I’ve got to stop being intrigued by the idea of time-travel based hidden object mystery games. Although some of them are pretty cool, Time Relics: Gears of Light left much to be desired. The concept was sound, and was not unlike the movie, My Science Project, where items from other time periods popped up inside the high school. In this game, objects and architecture from the Middle Ages suddenly pops up from in some town where we are playing as the leader of a time-keeping organization, sort of like the Time Lords and Ladies of Dr. Who.
Normally I like those hidden object games where we hunt for items to sell like Tales of Lagoona: Orphans of the Ocean and Gardenscapes: Mansion Makeover, but I was really not into this game. There were too many logic puzzles to unlock to find the secret rooms, and the auctions really distracted from the mystery itself. It was also difficult for me to keep up with the story of why oil tycoon Mr. Howard was trying to appease some evil spirits or whatever possessed him to keep building all these secret rooms in his estate. As a supposed expert in antiques, we are merely supposed to be looking for missing antiques to sell at an auction, but somehow become ghosthunters, or something similar. We do get to take breaks from the scariness to do our job, and that’s where that is where the bad graphics really come in. I had enough trouble just getting through the trial.
It looks like Elephant Games has another hit on its hands with Mystery Trackers: Black Isle. This is another challenging hidden object mystery that mixes live action footage with mind bending puzzles and some great graphics.
It seems that the developers are getting better with the sound mixing, as the voice-overs are far better in synch than they were in Surface: Mystery of Another World Collector’s Edition, which was an amazing game in its own right. That is another game for another weekend, though, and it’s time Musings gave you some insight into Mystery Trackers: Black Isle.
It has been some time since Musings has reviewed a hidden object mystery game, and this 19th century period piece is filled with lots of twists and turns and stunning artwork. Even though the names of some of the places sound very North American, the places themselves look to be Central European, not unlike the Grand Hotel Pupp in the movie, Last Holiday.
In this tale, you play as Ethan Black, and happily engaged young man, and your father has called you home to take care of some family business. This is great opportunity to have him meet your fiancee’, so you take the next train to Grand Rapids, and along the way, the steam engine explodes while you are traveling over a stone bridge. This is the beginning of a series of supernatural events that involves your small family and those that are going to be part of its future.
While the visuals of Spirits of Mystery: Amber Maiden Collector’s Edition are really stunning, the gameplay leaves much to be desired. There is lots of running back and forth between realms at the beginning, between the home of the Princess’s adopted mother and the cursed castle where the witch who put the amber curse on the kingdom is residing. We see how the curse came to be, and collect things along the way to try to learn more about why things happened the way they did, but I did not get far along enough in the game to get to the end, because I found it to be rather frustrating and confusing. I’m sure, like in most of these hidden object games, the princess will find a way to strategy guide and come back to her parents, but as I was collecting all these odd trinkets along the way, it was kind of difficult to know why I was doing so or where they would be needed. There are logic puzzles peppered here and there, and with the Spirits of Mystery: Amber Maiden Collector’s Edition you do have automatic access to the strategy guide, but I tried to go as far as I could without it. This is a game you need time to get into, and is not well done if you have interruptions or have to leave it abruptly for, well, everyday life in general. There are many great games in the Hidden Object Mystery category you can try. If you have the time and patience for this one, then you will have a much better time with it than I did.