Classic iHOG Meets Modern Expectations****
BASED ON DEMO
This is not a Hidden Object Puzzle Adventure (HOPA) like that which we see most often here, but a purely Hidden Object game, with some dressing up with puzzles and story for added entertainment. So it doesn’t start off with a spectacular car wreck or wild and stormy weather, but a simple story of a woman who has found a magic book in the Antique Shop, left to her by her Uncle.
The game looks quite good. Nicely done art, I thought, along realism lines. Many items are far too small, however, and too many scenes are of the outside – always difficult to search. The music is classy, and relaxing. The cursor is a major drag – literally and figuratively. The drag was the worst I’ve ever encountered, but there is a slider to correct it. Unfortunately, even at maximum correction, mine still lagged a little. There is the choice also of a system cursor.
The game is also not widescreen, but does have panels of appropriate wallpaper – that clashed, for my tastes.
This is a direct sequel, and I must say that if story was really important in this game, the back history was not handled all that well. But story is just for decoration. The game doesn’t follow a coherent logical line, but skips all over the place between visions, places we have been to and places we’ve yet to see, with little rhyme or reason.
The game’s structure is Classic HOG. Each step forward in the story is marked by a HO scene. Once complete, it unlocks another, and/or a simple puzzle. And usually more talk. The new scenes are presented postcard like in our journal. This takes us to the only allowable destination on each occasion.
The talk is plentiful. Far too much if you are not trying to keep up with the story – and I gave up trying to do that because it was so all-over-the-place. It was done beautifully though. The lead character’s voice is lovely to listen to and eminently suited to the times. The others Are equally pleasantly exotic.
Each HO scene has a word list of required items, and includes a smaller Close Up scene, which is fun. It has its own mini-list of objects to be found, and it also has a minimal capacity to be looked at 3 dimensionally, wiggling it about with the aid of arrows on the sides. This tiny skill is necessary to find all the objects on the shorter list.
There is also in each general location a “soul object” which is required to release the tormented souls in the book. Once it is found, whether you have found all the items on the list or not, the scene is complete.
There are little puzzles straight out of the classic iHOGs of years ago – word find, spot the difference, match 3, and find silhouettes – interspersed among the HOs. The scenes are repeated, but with either a magnifier or a light, or a special monocle (?) that shows up invisible items.
There is a hint which is unlimited and quick to refill. There is a clock on the ‘dash’ that indicates your time zone’s actual time, not a timer, and is there, I assume, in case you get carried away *wink*.
I am not a fan of the classic HOG game. But this, I recognize, is a very nicely done version. It meets the modern need for quality art and variation, while remaining loyal to the idea and framework of the Classics. For fans, and I know there are many, I think this is a winner.
I recommend this game!