Saturday, March 20, 2010

Treasure Seekers 3 and Alice in Wonderland - worth buying?

Two new hidden objects games came out over the last couple of days. It comes as no surprise, since the vast majority of new games are some variety of HOG.

The new games are
I tested both games and found them to be fun, but not worth my money. I'll tell you why.

Treasure Seekers: Follow the Ghosts

As indicated by my review, I really enjoyed Treasure Seekers: Visions of Gold, and so did my kids. Then, I played Treasure Seekers: The Enchanted Canvases. I found it to be somewhat lacking. So my hopes were relatively high when I heard that people were pleased with Treasure Seekers: Follow the Ghosts Collector's Edition. The day before the release of the non-collector's edition, I downloaded it, eagerly anticipating another exciting treasure-seeking experience.

Graphics: Still just as slick as ever. The graphics style is the same as the other Treasure Seekers games, as well as The Mystery of the Crystal Portal and The Spirit of Wandering: The Legend.

Good, as with the previous games. It provides a subtle backdrop that supports the mood of the scenery.

Gameplay: Just like the other Treasure Seekers games, with a couple of exceptions, listed below.
  • When finding stuff from scene to scene, the cursor becomes visibly active when you mouse over an object that can be picked up. I was playing in casual mode, though, so this might not happen in the challenging mode. Some people will like this little bit of help, others won't.
  • The game now includes...*shudder*...standard hidden object scenes with a list of things to look for. The great thing about the Treasure Seekers games, before now, was the unique way they approached hidden objects. You had to find a certain item that required other items. Then you'd look around the scene and find the needed items. But now, they've included the basic "find this list of random stuff in the mess" scenes.
Fortunately, this game still includes a good number of puzzles and inventory-based objectives. That's the fun part for me.

But, once again, the story has to do with trapped and restless ghosts. I'd really like to see Tommy and Nelly try their hand at something else. The writers over at Artogon seem obsessed with ghosts and the paranormal, since all of their games use this theme.

Three more little gripes.
  • To avoid spoilers, I'll just say that some of the images in this game could be, I think, disturbing to little kids.
  • The puzzles I played were a little to easy for my taste.
  • The developers used the exact same character art from the previous game, but just slapped new clothes on them. I'd prefer more original material myself. But, I can't blame them. If they can make a little more money by doing the same old thing, then they have every right to do so.
Final Word: I know I sound pretty negative in my opinions of this game. That's because I have, admittedly, very high standards.

I think most people will really like this game. My wife said she'd probably like it, having seen me play it.

If you like HOGs, there's no question - you'll love this game, so go get it. My guess is that this game will give you everything you want from a HOG.

I liked it, but just not enough to buy it. That's partly because, while the production quality is very good, I've grown weary of looking for hidden objects, so any new HOG is going to have to really blow my mind to get a glowing review from me.

But for you HOG fans, I think this is the kid of game you'll love sinking your eyes into. I recommend this to anyone who isn't me. =D

Alice in Wonderland

Plot: You're investigating the case of the missing child, Alice.

Graphics: Very nice. The scenes look good, and the stylistic choices of the artists were visually appealing.

Music: A good reason to NOT play this game. Repetitive and boring, the music hinders the experience more than anything else. I suggest turning it off.

Gameplay: From what I saw, the game was primarily a HOG with a little bit of "find the differences between the two pictures." There was nothing original here.

Final Word: The game looked pretty and played smoothly. The atmosphere was nice, and finding objects was fun enough. Fans of HOGs will like it. But if you're after something original and immersive, this may not be the game for you. A great soundtrack quite possibly could have kept me playing longer.

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