Ghost Town: The Cats of Ulthar
(IHOG)NOTE: Despite the way things seem to be in the story, NO animals or creatures were harmed in the course of this game, save for a single butterfly.
I had no idea what this game was about when I started playing. I saw that it was in my purchase history and installed it simply because of the word "Ghost" in the title, and the fact that I feel like playing something creepy
A few more than the basic options on this one. Separate sliders for music and sound, option for full screen, custom cursor, low quality, and wide screen.
You have three difficulty levels to choose from: Casual, Advanced, and Hard. I went middle of the road for this time around. Tutorial is optional (and likely not present in Hard mode.)
The opening sequence is animated, and without voice overs. The cut scenes are really off-putting. They are cartooney and almost vulgar compared to the rest of the graphics, which are quite beautifully done! Luckily, there are only a couple of cutscenes, and the rest of the story progresses in an entirely different way. Very nicely done in that respect, and very original. Kudos to the devs for coming up with something different
Our inventory bar is retractable, always a pleasure to have when the graphics are so nice
(We can view more of the scene, you see...
)Cats of Ulthar
includes a mini-game of "collecting" 24 cats, so if you see one, be sure to click on it!
We do have a journal to keep track of the story, complete with an ant skittering around on the pages
The HINT button is refillable, and there is no mis-click penalty if you choose Casual Mode. Clicking the hint button during a HOS will cause a scratch mark to circle an item. The scratch doesn't stay up for long, so look quickly! The hints ARE available during the adventure portion of the gameplay.
The hidden object scenes are mostly your typical junk piles, but not entirely. It's an interesting mix of items hidden in plain sight, and items hidden in the strangest places possible. You will revisit HOS multiple times, but the lists are randomized, so that helps.
As we get into the game, we have the freedom to do things in whatever order we choose (to a point, of course.) In other words, this is not a totally linear A-B-C game. We can go right to C, then backtrack to B if we wish (hope that made sense!)
Mini-games are skippable in Casual and Advanced modes, but probably not in Hard mode. The games and puzzles themselves are nothing new, and don't take an incredible amount of brainpower, but at least they don't repeat very often - they tried to get some variation in there
As with most games of this genre, there is a lot of to-ing and fro-ing, but it's not terribly difficult to keep track of where you're going, because many of the locations are off of one main street. If you can't remember where something is, you can always hit the hint button, and it will show you which direction to go (provided that you're not in Hard mode.)
Overall, I'd say this is a 4-star game. It loses points with me for having "been there, done that" mini-games, and for lack of immersive play (for me - you may find it quite immersive!) It does, however, gain points for finding a unique way to progress the storyline, and for the collect-the-cats mini (I didn't even find half of them!