Friday, October 2, 2009

Find the pirate! - a review of The Spirit of Wandering: The Legend

Being a fan of Artogon's Treasure Seekers games, I jumped at the opportunity to play this lesser known title from the same developer, a pirate-themed game called The Spirit of Wandering: The Legend.

What I liked

  • Good music
  • Wonderful graphics
  • Pirate theme

What I didn't like

  • Lack of variety
  • Weak ending


Genre

Hidden objects


Quick Plot

You (a female from a pirate crew) are searching for the spirit of your pirate lover who was lost at sea. Talk to the spirits of the other dead pirates from your crew to find out where your man is.



Highlights

Eye candy

When graphics and interface are sweet-looking, I pay attention. Great graphics are a sign of a developer who took time to attend to the details of the user experience. Artogon hasn't failed yet in this department. Whether it be the their hidden objects games or the cute marble-popper, Charma: The Land of Enchantment, Artogon has one of the best graphics teams out there. Everything is polished, sleek, and realistic.

They take the time to put various animations here and there, adding atmosphere to the hidden objects scenes. One thing that always pleased me was the little pirate ship which resides in the center of the title bar at the top of the screen during the game. A little oval frame houses an animated ship which goes up and down on the waves, sails flapping in the wind. The jeweled mouse pointer was also cool-looking. And I couldn't help but take a few minutes to admire the overhead map which shows all the areas you've visited - ports, islands, ocean, etc. I appreciate anyone who can create graphics like that.

Music

The Artogon team always gets good music. In this game, the music is fittingly piratical. I especially liked the music in the treasure-grabbing scenes, in which you look at a room piled with scattered gold and jewels and try to grab as much as you can in the time allotted.

List of objects

Hidden objects games all have some method of listing the objects hidden in a scene. This game used a method of describing each item using riddles. So, instead of "pipe" it would say something like, "a smoker's instrument." Once you have found all of the items in the list, you pick up a magical magnifying glass and move it around the screen until it lights on fire. This means you've found a magical hidden item. Once you've gone through a few lists of items and located all the magical items, you're done with that scene.

Lack of variety

I have one gripe about the game - things don't change much. You'll find the same objects over and over as you go from scene to scene. Another mask, another telescope, another jug of water. I really wish they would have included a much more varied assortment of objects.

Similarly, whereas Treasure Seekers: Visions of Gold took you to diverse locales and a few different types of puzzles to solve along the way, The Spirit of Wandering: The Legend doesn't give you any variety besides moving to new locations and giving you a treasure-grabbing fest every so often. Accordingly, you'll probably want to play this in short chunks of time rather than tackle a bunch in one sitting.

Suitable for the family?

Yes. Except for the starting screen, which looks like a mushy romance novel (barf), everything seemed fine for kids. My kids came over frequently to help me locate items. I just quickly clicked past the image of the bare-shouldered desperate woman clinging to her ghost-man each time I started the game. Otherwise, it's pirate stuff galore!


The family man's final ruling

The scenery is just so well done in this game. It's a beautiful game to look at, and finding the objects is pretty fun. Once you finish the game one time through, you can play through again, but the items aren't listed as descriptions. The second time through, they're listed as silhouettes. So the game has some replay built into it. If only the developer would have spent a bit more time adding variety to the game.
Unfortunately, the experience doesn't change or develop much as you play.

Still, if you like Artogon's other hidden objects games, you might want to try this one out. I'd put it on the same level of fun as Treasure Seekers: The Enchanted Canvases, except for the variety problem.

By the way, have you noticed that Artogon's design team seems to be obsessed with humans communicating with ghosts? I think this is a theme in all of their hidden objects games.

You'll like the game if...

  • You like pirate stuff
  • You like top-notch graphics
  • You just love finding hidden objects

You won't like the game if...

  • You require lots of variety in the gameplay experience
  • You want lots of puzzles


My rating:

If you want to play The Spirit of Wandering: The Legend, click below:

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