult) puzzles, only if you click hint. And then it’s the bare minimum. Puzzle boards.
The hint gives hints. Which unfortunately isn’t much help when you can’t find your way back to the bathroom! Or when you have one item that is part of a pair needed to activate a new location. The hint will tell you to use it, but it won't leave your inventory no matter what you do. Here's hoping there's a walkthrough!
Every step of the way has been a battle for little intermediate me, even on easy mode. If they can forgive all the HOPs, the “no pain, no gain” crowd should have a ball with this one.
BUT...You do have a cell phone. On it you keep the emails, voicemails and games you receive. The games crop up as part of the story, and are of the arcade sort where speed counts – drop matching(?) kind, and a “paddle” one, and a “zuma” kind of game. These are then playable at any time for ‘fun’. Again, no instructions.
As well, there are jokers to be found and collected, which you can use to keep going after failing in one of these games. At some point, it seems, high scores on these games will become important, but I haven’t figured all that out yet.
There are some really annoying things about this game (aside from its general unhelpfulness). Using an inventory item, you don’t just click on it and then on where to use it, you must drag it there. HATE that.
And the odd ways of going into and out of a location had me wandering in and out all over the place, unable to orient myself without a map to help me. And there is usually only one thing to be done in each room, boorriing.
The opening of the game forces a tutorial on you, but it is the digest version and is relatively quick and painless.
Irresistible! I must be getting sick or something, I actually spent precious demo time improving my score on one of the games! And I get a very “Brink of Consciousness: Dorian Gray Syndrome” vibe from the bad guy.
Not a crowd pleaser, this game is nevertheless unique and clever and involving. Among the adventurous, it might well be a hit! However, this is one game you really do need to try before you buy! I Recommend This Game!