Mystery of the Ancients: Three Guardians
(IHOG)This is a standalone story with no link to the previous games
Options include separate sliders for Music, SFX and Ambients, Custom Cursor and Full-screen. Choice of three difficulties, which can be changed at any time.Story
You head to Green Hill after a frantic call from your beloved niece. Her boyfriend has disappeared, and that's just the beginning... Flocks of aggressive crows have taken to the skies, and those whom they attack simply vanish. Who is the man in the feathered cloak, and why have these people been taken? You'll have to find the answers fast if you're to save your niece, her boyfriend, and the townspeople of Green Hill!
The story progresses through a series of short cutscenes. Early on there's an interactive story book, and from there, there are places in the game where touching an item or placing items will start one of these narrated scenes. It's really a nice touch, as it makes it seem like you're part of the story.
We don't exactly have a Journal
... Instead we have character cards with gem slots. Each time you discover more about the person, a new gem will be added and a new piece of background information will become available. Also in this area you can rewatch any or all cutscenes
NOTE: The "Journal" becomes unavailable once you complete the main game, so be sure to look at all of the information before you use your final item (it'll be pretty obvious)!Gameplay
Be on the lookout for collectible squirrels
as you play~!
We find a damaged Amulet
almost immediately upon starting the game, and this amulet is integral to both the story and the gameplay. I don't want to spoil anything for you, so I'll just say that the amulet can (and will need to) be used whenever it starts to glow.
can be interactive, and has insta-teleport available. Using a HINT
during the adventure portion will either highlight an area, or show you the direction that you should take.
The Hidden Object Scenes
alternate between highly-interactive find-items-by-silhouette puzzles to lightly-interactive find-by-list scenes. For most of the game, you'll get a hand or a gear when you mouse-over an interactive area, but there are a few scenes towards the end where you're just going to have to figure it out on your own!
HOS do repeat, but found items remain gone when you revisit the area.
The puzzles range from easy to interesting to repetitive, depending on what you're doing. There are some fun puzzles in there, but certain amulet-related tasks have repeating puzzles such as bringing constellations into focus by moving your mouse around, or lighting up all of the gems. The only other puzzle type (that I can think of) that you'll be doing quite a bit of are connect-the-numbered-dots pictures (although they do mix things up to make them a bit more interesting later on.)
I really appreciate that the devs took the time to explain certain things. Things like, "That water looks disgusting. I don't want to put my hands in it," and actually showing
us that an action won't work goes a long way with me. GREAT JOB, devs! Sights and Sounds
The soundtrack is really lovely, and although the music tracks are part of the CE content, I don't see an option to save. :( Delving into the files I see that they're HTML docs that lead you to an .ogg file that you can listen to if you don't have the game installed. That's something I suppose.
I was really impressed to see some appropriate emotions from the voice actors in the game... It's so rare to find in a casual game! All of the characters (except one) were voiced very well.
The graphics are lovely, and everything from the artwork to the music to the voices to the sfx all felt beautifully-immersive.CE Content
- Integrated Strategy Guide
- 33 Collectible Squirrels (one on each scene)
- 9 Collectible Statuettes
- 20 In-game Achievements (collect them all to be able to play a "fresco" mosaic-type puzzle)
- Bonus Chapter
- 13 Wallpapers
- 14 Concept Art (some of these made me smile hugely!)
- 6 Music Tracks (no option to save)
The extra chapter is the true ending of the story, and starts three days after the main game ends. The gameplay is mostly the same, but with a couple of key differences: 1. We have no amulet, and 2. The inventory is interactive in the bonus game. When you see a + sign on an item, you'll be able to zoom in and fiddle with it in some way.
The new locations were really interesting, and I enjoyed the bonus as much as the rest of the game.Verdict
I enjoyed the gameplay and environment so much that I played using no hints (except to test for a directional hint) and no skips. All told, it took me almost 7 hours complete! Although there are some repeating puzzles in there, the game is beautiful, interesting and fun to play. Recommended!