A while ago Hell apparently froze over because I finally played an Anuman Interactive/Microids produced hidden object game called Deadly Association HD that was actually decent as it seemed someone on staff finally managed to pen a coherent story. Sure, the gameplay was exactly the same as virtually every title that came before it but the narrative at least kept me interested during its short playtime. However, here we are a few months later with Jennifer Wolf and The Mayan Relics and, if anything, it proves beyond a reasonable doubt that Deadly Association HD was a complete fluke.
The plot for Stolen Beauty HD: Fashion Mystery sounds very much like a reject script from a US daytime soap opera as a fashion journalist named Eva Sanders travels the world unravelling a rather awkward tale featuring supermodels that have had bad luck befall them, usually through physical maladies, that force them out of their vocation. Getting fat or having spots break out all over your face might sound, in the grand scheme of things, to be relatively minor issues yet for these young women it is enough to send them into hiding for fear of ruining their image. While I can’t say that the plot is rock solid the game does manage to mildly hold some intrigue until it decides, rather abruptly, to quickly change direction in the last thirty minutes of gameplay by introducing an element of the occult which simply does not work nor make an ounce of sense.
I better check the skies because pigs must be flying right about now as I’ve finally played an Anuman Interactive developed game that actually has a more or less coherent story. I feel as if I should reach for the nearest bottle of Dom Perignon and celebrate the rest of the night away. In all seriousness, Deadly Association HD is yet another cookie-cutter hidden object title with every single merit and fault found in their entire pantheon of games. However, it finally manages to go where no Anuman game has gone before in sucking players into a CSI inspired narrative that actually is logical and gripping enough to keep one entertained.
Ahh Anuman Interactive, my “favourite” hidden object game company. Of course I’m joking here but let it be said that no matter how “great” I find their games that they just keep pumping them out in their assembly line mentality to throw as much product out there as possible hoping to somehow strike gold. To be fair it isn’t as if the games are unplayable but one would think that after so many misfires that they would have learned by now to at least expand beyond their comfort zone but alas Criminal Investigation Agents – Petrodollars HD feels much the same as past games with perhaps one big caveat. When one thinks of all the best hidden object games out there and the storylines associated with them one can see that just about every genre has been touched upon from dramatic plots to comedic tales of revelry yet the majority focus on fantastical events and mystical lands of yore. Criminal Investigation Agents – Petrodollars HD takes a much different tact although I’m not sure if I would describe the end result as being enlightening.
When I read the title Atlantis: Mysteries of the Ancient Inventors HD the first impression that immediately came to mind was that I was probably going to experience a game where I would discover some insight into Ancient Atlantean culture and its many supposed fantastical inventions. Alas, what I received was yet another example of banal game design that hardly manages to present a coherent plot other than, “Let’s go find Atlantis.” Now, that is not necessarily a bad idea as there are literally a thousand variations of what happened to the long lost Atlantean civilization but the game makes the fatal mistake of crafting a hidden object experience that surely ranks as one of the worst on the market.
I have always considered myself somewhat kind-hearted and willing to let organizations or people have the opportunity to redeem themselves. As my reviews of the other two Mystery Agency games have shown (A Vampire’s Kiss, Secrets of the Orient), developer DTP has not been particular adapt at creating compelling hidden object games that combine sound gameplay mechanics with a solid narrative. Based on past experience I was hesitant to buy this third installment in the franchise yet part of my sympathetic psyche won out and decided to give them another shot. It turns out I should have listened to reason and avoided it like the plague.
Antique Road Trip USA HD is an average title that tries to mix up the usually mundane hidden object gameplay paradigm but ultimately fails to add anything original to the genre. Throw in a rather silly narrative that is less than engaging and functions only to force players to visit different American cities and the entire experience feels incredibly monotonous.
Time Mysteries Inheritance is certainly a competent hidden object game yet the experience is so vanilla that one can’t help but feel a bit disappointed. The game attempts to spin a tale of time travelling adventure that spans multiple centuries yet it never truly comes together in a coherent and emotionally involving package. Instead, the game resembles a hodge-podge of different locations replete with authentic attire from differing time periods but its altogether too disjointed to make much of an impression.