Posted: December 21
This is a solid supernatural-themed HOG/adventure hybrid.
Gameplay consists of...
1. Item-based puzzles (find objects, then use them to solve various tasks). Most of the solutions are fairly straightforward, although it is easy to miss items if you are not being thorough. My only issue was the game's level of redundancy (i.e. needing two different buckets of water, a million keys, etc.)
2. Traditional hidden object screens of the "pile of junk that doesn't really belong together" variety. These were challenging, but never frustrating; the artwork was clear, the labels were accurate, and items were overlapping but not obfuscated. I would actually say these were some of the best HOG puzzles I have seen in recent memory.
3. Bonus hidden "beyond" objects that appear in the background art. There are 35 total to find in the main game (approximately one per screen).
4. A handful of incredibly easy mini-games (rotating discs, dragging lines, rearranging components, etc.) that provide a break from the main gameplay. Some of these felt like remedial versions of classic genre mini-games, although others were new and creative. Unlike other HOGs I've played recently, the mini-games complimented, rather than overshadowed, the hidden object sections.
There is quite a bit of backtracking, but since there aren't that many screens it doesn't feel like a slog. There isn't even a map because you really don't need one.
One thing I found surprising is the fact there is only one level of difficulty (medium). The game is very casual, with good puzzle feedback, a hint system that points you in the right direction if you need a nudge, and a built-in walkthrough (including all "beyond" locations) if you need a push.
A note to the faint of heart: the game does contain blood smears and references to death; however there isn't any on-screen violence, nor are there any jump scares.
What I wished this game had done better:
- Most of the voice acting is atrocious.
- The plot gets a bit lazy and convoluted at times, with the maguffin being almost forgot about during the main game (they do explore it in the bonus mission). It just seems like they wrote off any inconsistencies with "because ghost house."
- There is no incentive to find all the "beyond" objects other than personal pride. Other games I've played will let you unlock either gallery images or additional backstory notes.
Overall, I would give this game an 8/10. The story might not be the best, but the puzzles are strong and plentiful, and the atmosphere is satisfactorily creepy. If hidden objects are your thing, you will not be disappointed.