Spirit Seasons: Little Ghost Story
There are separate sliders for music and effects, with mute buttons on the left side of each. There are options for full screen (plays great on a wide-screen), custom cursor, and diary preview. There are two difficulty modes to choose from, and they differ significantly. For instance, the expert mode includes more challenging puzzles and no silhouette hints (which are available in casual mode.) The tutorial is optional. I went for expert mode with no tutorial.
There is a misclick penalty and HINTS are refillable. There are some areas on the hidden object scenes where you can zoom in, but there is otherwise no interaction whilst looking for hidden objects.
Our journal contains both story highlights and a task list, and our inventory is collapsible -- just click on your backpack to open and close your inventory bar. There are no spoilers in the journal.
Instructions for mini-games are not shown unless you click to reveal them, and you CAN skip the puzzles if you wish, whether you are in casual or expert mode. I made it through the game without skipping any puzzles, so they are doable!
The localization is not perfect, but the important thing is that there are no mis-labed items to find during our hidden object scenes. The only exceptions were that "cones" were pine cones and "pocket flash" was a pocket flashlight.
This is a game that I bought without trialing, based upon friends' recommendations, and I'm glad I did. The game is reminiscent of Vampireville in that the graphics have a true adventure feel to them, but the hidden object scenes are what you'd expect from an IHOG -- junky
Sometimes we'd go for quite a while with adventure play, then suddenly we'd have back-to-back HO scenes. Whilst this game does not have the humor of the "ville" games, the story did take some unexpected turns.
In the end, we are asked to make a choice, and it looks like we get a different ending depending on which choice we make! Adding to the replayability is the fact that casual and expert modes differ quite a bit. I definitely enjoyed the game and recommend giving it a try
By the way, I visited the developer's game page today and noticed that there's a second game in the works~!