Forgotten Places: Regained Castle
An interactive hidden object game with a slightly rough start, but a great overall experience.
Options include separate sliders for music and SFX (the game has no voice-overs), custom cursor, language (six choices) and left-handed mode
(that's a new one to me!) Three modes to choose from, though if you want all of the achievements, you'll have to play through Expert mode at some point.
We have an interactive map
that shows where you are and active areas aka "Places of Quest" (indicated by a hand), and you can jump to a new location
by selecting it on the map, then clicking on the image of the location that pops up. Very handy (hurr hurr) since this is a long game with a lot of locations!
My early impressions of the game were tainted by a few annoyances. No voice-overs and imperfect (though not terrible) English, a seemingly-airheaded protagonist, and using inventory items is drag-and-drop (I'm so used to clicking on an inventory item, then clicking on the scene that this threw me off. Add to this the fact that you have to click on the forward (aka continue) button to progress in the story - and you can't do ANYTHING else until the dialogue is finished - and you can see why I was a little disgruntled.
I should mention that you CAN skip the cutscenes and dialogue, but I love a story in my games, so the skip button was a no-go for me.
Let's get to the good points of the game!
Once I got past my early prejudices, I realized that this really is a quality game. It has some beautiful graphics, it's long without getting boring, lots of adventure, and not a ton of hidden object scenes. In fact, I actually forgot that it was a HOG for a while because it had been so long since the last scene had popped up!
There is NO misclick penalty on the HO scenes. I actually tried finding everything I could without looking at the list, so I didn't notice whether there were any mislabled items.
Movement is a bit different than I am used to. Sometimes we have arrows for movement, and other times we have to back out of the scene using an arrow at the top right of the screen.
The story was interesting, despite the fact that I found our heroine's actions (and reactions) to be wholly unrealistic. What she was experiencing should have been absolutely terrifying, but everything is downplayed so much that there really isn't any fear factor to speak of. That'll be good news for those who don't like anything scary in their games, of course!
There are 16 music tracks
, and they are both very nice and appropriate to the setting. My only gripe with the music is that it it starts over every time you move to a new scene, and I would have liked to see a more seamless approach.
We have 35 achievements
in the game, and as mentioned above, you'll need to finish the game on expert mode to get them all. No using hints or skips (even though they ARE still available in Expert mode!) to get the complete set.
There are 57 Butterflies
to find - one at each location - and there is of course an achievement for finding them all. Wouldn't you know that I got 56/57?!
Almost every scene in the game remains accessible right up to the very end of the game, but there are a few exceptions: Your place (the room where you start), the bottom of a well, and a doorway-puzzle towards the beginning of the game. This puzzle is where I missed my one butterfly, and the game is so long (and my backlog so deep) that I won't be replaying to get my final butterfly any time soon! *siiiigh* :p
Once you complete the main game, you'll unlock the Extras
, which are accessible via the main menu. There you will find the aforementioned music tracks, 15 hidden object scenes (the same ones you did in the main game), 27 wallpapers and a collection of butterflies "book".
Completing each of the HOS
in the Extras section will earn you a piece of stained glass, and when this is completed, you'll get another achievement.
have an option which I've never seen available before - you can remove the (game) title and/or the framing before saving them! What a nice touch!
As for the Butterfly Collection, it showcases all 57 of the butterflies that you find during the game, each of them totally unique!
Although there are some aspects of the game mechanics that feel awkward, this ended up being a very enjoyable game for me - one which I will revisit once my backlog stops screaming for attention. For now I will leave this with a feeling of time well-spent, and a positive recommendation for all of my casual adventure-loving friends.